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Taxation of intermediarys services
September, 23rd 2014

The place of provision of service rules will determine the place where the services shall be deemed to be provided. It’s taxability will be determined based on the location of its provision.

Rule 9

In the following specified services, place of provision shall be the location of the service provider-

(i) Services provided by a banking company, or a financial company, or a non-banking financial company to account holders;

(ii) Telecommunication services provided to subscribers;

(iii) Online information and database access or retrieval services;

(iv) Intermediary services;

(v) Service consisting of hiring of means of transport, up to a period of one month.

Intermediary Services

An 'intermediary' is a person who arranges or facilitates a provision of service between two persons. Thus, an intermediary is involved with two supplies at any one time:

(i) the supply between the principal and the third party; and

(ii) the supply of his own service (agency service) to his principal, for which a fee or commission is usually charged.

Also excluded from this sub-rule is a person who arranges or facilitates a provision of a service (referred to in the rules as "the main service"), but provides the main service on his own account.

For the purpose of this rule, an intermediary in respect of goods (commission agent i.e, a buying or selling agent) is excluded by the definition itself.

In terms of Rule 9, in case of intermediary, following conditions should be met -

• Should arrange or facilitate a service between two persons

• Does not include a person who himself provides the main service on his own account

• Concept does not apply to goods

• Two services get involved -

(i) main service by principal to customer (airlines, hotel, tour operator etc.)

(ii) own service to customer or principal (hotel booking, ticket booking, travel agent etc.)

• Does not influence any of the two –

(i) characteristics of main service

(ii) price of main service.

Amendments by Finance Act, 2014

The definition of intermediary as defined under Rule 2(f) of the Place of Provision of Services Rules, 2012 has been amended vide Notification No. 14/2014-ST, dated 11.07.2014. This notification shall come into force from 01.10.2014. By virtue of this amendment, the scope ofrule 9 has been widened and will cover supply of goods also. While prior to such amendment, only agent or intermediary who is engaged for providing of services are covered under the definition, w.e.f. 01.10.2014 any broker, agent or any other person whatever name called arranges or facilitates supply of goods between two or more persons shall also be covered under the scope of 'intermediary'. The amended definition is as follows –

"(f) 'intermediary' means a broker, an agent or any other person, by whatever name called, who arranges or facilitates a provision of a service (hereinafter called the 'main' service) or a supply of goods, between two or more persons, but does not include a person who provides the main service or supplies the goods on his account"

Accordingly, w.e.f. 01.10.2014 any intermediary who is engaged in supply of goods, such as a commission agent or consignment agent shall also be covered under the scope of term 'intermediary'. In case of intermediary services for supply of goods, place of provision of service shall be the location of service provider, as stipulated in Rule 9(c) of the POP Rules, 2012instead of Rule 3 thereof.

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