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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST - 178/10/2022

Extract

..... obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act” has been specifically declared to be a supply of service in para 5 (e) of Schedule II of CGST Act if the same constitutes a “supply” within the meaning of the Act. The said expression has following three limbs: - a. Agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act- Example of activities that would be covered by this part of the expression would include non-compete agreements, where one party agrees not to compete with the other party in a product, service or geographical area against a consideration paid by the other party. Another example of such activities would be a builder refraining from constructing more than a certain number of floors, even though permitted to do so by the municipal authorities, against a compensation paid by the neighbouring housing project, which wants to protect its sunlight, or an industrial unit refraining from manufacturing activity during certain hours against an agreed compensation paid by a neighbouring school, which wants to avoid noise during those hours. b. Agreeing to the obligation to tolerate an act or a situation- This would include ac .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... sire of the person for whom the activity is done in exchange for a consideration. An activity done without such a relationship i.e., without the express or implied contractual reciprocity of a consideration would not be an ‘activity for consideration’. The element of contractual relationship, where one supplies goods or services at the desire or another, is an essential element of supply. 5. The description of the declared service in question, namely, agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act in para 5 (e) of Schedule II of CGST Act is strikingly similar to the definition of contract in the Contract Act, 1872. The Contract Act defines ‘Contract’ as a set of promises, forming consideration for each other. ‘Promise’ has been defined as willingness of the ‘promisor’ to do or to abstain from doing anything. ‘Consideration’ has been defined in the Contract Act as what the ‘promisee’ does or abstains from doing for the promises made to him. 6. This goes to show that the service of agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... t of money to agree to do or abstain from doing something in return for the money paid to him, it cannot be assumed that such payment was for doing an act or for refraining from an act or for tolerating an act or situation. Payments such as liquidated damages for breach of contract, penalties under the mining act for excess stock found with the mining company, forfeiture of salary or payment of amount as per the employment bond for leaving the employment before the minimum agreed period, penalty for cheque dishonour etc. are not a consideration for tolerating an act or situation. They are rather amounts recovered for not tolerating an act or situation and to deter such acts; such amounts are for preventing breach of contract or non-performance and are thus mere ‘events’ in a contract. Further, such amounts do not constitute payment (or consideration) for tolerating an act, because there cannot be any contract: (a) for breach thereof, or (b) for holding more stock than permitted under the mining contract, or (c) for leaving the employment before the agreed minimum period or (d) for doing something leading to the dishonour of a cheque. As has already been stated, unless p .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... o not restitute the aggrieved person. It is further argued that a contract is entered into for execution and not for its breach. The liquidated damages or penalty are not the desired outcome of the contract. By accepting the liquidated damages, the party aggrieved by breach of contract cannot be said to have permitted or tolerated the deviation or non-fulfilment of the promise by the other party. 7.1.4 In this background a reasonable view that can be taken with regard to taxability of liquidated damages is that where the amount paid as ‘liquidated damages’ is an amount paid only to compensate for injury, loss or damage suffered by the aggrieved party due to breach of the contract and there is no agreement, express or implied, by the aggrieved party receiving the liquidated damages, to refrain from or tolerate an act or to do anything for the party paying the liquidated damages, in such cases liquidated damages are mere a flow of money from the party who causes breach of the contract to the party who suffers loss or damage due to such breach. Such payments do not constitute consideration for a supply and are not taxable. 7.1.5 Examples of such cases are damages resulting .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... if the passenger does not show up. A contract for package tour may stipulate forfeiture of security deposit in the event of cancellation of tour by the customer. Similarly, a contract for lease of movable or immovable property may stipulate that the lessee shall not terminate the lease before a certain period and if he does so he will have to pay certain amount as early termination fee or penalty. Some banks similarly charge pre- payment penalty if the borrower wishes to repay the loan before the maturity of the loan period. Such amounts paid for acceptance of late payment, early termination of lease or for pre-payment of loan or the amounts forfeited on cancellation of service by the customer as contemplated by the contract as part of commercial terms agreed to by the parties, constitute consideration for the supply of a facility, namely, of acceptance of late payment, early termination of a lease agreement, of pre-payment of loan and of making arrangements for the intended supply by the tour operator respectively. Therefore, such payments, even though they may be referred to as fine or penalty, are actually payments that amount to consideration for supply, and are subject to GST .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... ade by any supplier of goods or services is to make supply against payment within an agreed time (including the agreed permissible time with late payment) through a valid instrument. There is never an implied or express offer or willingness on part of the supplier that he would tolerate deposit of an invalid, fake or unworthy instrument of payment against consideration in the form of cheque dishonour fine or penalty. The fine or penalty that the supplier or a banker imposes, for dishonour of a cheque, is a penalty imposed not for tolerating the act or situation but a fine, or penalty imposed for not tolerating, penalizing and thereby deterring and discouraging such an act or situation. Therefore, cheque dishonor fine or penalty is not a consideration for any service and not taxable. Penalty imposed for violation of laws 7.4 Penalty imposed for violation of laws such as traffic violations, or for violation of pollution norms or other laws are also not consideration for any supply received and are not taxable, which are also not taxable. Same is the case with fines, penalties imposed by the mining Department of a Central or State Government or a local authority on discovering mining .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... payment of such amounts. Therefore, such amounts recovered by the employer are not taxable as consideration for the service of agreeing to tolerate an act or a situation. Compensation for not collecting toll charges 8. In the wake of demonetization, NHAI directed the concessionaires (toll operators) to allow free access of toll roads to the users from 8.11.2016 to 1.12.2016 for which the loss of toll charge was paid as compensation by NHAI as per the instructions of Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways. The toll reimbursements were calculated based on the average monthly collection of toll. A question arose whether the compensation paid to the concessionaire by project authorities (NHAI) in lieu of suspension of toll collection during the demonetization period (from 8.11.2016 to 1.12.2016) was taxable as a service by way of agreeing to refrain from collection of toll from users. 8.1 It has been clarified vide Circular No. 212/2/2019-ST dated 21.05.2019 that the service that is provided by toll operators is that of access to a road or bridge, toll charges being merely a consideration for that service. During the period from 8.11.2016 to 1.12.2016, the service of access to a .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... mum threshold. 10.2 Both the components of the price, the minimum fixed charges/capacity charges and the variable/energy charges are charged for sale of electricity and are thus not taxable as electricity is exempt from GST. Power purchase agreements may have provisions that the power producer shall not supply electricity to a third party without approval of buyer. Such agreements which ensure assured supply of power to State Electricity Boards/DISCOMS are ancillary arrangements; the contract is essentially for supply of electricity. Cancellation charges 11. A supply contracted for, such as booking of hotel accommodation, an entertainment event or a journey, may be cancelled by a customer or may not proceed as intended due to his failure to show up for availing the same at the designated place and time. The supplier may allow cancelation of supply by the customer within a certain specified time period on payment of cancellation fee as per commercial terms of the contract. In case the customer does not show up for availing the service, the supplier may retain or forfeit part of the consideration or security deposit or earnest money paid by the customer for the intended supply. 11.1 .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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..... money forfeited in case of the customer failing to avail the travel, tour operator or hotel accommodation service or such other intended supplies should be assessed at the same rate as applicable to the service contract, say air transport or tour operator service, or other such services. 11.5 However, as discussed above, forfeiture of earnest money by a seller in case of breach of ‘an agreement to sell’ an immovable property by the buyer or such forfeiture by Government or local authority in the event of a successful bidder failing to act after winning the bid for allotment of natural resources, is a mere flow of money, as the buyer or the successful bidder does not get anything in return for such forfeiture of earnest money. Forfeiture of earnest money is stipulated in such cases not as a consideration for tolerating the breach of contract but as a compensation for the losses suffered and as a penalty for discouraging the non-serious buyers or bidders. Such payments being merely flow of money are not a consideration for any supply and are not taxable. 12. Field formations are advised that while the taxability in each case shall depend on facts of that case, the above .....

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GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law - GST

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