Monday, May 6, 2013

Transportation of passengers via ropeway isn’t covered under tour operator’s service

Leasing of a ropeway installed by Municipal Board and operating it to entertain tourists by carrying them from road to hills and back doesn't amount to Tour Operator's services

In the instant case the assessee had leased a ropeway installed by Municipal Board and was engaged in operating it to entertain tourists by carrying them from road to hills and back. The Department sought to levy service tax on the assessee under Tour Operator's services.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) By a licence deed, the assessee was allowed to operate the ropeway. In terms of section 65(115) to call a person as "Tour Operator" he should be either a planner of tour or an organizer or arranger thereof. So, scheduling tour brings the service provider to the category of tour operator. Meaning of the term "tour" is given by section 65(113) of the Act. "Tour" means journey from one place to another, irrespective of distance from such place;

2) The tourists are not governed by any planning, scheduling, organising or arranging for their journey and are not dependent on the licensee-assessee for such planning, scheduling, organizing or arranging for their tours but only avail the facility of ropeway provided by assessee-licensee during working hours on payment of fees prescribed in licence deed. They are not beneficiaries of any planning, scheduling or arranging of tours, since tour to be taxable has to follow activities enumerated under section 65(115);

3) Accordingly, the assessee had not acted as "tour operator" within the meaning of Section 65(115) for which the taxing entry 65(105)(n) thereof was not attracted. Consequently, the assessee was not liable to service tax - SHAIL SHIKHAR ASSOCIATES V. COMMISSIONER OF CENTRAL EXCISE [2013] 32 269 (New Delhi - CESTAT) (TM)

No comments: