Saturday, December 13, 2014

Call centre services to recipients located abroad were export of services even when Indian TelCos were involved

When call centre services were provided electronically to recipient located outside India, data had to be delivered to telecom authorities for transmission abroad and merely because of involvement of telecom authorities in India, it could not be said services were not exported.

The issues that arose for the consideration of the CESTAT was:

a) Whether call centre services provided by assessee to recipients located outside India would be deemed as 'exports' if they were not directly exported from premises of assessee but were routed through telecom service provider?

b) Whether the use of leased telecom lines for exporting call centre services electronically was 'input service' and, thus, was eligible for credit?

The CESTAT held in favour of assessee as under:

1) When data was transmitted through electronic medium, it had to be first transmitted to a server of telecom authorities in India and, thereafter, up-linked/transmitted to foreign service recipient. In the instant case, foreign service recipient had received output service and had made payment in convertible foreign exchange to assessee. Hence, said activity was export of service.

2) Exports were undertaken electronically and to undertake export, assessee needed dedicated lines from their office premises to telecom authorities. Without these dedicated lines, assessee could not deliver output service and therefore, leasing of telecom lines by telecom authorities was an eligible input service. - WNS GLOBAL SERVICES (P.) LTD. V. COMMISSIONER OF CENTRAL EXCISE (2014) 52 131 (Mumbai - CESTAT)