Whether Marketing Services agreed to be provided under Marketing Services Agreement is export of services

AAR judgment- Intermediary Services vs Marketing Support Services

Held by Hon’ble Authority for Advance Ruling, Maharashtra

In the matter of M/s. Gulf Turbo Solutions LLP [Case no. GST-ARA-101/2019-20/B-53 dated April 27, 2022]

1. Summary of the judgment

Gulf Turbo Solutions LLP (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Applicant’) is in the business of service and repairs of various types of turbochargers. It also supplies spare parts required for turbochargers and ship spares.

The Applicant is entering in a Marketing agreement with Gulf Turbo Repairs and Services FZC (hereinafter referred as ‘GTRS’). This marketing agreement requires the Applicant to provide a bundle of services.

With regard to the services proposed in the agreement, the Applicant has sought advance ruling in respect of the following questions –

  1. Whether Marketing Services agreed to be provided by the Applicant under Marketing Services Agreement agreed to enter into will constitute supply of ‘Support Services’ falling under HSN Code 9985 or as ‘Intermediary Services’ classifiable under HSN Code 9961/9962?
  2. Whether Marketing Services provided by the applicant is an export of services as defined under Section 2(6) of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act 2017?
  • Judgment of Hon’ble AAR regarding the nature of service provided

The Applicant contended that the agreement clearly states that the relationship between the parties is that of independent contractors. They are not allowed to carry out various activities such as negotiation of price, invoicing etc. All costs and expenses incurred for providing the specified services will be borne by the Applicant. Accordingly, the proposed marketing services should not be classified as ‘intermediary’ services.

Applicant further submitted these bundles of services will constitute a composite supply with marketing service being the principal supply.

Held – Hon’ble AAR held that the Applicant is connecting customers/prospective customers with GTRS. Further, they will be liaising with the customers and reporting information obtained through the customer to GTRS. Applicant will be establishing and maintaining close commercial relationships between GTRS and customers. They will also monitor regulatory developments (including establishing and maintaining contact with regulatory agencies, etc.). These activities actually amount to arranging and facilitating the supply of goods or services.  

In relation to the activities provided it appears that the Applicant is not acting on his own account but on behalf of GTRS.  Since all the conditions specified for an intermediary in the IGST Act are satisfied Hon’ble AAR held that services proposed to be provided by the Applicant are ‘intermediary’ services.

Ruling on whether services proposed to be provided qualify as export

Held – As per provisions of section 13(8) of the IGST Act, the place of supply for intermediary services is the location of supplier, that is, the location of the applicant in this case which is, Maharashtra. As the place of supply is within India, the condition of export of service as per section 2(6) of the IGST Act is not satisfied. Hence, the Hon’ble AAR held that services proposed to be provided do not qualify as export

2. Brief facts of the case

  • Gulf Turbo Solutions LLP (‘Applicant’ or ‘GTS LLP’) is in the business of service and repairs of various types of turbochargers. It also supplies spare parts required for turbochargers and ship spares.
  • Gulf Turbo Repairs and Services FZC (‘GTRS’) is a company registered in Sharjah, UAE & is also in the business of service & repairs of various types of Turbochargers.
  • Majority of the shares in both these companies is held by Mr. Rehan Marzban Karanjia.
  • Scope of services as per the marketing agreement includes – conducting market surveys & providing GTRS with information on Indian & International market trends & features. Assisting GTRS in conducting sales prospection by participating in events.
  • Assisting GTRS in adaptation and implementing of advertising policy, liaising with customers for collecting their turbochargers, understanding their demands, and reporting information obtained from them to GTRS. Applicant will be connecting GTRS with prospective customers and maintaining close commercial relationships with GTRS and customers.
  • As per the agreement, Applicant will not have authority to commit any prospective customer on price, time, specifications, or any other terms of contract. Acceptance of business & Terms & Conditions will be at the sole discretion of GTRS.

3. Question before the Hon’ble AAR

  1. Whether Marketing Services agreed to be provided by the Applicant under Marketing Services Agreement agreed to enter into will constitute supply of ‘Support Services’ falling under HSN Code 9985 or as ‘Intermediary Services’ classifiable under HSN Code 9961/9962?
  1. Whether Marketing Services provided by the applicant is an export of services as defined under Section 2(6) of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act 2017?

 3.1 Relevant Legal Extracts

  • Section 2(6) of the IGST Act defines export of service as –

“export of services” means the supply of any service when,––

(i) the supplier of service is located in India;

(ii) the recipient of service is located outside India;

(iii) the place of supply of service is outside India;

(iv) the payment for such service has been received by the supplier of service in convertible foreign exchange [or in Indian rupees wherever permitted by the Reserve Bank of India]; and

(v) the supplier of service and the recipient of service are not merely establishments of a distinct person in accordance with Explanation 1 in section 8;

  • Section 2(13) of the IGST Act defines intermediary as –

“intermediary” means a broker, an agent, or any other person, by whatever name called, who arranges or facilitates the supply of goods or services or both, or securities, between two or more persons, but does not include a person who supplies such goods or services or both or securities on his own account

  • A relevant extract of section 13(8) which provides place of supply for intermediary services is provided below –

The place of supply of the following services shall be the location of the supplier of services, namely:––

(a) ….

(b) intermediary services;

(c ) ……

4. Contention of Applicant

  • The Marketing services agreement clearly defines the relationship between the parties as independent contractors. Further, the Applicant has no authority to carry out negotiations, conclusion of contracts, acceptance of orders, pricing, invoicing, settlement of customer disputes, or resolution of complaints.
  • As per Applicant’s interpretation of the agreement the services will be individually classified as below –
Nature of serviceSACClassification
GTS LLP agrees to conduct research on matters related to nature & scope of overall market potential in India and international market, demand and supply of these products and services,  major customers and major suppliers of similar services, quality and quantity requirements of the market and submit reports on the research done.998371Market Research Services
Assisting GTRS in conducting sales prospection by participating in events998596Events, exhibitions and trade shows
Assisting GTRS in adaptation and implementation of its advertising policy998361Advertising Services
Liaising with customers to understand their requirements and specifications and reporting them to GTRS99859Liaising and co-ordination activities
Providing feedback on the service requirements obtained during market survey to GTRS to improve its marketingResearch on GTRS Turbocharger services, its functioning, and feedback as to complaints if any998399Other services
Connecting customers with representatives of GTRS for business and other commercial discussions99859Business support services
Industrial and technical information on the Turbochargers and other ship spares and related information concerning such other industries in India and globally998394Or9985Original compilation of facts or information or business support service
Monitoring regulatory developments998216Other legal services not elsewhere classified
  • Applicant submits that supply of these services will constitute to be a composite supply with marketing-related services as the Principal supply as conducting market surveys and providing market trends is the main activity. Applicant will be providing two or more taxable services which is naturally bundled in the ordinary course of business. Bouquet of services proposed to be provided would constitute a package for single consideration.
  • GTS LLP will not represent itself to be agent of GTRS but provide service on his own account to GTRS to further augment its business of turbocharger repairing services and supply of ship spare parts in India and globally. Consideration for all these services is worked out on a cost-plus margin basis without any correlation with sale of service or business transactions.
  • On the basis of the above, it was submitted by the Applicant that services proposed to be provided should be classified as Market Research Services which will qualify to be export of service as defined under section 2(6) of the IGST Act.

5. Findings of Hon’ble AAR

  • Hon’ble AAR mentioned that the conditions to be satisfied for an ‘intermediary’ as provided in the IGST Act are –
    • Intermediary means a broker, an agent, or any other person, by whatever name called ;
    • who arranges or facilitates the supply of goods or services or both, or securities, between two or more persons ;
    • but does not include a person who supplies such goods or services or both or securities on his own account
  • As the Applicant connects GTRS with the customers/ prospective customers in India, the applicant is actually arranging or facilitating the supply of goods or services between two or more persons. Further, the Applicant will also be liaising with the customers, collecting part specifications and requirements, report information obtained from customers to GTRS, notify customer complaints to GTRS, and monitoring regulatory developments.
  • With regard to the above-mentioned services, condition (ii) of arranging and facilitating supply of goods and services was inferred to be satisfied.
  • The hon’ble authority stated that GTRS appears to be providing service of connecting business of GTRS with customers with an intention of promoting business of GTRS in India. From applicant’s submissions, it was clear that they are not providing service on their own account rather acting on behalf of GTRS. Accordingly, condition (iii) of the definition is also satisfied.
  • The Hon’ble AAR further supported its findings by drawing reference to the Transfer pricing-related clause mentioned in the agreement. The authority stated that the fact that companies propose to enter into a Transfer pricing agreement implies that they are related parties and are not dealing on a principal to principal basis.
  • Since all the criteria of the definition of intermediary is satisfied it was held that Applicant is an intermediary.
  • Further, place of supply of intermediary as per section 13(8) of the IGST Act is the location of the supplier, that is location of the Applicant in this case which is Maharashtra.
  • Since place of supply in India, condition (iii) of export of service as provided in section 2(6) of the IGST Act is not satisfied. Accordingly, the services will not qualify to be export of service.

6. Conclusion

  • While marketing-related services appeared to be the main activity for which the agreement was proposed to be entered between both the parties, the Hon’ble AAR discussed the other services in detail for holding that the Applicant is an ‘intermediary’ under GST.
  • Further, since the place of supply for intermediary services was Maharashtra, Hon’ble AAR held that the services do not qualify as export.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are strictly of the author and VJM & Associates LLP. The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the author nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this article nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Related Post
Council Meeting
Council Meetings
CA. Sachin Jindal

Detailed analysis of 52nd GST Council Meeting 

GST Council met for 52nd time on 7th October, 2023 under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Finance and Corporate affair minister. GST Council discussed various aspects such as Amnesty Scheme for filing of GST Appeal, Clarification on applicability of GST on Guarantee services provided by director and company, changes in GST rates etc.

Read More »

V J M & Associates LLP

Contact Us

X