Gift under GST: What is and isn’t taxable

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Woman holding gift box, cropped

Gifts up to a value of Rs. 50,000 per year by an employer to his employees are outside the ambit of the GST. However, the gifts of a value greater than Rs. 50,000, which are made without consideration, are subject to the GST, when made in the course or furtherance of business. It has been reported that gifts and the perquisites supplied by the companies to their employees will be taxed under the GST.

What is a gift under GST?

The question arises as to what constitutes a gift. A gift has not been defined in the GST law. In a common manner of speaking, a gift is an item without consideration, is voluntary in nature and is made occasionally. This cannot be demanded as a matter of right by the employee and employee cannot move a court of law for obtaining a gift.

Another issue is the taxation of the perquisites. It is relevant to the point out here that the services by an employee to the employer in the course of or in relation to his employment is outside the scope of the GST (neither supply of the goods nor the supply of services). It follows therefrom that the supply by the employer to the employee in terms of the contractual agreement entered into between the employer and the employee, will not be subjected to the GST.

In addition to this, the Input Tax Credit Scheme under the GST does not allow the ITC of membership of a club, health and fitness centre [section 17 (5) (b) (ii)]. Therefore, it follows, that if such services are provided free of charge to all the employees by the employer then the same will not be subjected to the GST, provided an appropriate GST was paid when it was procured by the employer. The same will hold true for free housing to the employees, when the same is provided in terms of the contract between the employer and employee and is a part and parcel of the cost-to-company (C2C).

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A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Vikram has worked with several well-known corporate law firms before joining Vakilsearch.

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