Vide its Circular No. 164/15/2012-ST, the Central Board of Excise and Customs has issued a clarification in respect of levy of service tax on certain vocational education/training/ skill development courses (VEC) offered by the Government (Central Government or State Government) or local authority themselves or by an entity independently established by the Government under the law, as a society or any other similar body. When a VEC is offered by an institution of the Government or a local authority, question of service tax does not arise.
In terms of section 66D (a), only specified services provided by the Government are liable to tax and VEC is excluded from the service tax. When the VEC is offered by an institution, as an independent entity in the form of society or any other similar body, service tax treatment is determinable by the application of either sub-clause (ii) or (iii) of clause (l) of section 66D of the Finance Act, 1994. Sub-clause (ii) refers to “qualification recognized by any law” and sub-clause (iii) refers to “approved VEC”. In the context of VEC, qualification implies a Certificate, Diploma, Degree or any other similar Certificate. The words “recognized by any law” will include such courses as are approved or recognized by any entity established under a central or state law including delegated legislation, for the purpose of granting recognition to any education course including a VEC.
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