Renting of precincts of a religious place or conduct of any religious ceremony
(1st July, 2012)
Scope of Exempt Service –
Services by a person by way of-
(a) renting of precincts of a religious place meant for general public; or
(b) conduct of any religious ceremony;
Meanings and Definitions:
“general public” means the body of people at large sufficiently defined by some common quality of public or impersonal nature;
“religious place” means a place which is primarily meant for conduct of prayers or worship pertaining to a religion, meditation, or spirituality;
“renting” means allowing, permitting or granting access, entry, occupation, use or any such facility, wholly or partly, in an immovable property, with or without the transfer of possession or control of the said immovable property and includes letting, leasing, licensing or other similar arrangements in respect of immovable property;
(See Notification no. 25/2012 dated 20.06.2012, effective from 01.07.2012)
Clarification by the Board
(Taxation Guide – Guidance Note – 7 – Exemptions dated 20.06.2012)
“7.5.1 Is renting of precincts of a religious place taxable?
Yes. However, exemption is available only if the place is meant for general public. General public is also defined in the mega notification 25/2012-ST as the body of people at large sufficiently defined by some common quality of public or impersonal nature.
7.5.2 Am I liable to pay service tax for conducting religious ceremonies for my client?
No. Conduct of religious ceremonies is exempt under Sr. no. 4 of mega exemption. Religious ceremonies are life-cycle rituals including special religious poojas conducted in terms of religious texts by a person so authorized by such religious texts. Occasions like birth, marriage, and death involve elaborate religious ceremonies.”