Membership or admission fee collected by clubs cannot be termed as supply of service and therefore is not liable to goods and services tax (GST), the Maharashtra Appellate Authority of Advance Ruling (AAAR) has said. The appellate body said that since the membership fee of the appellant Rotary Club of Mumbai Queens Necklace is used for meeting administrative expenditure and is not in lieu of any specific facility or benefits being provided, it does not fall under the ambit of taxation, and hence no credit against it can be availed.
“We hereby hold that the amount collected as membership subscription and admission fees from members is not liable to GST as supply of services,” the AAAR said in an order issued recently. The Maharashtra AAAR effectively set aside the state AAR ruling that had termed membership fee as supply of service liable to GST.
The state appellate body had issued a similar order in case of Lions Club membership fee, and has therefore kept the same reasoning in this case. In a separate case of Inner Wheels Clubs of India on a similar matter, the West Bengal’s AAAR has ruled that membership fee was liable to GST, bringing forth yet again the issue of contrasting rulings from state level appellate bodies.