Rotary Club of Mumbai-Queens Necklace, one of the clubs affiliated to Rotary International, has got relief against paying GST for membership, subscription and admission fees collected from its members. The ruling came on an appeal to the Maharashtra Appellate Authority for Advance Rulings (GST). Rotary Club submitted that it does not offer facilities like swimming, restaurants, gymnasium, etc, like other clubs. So it cannot be covered under section 2(17) (e) of the GST Act, which defines ‘business’ to include facilities or benefits provided by a club to its members against a subscription or other consideration. The club also pointed out that it is a not-forprofit institution.
TOI in its edition of October 20, 2019, had analysed earlier rulings in the case of various Rotary clubs, including Rotary Club Mumbai-Queens Necklace, where the AAR had held GST to be applicable on the fees collected from members. Rotary International brings together members to provide humanitarian service and advance the concept of peace around the world. It has over a million members worldwide and more than 35,000 clubs that work for promoting peace, fighting diseases, providing sanitation, supporting education, etc.
The Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) bench observed that the fees collected were utilised towards meetings and administrative expenses only. No facilities were provided to the members. It agreed that no business was being conducted and there was no supply of services. Thus, GST was not applicable on these fees.