Service Tax – Cestat Ahmedabad: Part of the construction activity even if outside of SEZ, does not mean that service was received for other than authorised operations – Also, CHA services used by SEZ is allowed for refund – Appeal allowed [order attached]
Order date – 28 November 2022
- The Appellant, Reliance Jamnagar Infrastructure Limited, has received services such as construction service, CHA Service in their SEZ on payment of service tax. Subsequently refund claim was filed under Notification No. 09/2009-ST as amended by 15/2009-ST.
- The refund claim was rejected on the ground that, as regards construction service, the service was wholly consumed within SEZ. Therefore, the same is not governed by Notification No. 09/2009.
- As regard CHA Service the refund was rejected on the premise and assumption that mention of various costs and expense such as staff salary, office rent, electricity, security services etc. in the invoice of CHA meant that services rendered related to the said cost and expenses was not service of CHA.
- As regards the construction service, the refund was rejected on the ground that trenching work for irrigation network was not fully within the SEZ and partly outside the SEZ therefore refund was claimed rejected under Notification No. 09/2009-ST.
- Being aggrieve the appellant had filed an appeal.
- Whether the appellant is entitled to refund on the service which has been wholly consumed within SEZ?
- The Tribunal found that as regards to construction service that once it is admitted that service tax payable on the service received and consumed within SEZ, the same is not taxable and the same is to be refunded even without applying Notification No. 09/2009.
- The Tribunal finds that even though total service charge of CHA was bifurcated under different heads but the fact remains that service was provided by CHA towards CHA service only. Therefore, merely because the invoice is for amount towards various expenses but the same were in relation to CHA service by the CHA, hence, the refund cannot be rejected.
- As regards to the construction service received from Jay Khodiyar in relation to construction of trenching and pipelines, Tribunal found that the construction was exclusively for SEZ only. It is very obvious that a part of the same will be outside the premises of the SEZ but that does not mean that service was received for other than authorised operations of SEZ. Accordingly, on the admitted fact that trenching pipeline installed partly in SEZ and partly outside but for use in operation of the SEZ is admissible and the refund of the same is clearly admissible.
- Hence the appeal is allowed.