Supply of drinking water to the public through mobile tankers or dispensers by a charitable organisation is taxable at 18 per cent under the GST, AAR has ruled.
The Andhra Pradesh bench of the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has ruled -- in the case of Vijayavahini Charitable Foundation -- that since the organisation is supplying purified water, hence it is not fit for GST exemption.
Vijayavahini Charitable Foundation had sought an advance ruling on whether the supply of groundwater after undertaking purification through Reverse Osmosis to the general public either through the dispensing unit or mobile tanker at a concessional rate is exempt from Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The AAR said the principal supply undertaken by the organisation is a supply of purified water, which is taxable at 18 per cent, while the service of distribution through mobile units is an ancillary service and taxable at 18 per cent.
"It is invariably a composite supply and the rate of tax of purified water prevails, being the principal supply... The said supply is not covered under exemption and taxable at 18 per cent...," it noted.
AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said water sourced from open borewells/ ground is not potable, and thereby, that needs to be treated/ purified before supply to the general public.
"Imposing a tax of 18 per cent on purified water supplied to the public for consumption would be against the fundamental human right. Government must rise to this occasion and exempt all forms of supply of potable water in unsealed containers," Mohan added.
Under GST, drinking water packed in 20-litre bottles are liable to 12 per cent tax and waters, including natural or artificial mineral waters and aerated water, not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter are taxed at 18 per cent.
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