A social media post is doing rounds on the internet that claims the central government is going to levy 18% GST on crematorium services as part of recent changes in the GST rates by the GST council.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh in which he claimed that the central government has imposed GST by 18% even on the crematoriums.
In his tweet, which was a reply to Finance Minister’s justification for the GST increase, Mr. Ramesh said in Hindi, “there is 18% GST on crematoriums too.”
Many other amplified the same claims on social media. Another Congress leader and MLA from Karnataka’s Chittapur also shared a tweet with the same claim. He also pinned a screen grab of a Business Standard report.
TRS party’s social media conveyor, Y, Satish Reddy shared a screen-grab of new GST rates with a claim that Modi-led govt. has started squeezing common man by levying GST on cremation.
The background of these claims is based on recent decision by the GST Council to impose or increase GST on a number of frequently used goods and services that were previously exempted from it, such as hospital beds and pre-packaged and pre-labeled meals. The GST Council is an intergovernmental forum where the union government, states, and union territories with legislatures can come together to develop GST regulations.
The fact behind these claims is that the central government did impose GST on contracts for crematoriums but not on its services.
The GST increase by the Council from 12% to 18 percent applies to contract works for infrastructure items that also include crematoriums, but not the actual cremation service.
“The services rendered by the crematorium to the deceased are neither regarded as goods nor services subject to GST”, according to fact-checking portal Boom which quoted the GST act in its report.
We also checked the list of items on which either GST has been imposed for the first time or taxing has been increased. In the list, we also found that no such tax has been imposed on crematorium services. The list can be found here.
The fact-checking division of the Press Information Bureau, has also refuted these claims in a twitter post
Conclusion: The central government and GST council did impose GST on work contracts for crematoriums but not on its services.