The Ahmedabad Bench of the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in the matter of Marwadi Shares & Finance Ltd Vs. C.C.E. & S.T.-Rajkot {Service Tax Appeal No.13222 of 2014} has ruled that no service tax payable on interest free refundable security deposits in the absence of consideration for service . The bench also disallowed the service tax liability on notional interest on deposits .

The important observations of the bench are as under :

“ we find that the said “Interest Free Deposit‟ did not represent value of any taxable service. The said deposit amount was kept with the Appellant as security deposit to adjust the amount in case of any default in making payment by the client. The said deposit amount also refundable to client. We find that in the present matter Appellant also produced Certificate issued by the Chartered Accountant who certify that Appellant have not used the amount collected by them as „Interest Free Security Deposit‟ from client for any financial operations or for earning any interest and shown the said amount in Balance Sheet as Current Liability. The amount collected by the Appellant from the clients is in fact an interest free refundable deposit and is not towards any advance for a service. It is, therefore, not taxable.

We further find that Section 67 provides that taxable value is the consideration whether in monetary or monetary form. Therefore, if any benefit accrues to either party which is not in the nature of consideration agreed upon by the parties, the same is not liable to be added to the value of service in terms of Section 67. Further, there is no deeming provision for increasing the value of consideration either in Section 67 or in the Service Tax (Determination of Value) Rules, 2006 framed thereunder. Here, the deposit is taken for a different purpose. Thus, the said deposit serves a different purpose altogether and it is not a consideration for providing service. The „consideration for service‟ is absent in the present case, therefore, what can be levied to Service Tax is only the consideration received for the service charged and no notional interest on the deposit taken can be levied to tax. There is no provision in Service Tax law for deeming notional interest on deposit taken as a consideration for providing the services. Therefore, in the absence of a provision in law providing for a notional addition to the value/price charged, the question of adding notional interest on the deposit amount as a consideration received for the services rendered does not arise.”

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