GST on rent, burials in public toilets: false allegations that have gone viral

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Ever since the 47th GST Board announced changes to GST rates and the addition of new services under the scheme, many misrepresentations have gone viral on social media. These false allegations ranged from imposing GST on residential rent to using public restrooms and even cremating the dead.

These latest changes to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime were made in June and came into effect on July 18. The changes have come under criticism as they affect everyday consumer goods such as pre-packaged and pre-labeled food products and on hospital bills.

The false allegations regarding several changes in the GST rates also forced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to clarify the government’s position in her August 1 speech during the recently ended monsoon parliamentary session.

In the last such clarification, the government had to clarify that no fees would be imposed on UPI (Unified Payments Interface) transactions; a popular payment method for daily cashless and instant transactions made through smartphone apps.

Social media has been abuzz with speculation that UPI will also be subject to fees (including GST claims), after the Reserve Bank of India issued a guidance document on fees in payment systems. payment was misinterpreted on social media, leading the government to issue a clarification.

Since July, BOOM has debunked four stories about changes to the GST system.

1. GST on residential rent

The new GST regulations state that tenants who were themselves GST registrants would now have to pay GST at the rate of 18% if they pay residential rent. This covers companies, businesses and individuals who were registered under the GST. It was first tweeted by Saket Gokhale, a Trinamool Congress leader, followed by other claiming users on social media.

Prior to this change, residential rent paid by GST registered tenants was exempt.

However, this regulation was designed to appear on social media as a general imposition of GST on residential rent, and that salaried persons would also have to pay GST on the residential rent they pay for their accommodation. Employees are not required to register for GST.

BOOM concluded that this claim was misleading because the GST on residential rents only applied to a targeted group and was not a general imposition. In addition, these rents could be claimed by those who pay them, as an input tax credit. The government also took to social media to deny the allegation in a simple social media post.

Read also : Do you have to pay 18% GST on the rent of the house? A FactCheck

2. No GST loophole even after death?

In a superlative claim laced with rhetoric, several social media users claimed that there was no respite from the GST even after death, as services provided by cemeteries and crematoriums to the dead were also taxable at 18%.

Under the new rules, the government has increased the rate of GST imposed – from 12% to 18% – on contract work on several infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, effluent treatment plants, subways which also included crematoria.

However, BOOM found from the GST Act 2017 that funeral or last rite services provided by crematoriums, morgues, burial sites or even transportation of the deceased would not be considered property or liability. service for GST taxation purposes. Here too, the government had to clarify the taxation on social networks.

In fact, this clarification even found its way into Sitharaman’s speech at Lok Sabha on August 1.

Read also : Claims of 18% GST on crematorium services are misleading; here’s why

3. TPS for using the toilet?

A viral claim said the government levied ₹1 in GST on the use of public toilets in addition to ₹5 on its user fees, based on a photo of a payment receipt from a train station road from Ludhiana.

This claim stemmed from a 2017 incident, which also recently went viral, and was debunked by Ludhiana bus station authorities as false; stating that using the urinal was free while using the toilet cost ₹2.

In addition, BOOM was able to verify from the Central Excise and Customs Board’s GST database that no GST is imposed on public utility facilities, such as bathrooms, public showers and the toilets.

Read also : Viral Post falsely claims that GST is imposed on the use of public restrooms

4. Amul GST advertisement is totally wrong

An advertisement for Amul, featuring its traditional mascot, was photographed to show her taking on the government over recent changes to the GST system.

As mentioned, the changes affect pre-packaged and pre-labeled consumer goods, including edible dairy products like milk and butter. Amul is the largest dairy cooperative in the world.

The advertisement shows the mascot with an animated version of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with the caption ‘Abki Baar GST Ki Maar’ (This time GST will bite), a spin on the Bharatiya party election slogan Janata who propelled him to power in 2014.

BOOM discovered that this photo was posted by Amul on social media on May 16, 2014, to congratulate Modi on winning an absolute majority in the 16th Lok Sabha elections.

This happened more than three years before the GST system even existed.

Read also : Amul Ad Targeting Modi Govt on GST? No, that’s completely wrong

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