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Solvay Specialities India Pvt Ltd vs C.C.E. & S.T.Vadodara-Ii - (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) (16 Apr 2021)

Group Insurance Service is admissible for Cenvat Credit


Service Tax

The issue involved in the present case is that whether the Appellant is entitled for the Cenvat Credit in respect of Group Insurance Services for insurance of staff. The adjudicating authority as well as the Commissioner (A) denied the Cenvat Credit on the ground that, the input services were not used either in or in relation to the manufacture of final product and it is not covered under inclusion category of input services and it fall in the exclusion category provided from 1st April, 2011.

The Appellant submits that, the Group Insurance Policy was taken in respect of the employees of the Company and the policy was issued in the name of the Appellant. He submits that, this Group Insurance is mandatory under the statute for the employees. Therefore, it is not optional for the assessee. Accordingly, it is related to overall business activity. He submits that, as regard to reliance of the Revenue on the exclusion category, first of all the Group Insurance does not fall under the exclusion category. Secondly, all the invoices on which the credit was taken was issued from June 2009-2011 though credit was taken in March, 2014. He further submits that, even for the period post 1st April, 2011, the Hon'ble High Court and the Tribunal in the considered this issue and allowed the Cenvat Credit in respect of Group Insurance Services.

Very same issue even for the period post amendment in Rule 2(l) of Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 whereby certain services were excluded from the ambit of input services has been considered by the Hon'ble Madras High Court in the case of Ganeshan Builders Ltd. vs. The Commissioner of ST wherein after interpreting the term 'Group Insurance' with the exclusion clause held that, the group insurance service is admissible input service and credit was allowed.

Further, in Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd V CCE, Hyderabad, Outdoor Catering Services provided to employees/labourers within the factory premises, in compliance of statutory requirement under the Factories Act, 1948, was held to be eligible to input service credit even after amendment dated 1st April, 2011 in Rule 2(l) of CENVAT Credit Rules.

The assessee is shown as "insured" and the beneficiaries are not individual employees, but they are covered by their vocation/skill. Thus, the Tribunal fell in error in dismissing the appeal filed by the assessee and equally the First Appellate Authority as well as the Original Authority failed to interpret the statutory provisions, in the matter it is required to be done. The appeal filed by the assessee is allowed and the substantial questions of law are answered in favour of the assessee and against the Revenue. Group Insurance Service is admissible for Cenvat Credit. The impugned order is set aside. Appeal is allowed.


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