GST: No change in taxation of legal services

There are doubts being raised about the applicability of GST on legal services provided by advocates, whether it is in forward charge or reverse charge.

Jul 17, 2017 12:07 IST India Infoline News Service

There are doubts being raised about the applicability of GST on legal services provided by advocates, whether it is in forward charge or reverse charge. It may be mentioned that there is no change made in the taxation of legal services in the GST era, said a government release on Sunday.
 
In this context, the statement further clarified that legal service has been defined to mean any service provided in relation to advice, consultancy or assistance in any branch of law, in any manner and includes representational services before any court, tribunal or authority.
 
“Services supplied by an individual advocate including a senior advocate by way of representational services before any court, tribunal or authority, directly or indirectly, to any business entity located in the taxable territory, including where contract for provision of such service has been entered through another advocate or a firm of advocates, or by a firm of advocates, by way of legal services, to a business entity,” the release said.
 
The words 'by way of legal services' are preceded and succeeded by a comma. Therefore, the said words apply to an individual advocate including a senior advocate and a firm of advocates. Legal services provided by either of them are liable for payment of GST under reverse charge by the business entity. The words 'by way of representational services before any court, tribunal or authority' appear in conjunction with senior advocate without a comma and merely describe the nature and mode of representational services provided by a senior advocate to a business entity. It, therefore, follows that legal services, which includes representational services, provided by advocates are under reverse charge, the government clarified.

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