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INSURANCE AUXILIARY SERVICES

SERVICE TAX IN INDIA


The tax reforms committee headed by Dr.Raja.J.Chelliah recognized the
revenue potential of the service sector in India and recommended imposition of
service tax on select services. Based on these recommendations Dr. Manmohan Singh,
the Union Finance Minister, in his budget speech for the year1994-1995 introduced
the new concept of service tax. Service tax is being proposed on fifteen individually
specified services and the scope of certain existing services is being extended or
clarified. Subsequent Finance Acts have added more and more services to be taxed for
service tax purpose. As such today 107 services are chargeable to service tax.

NEED FOR SERVICE TAX


It is prime responsibility of the Government to fulfil the increasing
developmental needs of the country and its people, by the way of public expenditure.
Government’s primary sources of revenue are direct and indirect taxes. Revenue
receipts from customs and Excise duties are on the decline due to World Trade
Organisation (WTO) commitments and rationalization of commodity duties.

While the largest component of GDP in the country comes from the Service
Sector, its contribution to the national treasury had been insignificant. With the
increase in income , increasing portion of such incomes is spent on the consumption
of services like entertainment, travel and tourism, etc. Though there exist various
taxes or duties like Union Excise Duties, VAT, Sales Tax, Entry Tax, or Octroi Duty,
etc by Central or State Government, most of the services are not directly subject to
taxation. Thus production and consumption of services, which constitute a large
growing portion of the economy, contribute very little by way of taxation. Extending
the tax to the service sector was not only to ensure neutrality and horizontal equity in

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INSURANCE AUXILIARY SERVICES

taxation but also to broaden the tax base and improve revenue productivity of tax
system.

INSURANCE
When Insurance business was nationalized only life insurance corporation of
India (L.I.C) and General Insurance Corporation of India (G.I.C) and its subsidiaries
were allowed to do business. But with the opening up of the insurance sector for
private participants like ICICI, HDFC, UTI etc the potential for generation of business
has increased . This has also increased the dependence on intermediaries (or agents)
for generation of business.

DEFINITIONS RELATED TO INSURANCE


Insurance is a method of spreading over a large number of persons , a possible
financial loss , which can not be borne by an individual.

As per sec 65(58), Insurer means any person carrying on general insurance
business or life insurance business in India.

Insured is any individual who takes the insurance policy from the insurance
company. He is the one whose risk is covered by the insured.

Insurance Agent provides services to the insurance company in relation to the


marketing of insurance policies and provides services to the policy holder by giving
information on types of insurance policy, document processing and remitting of
insurance premium.

Policy Holder includes a person to whom the whole of the insurable interest of
the policy holder in the policy is assigned once and for all is full and absolute but does
not include an assignee.

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INSURANCE AUXILIARY SERVICES

INSURANCE AUXILIARY SERVICES


Under sec 65 (55) of the act , the term Insurance auxiliary services means
any service provided by an actuary, an intermediary or insurance intermediary or an
insurance agent in relation to general insurance business or life insurance business and
includes risk assessment, claim settlement, survey and loss assessment.

Actuary means an Actuary possessing required qualifications and must be a


person possessing a license/registration under the Insurance Act / Insurance
Regulatory Development Authority Act (IRDA).

Intermediary or Insurance Intermediary mean the person connected with


the following business Insurance broker, reinsurance broker, insurance consultants,
surveyors and loss assessors.

Insurance Broker is a person between a company and insured and who solicits
business for the company from the public.

Insurance Consultants are advisors who advice their client on the nature type
and various other aspects of insurance policy.

Reinsures are brokers who are engaged in the business of reinsurance. Where
an insurance company in order to cover their risk re-insures themselves with another
insurance company, which is called re-insurance.

Surveyors assess the loss suffered by the insured.

Loss Assessors make assessments of the loss suffered by the insured and
submit there report to the insurance company.

The term person will generally include not only natural person but artificial
persons like partnership firm, HUF, corporate bodies, association or body of
individual , charitable institutions , government undertaking, co-operative societies etc
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TAXABLE SERVICE RELATED TO INSURANCE

 Services covered in this category are the services provided by the


insurance agents to the insurance company in relation to marketing of insurance
policies.

 The service providers are insurance agents, insurance surveyors and loss
adjusters, actuaries and insurance consultants.

 The service tax is applicable to services provided on or after 16th July


2001 and any payment made for the services provided prior to this date will not liable
to tax even though payment is made on or after the 16th July 2001.

 Another point raised is to whether in cases where the bills raised by the
service provider are revised, the service tax is payable on the billed amount or on the
actual amount received GDP payment is made on or after the 16th July 2001.

 A point has been raised that the service provider, namely, an actuary, an
intermediary or insurance intermediary or an insurance agent is reimbursed certain
out of pocket expenses such as traveling expenses, boarding and lodging charges on
actual basis.

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 Taxable services are proposed to be amended from General insurance


services and Life insurance services which include services provided to a policy
holder or any person by an insurer, including a re-insurer.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS RELATED TO


INSURANCE AUXILIARY SERVICES
 Service providers providing services in relation to both type of
insurance i.e. general and life then only service relating to general insurance is
subject to service tax.

 Incase of insurance agent it has been specifically provided in the rules


person liable to pay service tax will be the concern insurance company who has
appointed agent not the agent himself.

 Service provider like actuary or insurance intermediary are reimbursed


certain out of pocket expenses like traveling, boarding, etc on actual basis. This
expense are reimbursed on actual basis in addition to the prescribed fee such
reimbursable actual expenses are not subject to service tax.

 Taxable service may be provided to policy holder including reinsurance


or insurer or any person in one or more of the following service like actuarial
valuation, soliciting, etc.

 The services must be provided by:

a) An actuary or

b) An intermediary or insurance intermediary, or

c) An insurance agent.

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 The insurance must relate to General insurance business or Life


insurance business and will also cover service relating to risk management, risk
assessment and evalution, settlement of insurance claims and service and loss
assessment.

 Tax is payable by an actuary, or intermediary has the meaning assigned


to it in section 2(1)(1) of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act,
1999.

 The General insurance business and Life insurance business includes:

a) Risk assessment.

b) Claim assessment.

c) Survey.

d) Loss assessment.

 Taxable service may be provided to policy holder including reinsurance


or insurer or any person in one or more of the following service like actuarial
valuation, soliciting, etc.

ACTUARY OR INTERMEDIARY (EXCEPT


INSURANCE AGENT) LIABLE TO PAY TAX

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The intermediaries like loss assessors, insurance surveyors, insurance


consultants will be liable to service tax. However, exception has been made in case of
insurance agent.

TAX PAYABLE BY INSURANCE COMPANY


ON BEHALF OF INSURANCE AGENTS
In respect of services provided by an insurance agent, any person carrying on
the general insurance business in India or life insurance business in India is the
‘person liable for paying the service tax. [Thus, the insurance company is liable to pay
service tax and not the insurance agent]. The service tax is payable on commission
payable to the insurance agent.

TAXABLE VALUE
Value of taxable service shall be the gross amount charged by the service
provider for such service rendered by him, includes the commission, fee or any other
sum received by actuary or intermediary or insurance intermediary or insurance agent
from insurer.

Rule 6 of the Service Tax Rules, 1994, provides for payment of Service Tax
only on the amount received and not on the amount raised for the services provided.
As such Service Tax is payable only on the amount actually received.

EXEMPTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

 Pocket expenses, which are reimbursable on actual basis, such as


travelling, Boarding and Lodging expenses, are not subjected to Service Tax subject
to production of documentary evidence in this respect.
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 The Service Tax is applicable to services provided on or after16th July


2001 and any payment made for the services provided prior to this date will not liable
to tax even though payment is made on or after 16th July 2001.

TAXABLE SERVICE RELATING TO LIFE


INSURANCE
Taxable service means any service provided to a policyholder, by an insurer
carrying on life insurance business in relation to life insurance business. Though the
service is provided by the life of insurance agents, service tax is not payable by them,
but by the insurance companies. Tax is payable in respect of old policies also.
(Section 65(90) (zx) of Finance Act 1944 as amended). Value of taxable service shall
be the gross amount charged by the service provider for such service rendered by him.

EXEMPTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

It has been decided to exempt the service tax leviable on life insurance business
(as per Notification No. 9/2002 ST dated 1-82002) As a result , service tax is not
payable on the service provided by an insurer to a policy holder in relation to life
insurance business.

PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR COLLECTING


SERVICE TAX

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 The Chairman-cum-Management Director of the National Insurance


Company Limited/ New India Assurance Company Limited/Oriental Insurance
Company Limited/United India Insurance Company Limited.

 Any other person carrying on general insurance business and who has
obtained a certificate of registration under sec.3 of insurance act, 1938.

Insurance auxiliary services concerning General insurance business and


Insurance auxiliary services concerning Life insurance business include services
provided to a policy holder or any person or an insurer, including a re-insurer.

STATUTORY COVERAGE FOR GENERAL


INSURANCE BUSINESS IN RELATION TO
SERVICE TAX

 Service to a policy holder or any person or insurer, including re-insurer,


by an actuary, or intermediary or insurance intermediary or insurance agent, in
relation to insurance auxiliary services concerning general insurance business.

 It includes Risk assessment, claim settlement, survey and loss


assessment [section 65(55)].

 In respect of services provided by an insurance agent, the insurance


company is the ‘persos liable for paying the service tax’. The service tax is payable on
commission payable to the insurance agent. However, the exemption available to
small service providers cannot be availed by insurance agent.

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STATUTORY COVERAGE FOR LIFE


INSURANCE BUSINESS IN RELATION TO
SERVICE TAX

 Service to a policy holder or any person or insurer, including re-insurer,


by an actuary, or intermediary or insurance intermediary or insurance agent, in
relation to insurance auxiliary services concerning life insurance business.

 It includes Risk assessment, claim settlement, survey and loss


assessment [section 65(55)].

 In respect of services provided by an insurance agent, the insurance


company is the ‘person liable for paying the service tax’.

EXEMPT MICRO-INSURANCE FROM


SERVICE TAX
[SOURCE : THE ECONOMIC TIMES

DATE : 6TH JUNE, 2007]

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The Government should exempt micro-insurance from payment of Service Tax


to make products cheaper and encourage penetration of insurance services in low
income rural and social sectors, a UN report has suggested.

The service tax 10.2 per cent on premiums adds to the price of insurance. To
help keep premium low for rural poor, government could consider waiver of Service
Tax on micro-insurance products for a limited period. THE UN DEVELOPMENT
PROGRAMME (UNDP) report said.

Micro-insurance sector has the potential to generate a business of two billion


dollars (over Rs.8,000 crore) in the next two three years in India , Anuradha K
Rajivan, Author of the report, ‘Building security for the poor’. The report Suggested
partnership of insurance companies with micro-finance institutions for providing such
products to the rural population according to their specific needs.

Insurance products made for the urban population cannot be suitable for their
rural counterparts. They may need insurance for a single tree or insurance against
snakebite, the things that affect them more frequently and directly. The report
suggested pooling of data between insurance companies and the government as
‘building and sharing claims histories can help in aligning pricing decisions with
actuarial calculations, thereby reducing price’.

The report added an investment of 1.65 million dollars would be needed to


develop the micro-insurance business and tap the growth potential of micro-insurance
in India.

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LIFE INSURANCE AGENTS MAY GET


SERVICE TAX RELIEF

[SOURCE : BUSINESS STANDARD

DATE : 25 FEBRUARY, 2008]

Life insurance agents are likely to be exempted from payment of sevice tax if
their total annual commission income does not exceed Rs. 8 lakhs. Though in
principle the notification dated March 1, 2005, exempts from tax, service of aggregate
value not exceeding Rs.8 lakh in a year (which brings into the ambit around 90
percent of the 20 lakh life insurance agents in a country), the benefit of the exemption
is not extended to insurance companies that pay the tax on behalf of their agents.

According to industry sources, this differential treatment of the life insurance


auxiliary service may get corrected in the 2008-09 Union Budget. For the service tax
on insurance commission (service rendered by an insurance agent to an insurer), the
responsibility of paying the tax rests with the insurance company (service recipients).

The benefits of exemption up to the threshold limit is not extended to such


cases where service tax is paid by the recipient of service on behalf of the provider of
service. While the responsibility of actual payment of service tax lies with the service
recipient (insurance company), the benefit of exemption up to the threshold limit is
not available to insurance agents (and insurance companies). In the case of life
insurance agents, the service tax (12.36 percent) is paid by insurance companies
which then deduct the amount from the commission of their agents. So even though
most life insurance agents in principle are exempted from service tax (as the
commission earnings are below Rs.8 lakh), they are not getting the benefit as it is not
extended to insurance companies.

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Life insurers have made submission to the finance ministry, requesting that “the
benefit of service tax exempted below the threshold limit of Rs. 8,00,000 in a year
may be extended to all service providers such as insurance agents, not withstanding
that the actual remittance of the tax is made by the principle, namely, the insurance
company, which is in fact a procedure to ensure efficiency of collection”

Finally, says Sachin Menon , Executive Director, of


“PricewaterhouseCooper ,”Its Unfair to deny the threshold percent to insurance
agents who constitute 90 percent of the total agent across the country.”

CENVAT CREDIT

CENVAT CREDIT means Central Value Added Tax. Service Tax


payable by an assesses shall be subject to assesses availing of Cenvat Credit.
Output service provider shall be allowed to take credit of the tax paid on the
inputs and input service only after he makes the payment for the value of input
service or Inputs/Capital Goods or the Service Tax/Excise Duties payable
thereon as indicated in the bill/ invoice of the Input service provider

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CONCLUSION

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