GST: online courses for doctors, even if mandated by the Medical Council, must be taxed under GST: AAR

In what could complicate the issue of taxation of education and even medical services, online courses specifically aimed at doctors and mandated by the medical board should be subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a ruled an AAR.

Under the GST, medical care and education are outside the range of the GST framework.

The AAR of Karnataka said that online training courses cannot be considered covered by the definition of medical institution, even if the course is compulsory for doctors.

Plus, it’s not a professional course and more on the lines of executive education and should face GST, the AAR ruled.

Cmepedia Gerda, provides services to physicians to maintain the professional standards required by law and Medical Council guidelines, in accordance with the AAR decision announced the first week of February.

The online institute wanted to know if paid educational content, which is used by medical professionals or students to meet a mandatory request from their professional body or institute, is exempt from GS. What if fees charged for online health professional portfolio management are GST exempt

“As education and health care are exempt services, non-applicability of GST has been sought on services provided to physicians in order to maintain professional standards in accordance with guidelines issued by the Medical Council,” Harpreet said. Singh, Partner, Indirect Taxes at KPMG in India.

The decision said the online course is not part of a program required to obtain a degree from a recognized university and should therefore be treated like any other online education. Under the GST, if a degree is delivered online, it is outside the GST range while a course or training program is not.

“In this case, the exemption was denied because the company itself did not provide any educational services and only acted as liaison offices between physicians and professional organizations and content providers on the other hand,” said said KPMG’s Singh.

“Claimant per se does not provide training to professionals – services provided by plaintiff to physicians and other medical professionals are not covered by any exemptions and are therefore taxable,” the AAR said.