Are there different laws for donations to temples and mosques as per the new Goods and Services Tax? Messages on social media said so. However, the Finance Ministry on Monday came out with a clarification saying that there is no discrimination of any sort based on any religion in the new tax regime.
“There are some messages going around in the social media stating that the temple trusts have to pay the GST while the churches and mosques are exempt. This is completely untrue because no distinction is made in the GST law on any provision based on religion,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also urged the citizens not to circulate wrong messages on social media. “We request to people at large not to start circulating such wrong messages on social media,” the Finance Ministry tweeted. There are over 60 services which include religious pilgrimage other than healthcare, education, skill development, journalistic activities which are exempt from service tax. As per the rules, services by a specified organisation with regard to a religious pilgrimage facilitated which is facilitated by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India are exempt under the GST.
The government on July 1 rolled out the GST with a view to introducing a uniform indirect taxation system throughout the country. The new tax regime was brought into effect on July 1 in a grand ceremony at the Central Hall of Parliament. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the tax law into the country.
There has been growing confusion on social media over whether temples are exempt from GST. These are some of the questions being asked on Twitter:
Is it true that temples burdened by GST while minority places of worship are spared?
Or is it tht as temple income goes to govt, GST apply? https://t.co/e88dWcR3D5
— ______ (@Kuvalayamala) June 23, 2017
— Jayadeep Kotian __ (@Jayadeep333) June 23, 2017
@rvaidya2000 Majority Temples are in shambles due to Govt. Control. GST will serve as death knell while Minority places of worship exempt.
— R. Ananthanarayanan (@andanarayanan) June 23, 2017
However, this is the government’s clarification:
There are some messages going around in social media stating that temple trusts have to pay the GST while the churches & mosques are exempt.
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) July 3, 2017
Aimed to bring a unified tax regime in the country, the GST removes at least 17 different taxes and transforms India into a single market for seamless movement of goods and services.