Several political leaders and ministers from Opposition parties have claimed that 18% Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be levied on crematorium services in the country. FactChecker found this claim to be misleading.

While the recent changes in the GST rates by the GST Council raised the tax on infrastructure contract works including crematoriums from 12% to 18%, it did not take in its ambit services provided by crematoriums. This is because, under the GST Act, these services neither fall in the category of goods nor services.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, in a series of tweets, expressed concern over the process and outcome of the tax hikes. He claimed that under the new rate list, a tax of 18% has also been imposed on crematoriums.

Congress MLA from Karnataka Priyank Kharge also made the same claim while tweeting, "BJP Govt won't even allow you to die peacefully. 18% GST on crematorium."

Y Sathish Reddy, social media convenor of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Chairman of Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation, also echoed the same claim on social media. "The difference between KCR & Modi. #KCR: With a thought to respect everyone, introduced free cremation by #VaikuntaDhamam. #Modi: To squeeze common man, introduced #GST even on cremation," he tweeted.

These tweets have been archived here, here and here.

This happened after the GST Council imposed 5% GST on pre-packed and labelled food items such as cereals, pulses and flour weighing less than 25 kg.

Fact-check

Under the recent changes recommended by the GST Council, one category under services which will see an increase from 12% to 18% GST is work contracts. This includes roads, bridges, railways, Metro, effluent treatment plant, crematorium, etc.


Moreover, under the GST Act, which lays downs the scope and purview of the taxes on goods and services, no tax has been levied on crematoriums or other mortuary services. Services of funeral, burial, crematorium or mortuary including transportation of the deceased fall under the category called "activities or transactions which shall be treated neither as a supply of goods nor a supply of services". This is specified under Schedule III of the Act.

The fact-checking arm of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) also debunked this claim on Twitter. They mentioned that the 18% tax is applicable on the "work contracts and not the services" of crematoriums. "There is no GST on funeral, burial, crematorium or mortuary services," the PIB tweeted.

Amit Malviya, BJP's National IT Department in-charge, also clarified the same in a tweet. He said, "No GST (is) charged on the services provided by a crematorium".

FactChecker has written to Ramesh and Kharge via email and Reddy via twitter messages asking for clarification on their statements. Their response was awaited at the time of publishing this fact-check. If and when they respond, we will update the article.

Claim Review :   The recent GST hikes include an 18% tax on crematoriums
Claimed By :  Jairam Ramesh, Priyank Kharge, Y Sathish Reddy
Fact Check :  Misleading