Photography services under service tax

By | December 9, 2013

Photography services under service tax

“Taxable service” means any service provided or to be provided to any person, by a photography studio or agency in relation to photography, in any manner

“Photography” includes still photography, motion picture photography, laser photography, aerial photography and fluorescent photography.

 “Photography studio or agency” means any professional photographer or any person engaged in the business of rendering service relating to photography.

The following services are covered under photography services

  • Photograph of person, locations, passport, fashion photos, industrial photograph;
  • Photographic services for advertising display, brochures, news paper advertisement catalogues;
  • Photography of live events like marriage, weddings, receptions, conventions, fashion show, sports and news events (excluding news agency services, i.e. press photographers are excluded;)
  • Aerial photography;
  • Laser photography to create holograms;
  • Motion picture photography which involves general composition of scene, lighting of sets, choice of cameras, lenses etc. and integration of any special effects;
  • Fluorescence photography using ultraviolet rays to irradiate a surface or substance;
  • Any other kind of special photographic service;
  • Restoration of old photographs, processing and developing of photographic films and printing of photographs etc.

However, X-ray or CT scan will not be covered as in common parlance they are not photography studios or agencies.

For the purpose of Section 67 of the Finance Act, 1994, the value of service in relation to photography would be the gross amount charged including cost of goods and material used and consumed in the course of rendering such service. The cost of unexposed film etc. would stand excluded in terms of Explanation to section 67 if sold to the client.

The value of other goods and material, if sold separately would be excluded under exemption Notification No.12 /2003 and the term ‘sold’ appearing there-under has to be interpreted using the definition of ‘sale’ in the Central Excise Act, 1944 and not as per the meaning of deemed sale under Article 366 ( 29A ) (b) of the Constitution.

The Larger Bench added that it can be said that determination of value of taxable service of photography depends on the facts and circumstances of each case as the Finance Act, 1994 does not intend taxation of goods and materials sold in the course of providing all the taxable services.


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