The GST will not be charged on the cost of food served to patients by hospitals as advised by doctors, the government has said.
However, patients not admitted will have to pay tax on the total value of food served by the hospital.
In a set of FAQs, the Revenue Department also clarified that no Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be levied on services provided by senior doctors/consultants/ technicians hired by the hospitals as these are covered under healthcare services.
The FAQ said that food supplied to in-patients are not separately taxable as they form part of composite supply of healthcare, which is exempt under the GST.
"Food supplied to in-patients as advised by the doctor/nutritionists is a part of composite supply of healthcare and not separately taxable.
Other supplies of food by a hospital to patients (not admitted) or their attendants or visitors are taxable," it said.
As per GST law, healthcare services have been defined to include any service by way of diagnosis or treatment or care for illness, injury, deformity, abnormality or pregnancy in any recognised system of medicine in India.
"The entire amount charged by them (hospitals) from the patients, including the retention money and the fee/payments made to the doctors etc, is towards the healthcare services provided by the hospitals to the patients and is exempt (from GST)," the FAQ said.