Domestic and international air fares will rise by Rs 103 and Rs 515 respectively with a government notification to bring air travel into the service tax ambit coming into effect from tomorrow.
Government had proposed in the 2010-11 Budget that 10 per cent service tax be charged on air travel aiming at raising Rs 600 crore and Rs 1,000 crore annually.
It had proposed to expand the scope of air transport services to attract service tax to include domestic journeys and international journeys in any class. However, airline crew travelling on duty and UN staff are exempted from paying this service tax.
The notification, issued by the Department of Revenue over a week ago, said that for domestic travel, "10 per cent of the gross value of ticket or Rs 100 per journey, whichever is less" would be charged from passengers travelling in any class -- business or economy.
For international journey, it would be "10 per cent of the gross value of the ticket or Rs 500 per journey, whichever is less, for passengers embarking in India for an international journey in economy class."
A service tax of little over 12 per cent is already imposed on foreign travel by business or first class since the past several years. Air travellers would be exempted from paying this tax while embarking on a journey originating or terminating in an airport located in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura and Bagdogra in West Bengal. They would also be exempted for journeys originating in Jammu and Kashmir from the airports of Srinagar, Leh and Jammu.
The move to impose the tax in this year's budget was opposed by all Indian carriers as well as the global airlines body, International Air Transport Association which sought a roll back, describing it as "unacceptable" and "counter-productive". Following this, the government capped the hike at Rs 100 for all domestic travel and Rs 500 for economy-class foreign travel, leaving the tax on upper class international journeys as it is. PTI