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Sound Recording Services [Sec 65(105)(zj)]
Effective upto 30th June, 2012
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Landmark Service Tax Judment - Sound Recording Services

Introduced With Effect From 16th July 2001
Relevant Notifications / Circulars
Landmark Judgements
Accounting Code
Service Tax 00440161
Interest  00440162
Penalty 00441335

According to Section 65 (105) (zj), any service provided or to be provided to any person, by a sound recording studio or agency in relation to any kind of sound recording is a ‘taxable service’.

According to Section 65 (98), “sound recording” means recording of sound on any media or device including magnetic storage device, and includes services relating to recording of sound in any manner such as sound cataloguing, storing of sound and sound mixing or re-mixing or any audio post-production activity.

According to Section 65 (63), “magnetic storage device” includes wax blanks, discs or blanks, strips or films for the purpose of original sound recording.

According to Section 65 (99), “sound recording studio or agency” means any person engaged in the business of rendering any service relating to sound recording.


These services include services rendered in the process of converting sounds, words and music to a permanent physical format using the specialized technical equipment of a sound recording studio. It includes services rendered in relation to recording of sound by mixing or re-mixing or any audio post production activity.  These services do not include live recordings done outside a studio, such as at a concert hall, stadium, outdoor stage or conference centre.

Sound recording means recording of sound on any media or device including magnetic storage device and includes services relating to recording of sound in any manner such as sound cataloguing, storing of sound and sound mixing / remixing or any audio post production activity like dubbing editing.

Sound can be recorded on any media or device. Generally, sounds are recorded in studios which are a sound proof place without any disturbance from outside noises. Singers and musicians come to the recording studio for songs and music.

The recording devices are sophisticated machines which help in editing the sound, change the decibels etc. Sound recording can be done by various systems like stereo, Mono, Digital, Dolby etc.

Companies producing blank Cassettes, CD, DVD, etc. are excluded from the purview of service tax. Production of original master CD / DVD / audiotape to make further copies is not covered in the purview of service tax

Lending / hiring of video / sound recording equipment is in nature of sub contracts and since sub-contractors are not providing services directly to the customer they are not required to pay service tax.


(a)  Small service providers whose aggregate value of taxable services rendered in the previous year has not exceeded the limit of Rs. 10,00,000/-  (Service Tax Notification No. 8/2008-ST dated 01.03.2008)

(b)  Services provided to the United Nations or International Organisations

(c)  Services provided to Special Economic Zones (SEZ) units (including unit under construction) and SEZ developers

(d)  Services which are exported as per ‘Export of Services’ Rules

(e)  Services provided for official or personal use of foreign diplomatic missions and family members of diplomatic missions.

(f)  Services provided by Reserve Bank of India

(g)  Out of total value of service provided proportionate value of goods and material provided by the Service Provider

Service Tax CBEC Instruction Letter File No. B1/6/2005-TRU, dated 27-07-2005 Scope and taxability of services introduced or extended by the Finance Act, 2005 including sound recording services.
Service Tax CBEC Instruction Letter File No. B11/1/2001-TRU dated 09-07-2001
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Case Laws Related

  • STO 2005 CESTAT 177
  • Penalty: The respondent having small structure of business with limited resources there was inadvertent delay in payment of service tax. Order of the Commissioner (Appeals) reducing penalty is fair and does not require to be interfered with.





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