Clarification regarding applicability of GST rates on various goods and services on 11 items

Clarification regarding applicability of GST rates on various goods and services on 11 items for which representations received 

Circular No.52/26/2018-GST

F.No.354/255/2018-TRU (Part-2)
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Tax Research Unit)

North Block, New Delhi
Dated, 9th August, 2018

Principal Chief Commissioners/ Principal Directors General,
Chief Commissioners/ Directors General,
Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners of Central Excise and Central Tax (All),
All under CBEC.

Madam/ Sir,

Subject: Clarification regarding applicability of GST on various goods and services–reg.

Representations have been received seeking clarification in respect of applicable GST rates on the following items:

(i) Fortified Toned Milk
(ii) Refined beet and cane sugar
(iii) Tamarind Kernel Powder (Modified & Un Modified form)
(iv) Drinking water
(v) Plasma products
(vi) Wipes using spun lace non-woven fabric
(vii) Real Zari Kasab (Thread)
(viii) Marine Engine
(ix) Quilt and comforter
(x) Bus body building as supply of motor vehicle or job work
(xi) Disc Brake Pad

2. The matter has been examined. The issue-wise clarifications are discussed below:

3.1 Applicability of GST on Fortified Toned Milk: Representations have been received seeking clarification regarding  applicability of GST on Fortified Toned Milk.

3.2 Milk is classified under heading 0401 and as per S.No. 25 of notification No. 2/2017- Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, fresh milk and pasteurised milk, including separated milk, milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter, excluding Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk falling under tariff head 0401 attracts NIL rate of GST. Further, as per HSN Explanatory Notes, milk enriched with vitamins and minerals is classifiable under HSN code 0401. Thus, it is clarified that toned milk fortified (with vitamins ‘A’ and ‘D’) attracts NIL rate of GST under HSN Code 0401.

4.1 Applicable GST rate on refined beet and cane sugar: Doubts have been raised regarding GST rate applicable on refined beet and cane sugar. Vide S. No. 91 of schedule I of notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, 5% GST rate has been prescribed on all kinds of beet and cane sugar falling under heading 1701.

4.2 Doubts seem to have arisen in view of S. No. 32 A of the Schedule II of notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, which prescribes 12% GST rate on “All goods, falling under tariff items 1701 91 and 1701 99 including refined sugar containing added flavouring or colouring matter, sugar cubes (other than those which attract 5% or Nil GST)”.

4.3 It is clarified that by virtue of specific exclusion in S. No. 32 A, any sugar that falls under 5% category [at the said S. No. 91 of schedule I of notification No.1/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017] gets excluded from the S. No. 32 A of Schedule II. As all kinds of beet and cane sugar falling under heading 1701 are covered by the said entry at S. No. 91 of Schedule I, these would get excluded from S. No. 32 A of Schedule II, and thus would attract GST @ 5%.

4.4 Accordingly, it is clarified that beet and cane sugar, including refined beet and cane sugar, will fall under heading 1701 and attract 5% GST rate. 

5.1 Applicable GST rate on treated (modified) tamarind kernel powder and plain (unmodified) tamarind kernel powder : Representation have been received seeking clarification regarding GST rate applicable on treated (modified) tamarind kernel powder and plain (unmodified) tamarind kernel powder.

5.2 There are two grades of Tamarind Kernel Powder (TKP):- Plain (unmodified) form (hot, water soluble) and Chemically treated (modified) form (cold, water soluble).

5.3 As per S. No. 76 A of schedule I of notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, 5% GST rate was prescribed on Tamarind Kernel powder falling under chapter 13.
However, certain doubts have been expressed regarding GST rate on Tamarind kernel powder, as the said notification does not specifically mention the word “modified”.

5.4 As both plain (unmodified) tamarind kernel powder and treated (modified) tamarind kernel powder fall under chapter 13, it is hereby clarified that both attract 5% GST in terms of the said notification.

6.1 Applicability of GST on supply of safe drinking water for public purpose: Representations have been received seeking clarification regarding applicability of GST on supply of safe drinking water for public purpose.

6.2 Attention is drawn to the entry at S. No. 99 of notification No. 2/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, by virtue of which water [other than aerated, mineral, purified, distilled, medicinal, ionic, battery, de-mineralized and water sold in sealed container] falling under HS code 2201 attracts NIL rate of GST.

6.3 Accordingly, supply of water, other than those excluded from S. No. 99 of notification No. 2/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017, would attract GST at “NIL” rate. Therefore, it is clarified that supply of drinking water for public purposes, if it is not supplied in a sealed container, is exempt from GST.

7.1 GST rate on Human Blood Plasma: References have been received about the varying practices being followed in different parts of the country regarding the GST rates on “human blood plasma”.

7.2 Plasma is the clear, straw coloured liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components have been removed. As per the explanatory notes to the Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN), plasma would fall under the description antisera and other blood fractions, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes and would fall under HS code 3002.

7.3 Normal human plasma is specifically mentioned at S. No. 186 of List I under S. No. 180 of Schedule I of the notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28th June, 2017, and attracts 5% GST. Other items falling under HS Code 3002 (including plasma products) would attract 12% GST under S. No. 61 of Schedule II of the said notification, not specifically covered in the said List I.

7.4 Thus, a harmonious reading of the two entries would mean that normal human plasma would attract 5% GST rate under List I (S. No. 186), whereas plasma products would attract 12% GST rate, if otherwise not specifically covered under the said List.

8.1 Appropriate classification of baby wipes, facial tissues and other similar products: Varied practices are being followed regarding the classification of baby wipes, facial tissues and other similar products, and references have been received requesting for correct classification of these products. As per the references, these products are currently being classified under different HS codes namely 3307, 3401 and 5603 by the industry.

8.2 Commercially, wipes are categorized into various types such as baby wipes, facial wipes, disinfectant wipes, make-up remover wipes etc. These products are generally made by using non-woven fabrics of viscose and polyviscous blend and are sprinkled with demineralized water and various chemicals and fragrances, which impart the essential character to the product. The base raw materials are moisturising and cleansing agents, preservatives,
aqua base, cooling agents, perfumes etc. The textile material is present as a carrying medium of these cleaning/wiping components.

8.3 According to the General Rules for Interpretation [GRI- 3(b)] of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act (CTA), 1975, “Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3 (a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.” Since primary function of the article should be taken into consideration while deciding the classification, it is clear that the essential character of the wipes in the instant case is imparted by the components which are to be mixed with the textile material.

8.4 As per the explanatory notes to the HSN, the HS code 5603 clearly excludes nonwoven, impregnated, coated or covered with substances or preparations such as perfumes or cosmetics, soaps or detergents, polishes, creams or similar preparations. The HSN is reproduced as follows : “The heading also excludes:

Nonwoven, impregnated, coated or covered with substances or preparations [i.e. perfumes or cosmetics (Chapter 33), soaps or detergents (heading 3401), polishes, creams, or similar preparations (heading 3405), fabric, softeners (heading 3809)] where the textile material is present merely as a carrying medium. Further, HS code 3307 covers wadding, felt and non-woven, impregnated, coated or covered with perfumes or cosmetics. The HS code 3401, would cover paper, wadding, felt and non-woven impregnated, coated or covered with soap or detergent whether or not perfumed”.

8.5 Further, as per the explanatory notes to the HSN, the heading 3307 includes wadding, felt and nonwovens impregnated, coated or covered with perfume or cosmetics. Similarly, as per explanatory notes to the HSN, the heading 3401 includes wipes made of paper, wadding, felt and nonwovens, impregnated, coated or covered with soap or detergent, whether or not perfumed or put up for retail sale.

8.6 Thus, the wipes of various kinds (as stated above) are classifiable under heading 3307 or 3401 depending upon their constituents as discussed above. Therefore, if the baby wipes are impregnated with perfumes or cosmetics, then the same would fall under HS code 3307 and would attract 18% GST rate. Similarly, if they are coated with soap or detergent, then it would fall under HS code 3401 and would attract 18% GST.

9.1 Classification and applicable GST rate on real zari Kasab (thread): Certain doubts have been raised regarding the classification and applicable GST rate on Kasab thread (a metallised yarn) as yarn falling under heading 5605 attracts 12% GST, as per entry 137 of the Schedule-II-12% of the notification No.01/2017-Central Tax (rate) dated 28.06.2017, while specified embroidery product falling under 5809 and 5810 attracts GST @ 5%, as per entry no. 220 of the Schedule-I-5% of the above-mentioned notification.

9.2 The heading 5809 and 5810 cover embroidery and zari articles. These heading do not cover yarn of any kinds. Hence, while these headings apply to embroidery articles, embroidery in piece, in strips, or in motifs, they do not apply to yarn, including Kasab yarn.

9.3 Further all types of metallised yarns or threads are classifiable under tariff heading 5605. Kasab (yarn) falls under this heading. Under heading 5605, real zari manufactured with silver wire gimped (vitai) on core yarn namely pure silk and cotton and finally gilted with gold would attract 5% GST under tariff item 5605 00 10, as specified at entry no. 218A of ScheduleI-5% of the GST rate schedule. Other goods falling under this heading attract 12% GST. Accordingly, kasab (yarn) would attract 12% GST along with other metallised yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal including imitation zari thread (S. No. 137 of the Schedule-II-12%). Therefore, it is clarified that imitation zari thread or yarn known as “Kasab” or by any other name in trade parlance, would attract a uniform GST rate of 12% under tariff heading 5605.

10.1 Applicability of GST on marine engine: Reference has been received seeking clarification regarding GST rates on Marine Engine. The fishing vessels are classifiable under heading 8902, and attract GST @ 5%, as per S. No. 247 of Schedule I of the notification No. 01/2017-Central Tax (rate) dated 28.06.2017. Further, parts of goods of heading 8902, falling under any chapter also attracts GST rate of 5%, vide S. No. 252 of Schedule I of the said notification. The Marine engine for fishing vessel falling under Tariff item 8408 1093 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 would attract a GST rate of 5% by virtue of S. No. 252 of Schedule I of the notification No. 01/2017-Central Tax (rate) dated 28.06.2017.

10.2 Therefore, it is clarified that the supplies of marine engine for fishing vessel (being a part of the fishing vessel), falling under tariff item 8408 10 93 attracts 5% GST.

11.1 Applicable GST rate on cotton quilts under tariff heading 9404-Scope of the term “Cotton Quilt”.

11.2 Cotton quilts falling under tariff heading 9404 attract a GST rate of 5% if the sale value of such cotton quilts does not exceed Rs. 1000 per piece [as per S. No. 257 A of Schedule I of the notification No. 01/2017-Central Tax (rate) dated 28.06.2017]. However, such cotton quilts, with sale value exceeding Rs.1000 per piece attract a GST rate of 12% (as per S. No. 224A of Schedule II of the said notification). Doubts have been raised as to what constitutes cotton quilt, i.e. whether a quilt filled with cotton with cover of cotton, or filled with cotton but cover made of some other material, or filled with material other than cotton.

11.3 The matter has been examined. The essential character of the cotton quilt is imparted by the filling material. Therefore, a quilt filled with cotton constitutes a cotton quilt, irrespective of the material of the cover of the quilt. The GST rate would accordingly apply. 

12.1 Applicable GST rate for bus body building activity: Representations have been received seeking clarifications on GST rates on the activity of bus body building. The doubts have arisen on account of the fact that while GST applicable on job work services is 18%, the supply of motor vehicles attracts GST @ 28%.

12.2 Buses [motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, including the driver] fall under headings 8702 and attract 28% GST. Further, chassis fitted with engines [8705] and whole bodies (including cabs) for buses [8707] also attract 28% GST. In this context, it is mentioned that the services of bus body fabrication on job work basis attracts 18% GST on such service. Thus, fabrication of buses may involve the following two situations:

a) Bus body builder builds a bus, working on the chassis owned by him and supplies the built-up bus to the customer, and charges the customer for the value of the bus.

b) Bus body builder builds body on chassis provided by the principal for body building, and charges fabrication charges (including certain material that was consumed during the process of job-work).

12.3 In the above context, it is hereby clarified that in case as mentioned at Para 12.2(a) above, the supply made is that of bus, and accordingly supply would attract GST @28%. In the case as mentioned at Para 12.2(b) above, fabrication of body on chassis provided by the principal (not on account of body builder), the supply would merit classification as service, and 18% GST as applicable will be charged accordingly.

13.1 Applicable GST rate on Disc Brake Pad: Representations have been received seeking clarification on disc brake pad for automobiles. It is stated that divergent practices of classifying these products, in Chapter 68 or heading 8708 are being followed. Chapter 68 attracts a GST rate of 18%, while heading 8708 attracts a GST rate of 28%.

13.2 Parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705 are classified under heading 8708 and attract 28% GST. Further, friction material and articles thereof (for example, sheets, rolls, strips, segments, discs, washers, pads), not mounted, for brakes, for clutches or the like, with a basis of asbestos, of other mineral substances or of cellulose, whether or not combined with textiles or other mineral substances or of cellulose, whether or not combined with textiles or other materials are classifiable under heading 6813 and attract 18% GST.

13.3 In the above context, it is mentioned that as per HSN Explanatory Notes, heading 8708 covers “Brakes (shoe, segment, disc, etc.) and parts thereof (plates, drums, cylinders, mounted linings, oil reservoirs for hydraulic brakes, etc.); servo-brakes and parts thereof, while Chapter 68 covers articles of Stone, Plaster, Cement, Asbestos, Mica or similar materials. Further, HSN Explanatory Notes to the heading 6813 specifically excludes:

i) Friction materials not containing mineral materials or cellulose fibre (e.g., those of cork);

ii) Mounted brake linings (including friction material fixed to a metal plate provided with circular cavities, perforated tongues or similar fittings, for disc brakes) which are classified as parts of the machines or vehicles for which they are designed (e.g. heading 8708).

13.4 Thus, it is clear, in view of the HSN Explanatory Notes that the said goods, namely “Disc Brake pad” for automobiles, are appropriately classifiable under heading 8708 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and would attract 28% GST.

14. Difficulty, if any, may be brought to the notice of the Board immediately. Hindi version shall follow.

Yours faithfully

Dr. Ajay K. Chikara
Technical Officer (TRU)

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