Multiple rates of GST have now become a point of the bone of contention between hand sanitizer manufacturers and the government. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Central Intelligence had cautioned alerted the GST authorities regarding such alcohol-based sanitizers manufacturers who we’re giving 12% GST on such products by making wrong classifications categorizing them erroneously as“medicaments “(under tariff heading 3004) rather than as” disinfectants “(under tariff heading 3008) which would have caused them to pay GST@ 18% of the cost.
In a letter dated 10.06.2020 having reference No. F. No.562/INT/DOGI/HQ/2018/17025 to 17045 to principal commissioners, the director-general of GST Intelligence has alleged that this has led to “substantial evasion” of tax. Authorities have analyzed data for 62 manufacturers and have asked field to verify if other producers, including distillers and sugar mills and, have “miss-classified” the product that is being used across households and offices.
What does the recent ruling of the Goa AAR say?
The Goa Bench of the GST Authority for Advance Ruling on Application of Springfields (India) Distilleries has ruled out that Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers attract a GST rate of 18% and merely classifying any goods as an essential commodity will not be criteria for exempting such GST. Earlier, Springfield’s (India) distillery had sought Advance Rulings on the issue of classification of the Goods namely “Hand sanitizer” and the rate of GST to be applied. The company also sought opinion on whether Hand sanitizer supplied by it is classifiable as an essential commodity as per the notification of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and to be exempt from GST.
Amidst debate on GST rate on alcohol-based hand sanitizer, an Authority for Advance Ruling has said that this hygiene product will attract GST at the rate of 18%.
However, in the opinion of the AAR when the GST administration is investigating into an allegation of some manufacturers, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer makers, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer makers, resorting to tax evasion /non-payment of GST by misclassifying the product. There has been the apprehension of tax evasion especially by manufacturers, suppliers including sugar mills and distillers are classifying alcohol-based hand sanitizer under the tariff heading 3004 while actually it should be under tariff heading 3808 of HSN (Harmonized System of Nomenclature).
Therefore, it was held that that in the opinion of the Authority that the hand sanitizers manufactured by the applicant are of the category of the Alcohol-based sanitizers and are classifiable are of the category of Alcohol-based sanitizers and are classifiable under heading 3808 of HSN to which the GST is applicable @18%.
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