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The rules regarding GST rates are liable to change over time. For instance, in July 2022, the GST rates for various categories of goods, including food grains and dairy products, were amended.

 

In light of this, it is a good idea to keep abreast of the GST rates of various categories of products and services. In addition, it is also important to know what kinds of products and services are exempt from GST, and if there are any conditions attached to such exemptions.

Types of GST Exemptions in India

There are three main types of GST exemptions in India:

  • Absolute exemptions: Unconditional exemptions are said to be absolute exemptions. For instance, the services provided by the RBI are not subject to GST.

  • Conditional exemptions: As the name suggests, these are exemptions that have some conditions attached to them. For instance, the services provided by hotels may be exempted from GST if they can provide proof that their daily revenue through providing accommodation is less than a certain amount.

  • Partial exemptions: If a registered person receives an intra-state supply of goods and/or services from an unregistered person, then such goods and/or services are exempted from GST under reverse charge, as long as the aggregate value of such supplies does not exceed a certain daily amount. 

What are Exempt Supplies Under GST?

Supplies may be exempted from GST by virtue of falling in one of the following three categories:

 

  • Supplies that are taxable at a NIL rate of tax (i.e. at a tax rate of 0%)

  • Supplies that are either partly or wholly exempted from IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax) or CGST (Central Goods And Services Tax) due to an amendment to Section 11 of the CGST Act or Section 6 of the IGST Act

  • “Non-taxable supplies”, as defined under Section 2(78) of the CGST Act (such as alcohol meant for human consumption)

Note that supplies taxable at a NIL rate are not the same as “zero-rated supplies”; the latter are treated differently from the former for legal purposes.

Difference Between Exempt, Nil-Rated, Zero-Rated and Non-GST Supplies

The differences between ‘exempt’, ‘nil-rated’, ‘zero-rated’, and ‘non-GST’ supplies are important to understand. They are differentiated clearly in the table below:

Type of Supply 

Description

Exempt

This kind of supply is taxable, but GST is not applicable to them. Moreover, Input Credit Tax (ITC) cannot be claimed for them.

Nil-Rated

Supplies whose GST rate is set at 0%. E.g. salt and grains.

Zero-Rated

Export supplies, and goods and/or services provided to SEZ’s or SEZ developers.

Non-GST

Supplies that do not fall under the scope of GST laws. E.g. alcohol for human consumption.

GST Exemption List

Businesses and individuals are required to register for GST if they meet certain criteria. However, there are quite a few exceptions to this requirement. Here is a list of the various kinds of goods, services, and businesses that are subject to exemptions under the GST regime.

Exempted Goods Under GST

Here are some of the goods that are exempted from GST.

 

  • Fresh and dry vegetables

  • Non-GST goods, such as fish, egg, fresh milk, etc.

  • Grapes, melons, ginger, garlic, unroasted coffee beans, green tea leaves that are not processed, etc.

  • Food items that are not put into branded containers, like rice and other food grains

  • Substances like human blood

  • Unspun jute fibres, raw silk, khadi fibre, etc.

Exempted Services Under GST

Here are some of the services that are exempted from GST.

 

  • Agricultural services, such as harvesting, packaging, warehouse, cultivation, supply, leasing of machinery, etc.

  • Public transportation services

  • Transportation of agricultural products and goods outside of India

  • Labour supply for farms

  • Goods transportation where the charges are less than Rs.1500

  • Retail packing, pre-conditioning, waxing, etc.

  • Healthcare and educational services

  • Services offered by the RBI, the IRDAI, the Central and State Governments, the NPS, etc.

  • Various banking services

Exemptions from GST Registration 

Here are some of the categories of taxpayers who do not need to register for GST.

 

  • Individuals who fall under the GST exemption limit

  • Suppliers of exempted goods and services under GST

  • Persons providing non-GST goods and services

  • Taxpayers who do not supply goods or services

  • Agriculturists

  • Persons who supply goods covered under reverse charges

GST Exemptions for Start-ups & Small Businesses 

Here are two kinds of start-ups and businesses that are exempted from GST.

 

  • Businesses with a turnover of less than Rs. 40 Lakhs

  • Small businesses are exempted from e-invoicing under GST.

What is a Non-Taxable Supply?

A “non-taxable supply” refers to a supply of goods and/or services which may not be taxed under the CGST Act or IGST Act. It should be noted that only those transactions that are ‘supplies’ as defined under GST law qualify as non-taxable supplies with respect to GST.

 

In other words, a non-taxable supply is a kind of supply that is excluded from the purview of GST.

Negative List Under GST

Goods and services that are not covered under GST make up what is known as the “negative list” under GST. Some of the items on this list are:

 

  • Services provided by an employee to their employer

  • End-of-life services

  • Land sales

  • Sales of completed buildings

  • Services by courts and tribunals

  • Duties performed by MPs, MLAs etc.

Conclusion

Thus, there are several different kinds of goods and services that are exempted from GST. Moreover, there are different types of GST exemptions as well: some absolute, some conditional.

GST Exemption FAQs

  • ✔️What is the threshold limit of exemption in GST?

    Sellers of goods with a turnover of less than 40 Lakhs (20 Lakhs for special category states), and providers of services with a turnover of less than 20 Lakhs (10 Lakhs for special category states) are exempt from having to register for GST.

  • ✔️Is it necessary to issue a tax invoice if I sell exempt goods?

    No, sellers of exempt goods can issue a Bill of Supply instead.

  • ✔️In case of exempt supply, what is the treatment of Input Tax Credit?

    Input Tax Credit (ITC) can be availed only on goods and services used for business purposes. However, ITC cannot be claimed on the portion of goods and services used for making exempt supplies.

  • ✔️Does exemption from CGST also apply as an exemption from SGST?

    Yes, as there is a correlation between the CGST and SGST Acts.

  • ✔️Does exemption from IGST automatically apply as an exemption from CGST?

    No, there is no correlation between the IGST and CGST Acts.