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Identify Tax-Exemption Items & Start your GST Free Businesses in India


Last Updated on May 15, 2023 by Kanakkupillai

Identify Tax-Exemption Items & Start your GST Free Businesses in India

Understanding the taxability in India is very important to identify the tax-exemption items.
Actually, GST exemption is of three different types, they are, the exemption granted to individuals or businesses, the GST exemption granted to goods and the exemption on services. Any individual or any business is exempt from GST if the annual turnover of the business is less than a particular amount. The GST registration implementation is done in July 2017 and at that time, the businesses or individuals with their annual turnover less than Rs. 20 lakhs were considered as GST exemption. There are some more exemptions in GST exemption like the annual turnover limit for hill states and northeastern states such as Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland,  as well as Arunachal Pradesh is about Rs.10 lakhs.
The exemption limit for businesses after the 32nd GST Council meeting which is held on 10th January 2019 has been doubled, that is the exemption limit for businesses is increased to Rs. 40 lakhs, and for hilly states and northeastern states, the new GST exemption limit for goods alone has increased to Rs. 20 lakhs but the GST exemption for businesses which deals with supply of services has continued at Rs.10 lakhs.

GST Exemption – Aggregate Turnover

The GST Act of Indian Government defines “aggregate turnover” as the aggregate value of all taxable supplies which excludes the charges paid on reverse charge mechanism, exempt supplies, inter-state and exported supply of goods and services. However, there are a few notable exceptions when figuring the aggregate turnover of businesses/individuals. The following payouts are exceptions from figuring of aggregate turnover:

  • Any SGST, CGST or IGST paid by the capitalist
  • Value of concave supplies of goods and services
  • Taxes payable depending on the reverse charge mechanism
  •    Value of non-taxable supplies of services and goods.

GST Exemption for Goods

There are number of goods comes under GST exemption and also a list of goods which are not taxable. The liability of these lists may change periodically. The reasons for GST exemption of a good may vary depending on whether the good is GST exempt or the good is zero-rated or the good is nil rated or counted as a non-GST supply. In most of the cases, unprocessed products such as raw silk, etc. come under GST exemption but the same products or goods once processed such as silk sarees, readymade apparel made from silk then those goods are taxable. The exemption of GST is usually announced by the government but the list for the GST exemption items are recommended by the GST council.

GST Exemption for Supplies

Supply of a product or good is GST exemption in the following cases:

  • The good which comes under non-taxable as per GST rules. This rule is applicable to goods like petrol and alcohol for human intake are not taxable under the GST Act. This may be changed in future.
  • The good which comes under the zero-rated list of GST rules i.e. the product whose tax rate has been fixed at 0% like fresh vegetables, fresh milk, and so on.
  • The supply of the good is considered as GST exempt after getting the notification from the government.

The supply of the above mentioned goods attract zero GST, and there is no input tax credit benefit available for GST registered businesses for these goods.

Reasons for GST Exemption on Goods

Government grant GST Exemption on goods in the following cases

  • The good which is recommended by the GST council
  • Exemption considered in public interest.
  • In exceptional cases, the government can grant GST exemption via special order
  • GST Exemption on supply of certain goods is executed via an official notification

Types of GST Exemption in India

The GST Act defines three types of GST exemption for goods:

  • Absolute Exemption from GST: Supply of the specific good is GST exempt regardless of who the supplier of the good or the receiver of the good is and whether the good is supplied within the state or out of the state.
  • Conditional exemption from GST: Supply of specific goods is GST exempt under some specific terms and conditions notified in the GST Act, amendment.

One thing you have to note is that goods under SGST or CGST exemption does not get immediately grant for IGST exemption. It has to be specified by the GST Act, amendment or notification that supply of a specific good is IGST exemption too.

Examples of GST Exempt for Goods

Here are some key examples of GST Exempt Goods:

  • Fresh and dried vegetables including onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and various leguminous vegetables and more.
  • Live fish, bird’s eggs in shell, fresh fish, fresh milk etc.
  • Fresh ginger, garlic, unroasted coffee beans, grapes, melon,  unprocessed green tea leaves, and so on
  • Corn, rice, soybean, wheat, maize, hulled cereal grains, etc. which are not packed in the branded containers.
  • Human blood and various parts of the same.
  • Raw silk, cocoon, silk worm, jute fibres (unspun), khadi fabric, khadi yarn, and so on
  • Slates, chalk sticks, slate pencils, parts which are used to produce hearing aids, handloom, etc.

Apart from the above list, there are many more goods that come under nil GST.

GST Exempt for Services

There are number of services available which come under GST exemption. Importantly, the GST exemption for businesses that deals with the supply of services is about Rs. 10 lakh annual turnover for hilly states and northeastern states and about Rs. 20 lakh for other states in India. Here is a short-list of services which are eligible for the tax exemption under the GST Act

  • Services that are related to cultivation of crops and animal husbandry excluding horse farming
  • Supply of farming workers
  • Services related to farming that includes tending, pruning, cutting, threshing, sun drying,  sorting, and so on, the work which do not alter the basic characteristics of the good or product
  • The business that deals with renting or leasing the agro machinery/vacant land to do agricultural activities
  • Loading,  packing, storage, unloading, warehouse for agricultural products and fumigation of warehouses.
  • Services like pre-conditioning/precooling, waxing, ripening, retail packing are also eligible for the tax exemption under the GST Act

Some other services that eligible for exemption from GST under GST Rules are as follows:

  • Transportation services like public transport, auto rickshaws, metered cabs or tramway, etc.
  • Transportation of goods aboard, transport of agricultural products, dairy products like milk, salt, rice, and so on.
  • Various services offered by the Reserve Bank of India, central government, NPS, IRDAI, state government etc.
  • Banking Services provided by the Basic Saving Bank Deposit (BSBD) account created under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
  • Services offered by veterinary clinic for animals and birds.
  • Services by an artistic performance in classical or folk art forms of dance, music, theatre, and so on.


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