You are currently viewing HSN and GST Rate for Books, Newspapers, and Calendars

HSN and GST Rate for Books, Newspapers, and Calendars


Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Kanakkupillai

In India, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system of indirect taxes was introduced in 2017. As a result of this adoption, several previous indirect taxes, including the VAT, service tax, and central excise duty, were combined. GST is a tax that acts as a value-added surcharge and is levied on the supply of goods and services.

The application of GST, divided into five separate tax brackets—0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%—depends on the particular characteristics of the supplied goods. The associated HSN code of a product determines the GST rate it is subject to.

The HSN is a system that classifies and labels traded items globally. HSN codes categorize commodities in the Indian environment, particularly regarding taxation. HSN codes, composed of six digits, are essential for classifying and identifying products for taxation purposes.

Understanding GST Exclusions: Printed Books, Newspapers, and More

Braille books, newspapers, magazines, journals, maps, atlases, schematics, and globes are just a few examples of the wide variety of printed products that fall under the purview of Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation. These goods are not subject to the GST imposition since they come within the exempt category. To encourage and make the spread of information, education, and knowledge easier, this exemption has been given. As a result, GST does not impact the cost of these essential learning tools, ensuring affordability and accessibility for various customers. This tactical exemption is consistent with the overarching objective of promoting information sharing that is unfettered, education, and literacy, all of which are essential for society’s advancement.

GST Rate for Brochures and Printed Materials: A Complete Overview

Brochures, booklets, and similar paper items occupy a particular role in taxation. These materials are all subject to a 5% GST rate, whether single sheets or longer compositions. Brochures, pamphlets, and other paper-based informational resources, as well as other similar products, are subject to a uniform tax rate thanks to this unified taxation framework. The complexity of this 5% GST rate is explored in depth in this article, along with its effects on enterprises and consumers, to give readers a thorough grasp of the taxing dynamics affecting these paper-based resources.

Comprehensive Insight into 12% GST Rate: Overview of Taxable Printed Items

All other categories of printed books, newspapers, images, manuscripts, typescripts, and blueprints that are not specifically indicated otherwise are subject to a 12% GST rate. The following is a list of some items covered by the 12% GST:

  • Children’s picture books, sketchbooks, or colouring books.
  • Any kind of music, whether in printed or manuscript form, bound or unbound, or bound or unbound.
  • Original, hand-drawn plans and drawings for industrial, commercial, engineering, topographical, and related uses. This also applies to handwritten texts, sensitive paper photocopies, carbon copies of such drawings, and all copies of such original drawings.
  • Notably, expired postage, revenue stamps, or equivalent stamps from current or recent domestic issues that have or are intended to have a recognized face value, along with stamp-printed paper, coins, check forms, stock, share, or bond certificates, as well as other similar documents of title, may qualify as expired stamps.
  • Postcards that have been printed or illustrated, as well as printed cards with messages, announcements, or greetings, with or without a coordinating envelope.
  • Regardless of format, all printed calendars include monthly and yearly calendar blocks.
  • Ads, commercial catalogues, and other printed materials are examples of this. This includes printed advertisements, commercial catalogue inlays, computer-generated images, photographs, and plans and drawings for design, industrial, commercial, topographical, or related purposes.

A Detailed Overview of the GST Exclusion of Paper Products

Some products made of paper are remarkably excluded from the Goods and Services Tax’s (GST) purview. Notably, the GST does not apply to judicial and non-judicial stamp papers or court fee stamps sold by the government’s Treasury or approved merchants. This exemption covers all government-issued postal products, including checks, envelopes, postcards, and rupee notes from the Reserve Bank of India, regardless of whether they are misplaced or provided in book form.

GST Rate of 5% on Printed Rolls and Sheets: An Exclusive Tax Category

On paper products in the form of rolls and sheets with printed content, GST is charged at a rate of 5%. This single paper item is the only class subject to this particular tax rate.

An extensive overview of “Paper-based Products at a 12% GST Rate

Regarding taxes, paper-based products are subject to a 12% GST rate. This covers a variety of materials, including uncoated kraft papers, greaseproof papers, glassine papers, composite papers, and uncoated paper and paperboard. Along with corrugated paper boxes, cartons, and cases, this category also contains aseptic packaging paper, paper stationery items such as boxes, pouches, wallets, and writing compendiums. Exercise books, Braille texts, paper pulp trays, and even unusual objects like kites, matchsticks, and asphalt roofing sheets are included in the scope. This article gives readers a thorough overview of the variety of paper-related products subject to a 12% GST rate.

GST at 18% Applied to Paper Products

Categories subject to the 18% GST rate and any unlisted products made of paper-based materials:

  • Toilet paper, towels, tablecloths, and other things like sanitary or home papers.
  • Rolls or sheets of cellulose wadding and cellulose fibre webs that vary in texture and ornamentation.
  • Papers that are translucent or transparent, such as tracing paper and vegetable parchment, are in various sizes.
  • Regardless of printing, transfer papers include carbon paper, self-copy paper, and other sheets.
  • Paperboard, cellulose wadding, coloured or decorative paper, and various webs are also included.
  • Various papers are used in aseptic packing.
  • Paper pulp in the form of slabs, plates, and blocks for filtration.
  • Cigarette paper, either in booklets or cut to size.
  • Paper or paperboard-based letters, letter cards, basic postcards, and envelopes.
  • Products of sanitary or household paper include hand towels, toilet paper, and more.
  • Paper or paperboard labels, printed or unprinted.
  • Bobbins, spools, and other pulp, paper, or paperboard supports.

This broad range of paper-based products, which span domestic and commercial applications and are subject to the 18% GST rate, sheds light on their tax implications.


The HSN code’s Chapter 49 is categorized as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate that applies to books and newspapers. This tax structure was expected to go into force in India on July 1st, 2017. A critical step in the entire GST implementation process was the GST Council’s determination of the GST rates for a wide range of goods and services during a conference on May 18.

Interestingly, only wallpaper and associated wall coverings are liable to the higher GST rate of 28% among the numerous products. These products are distinguished from other products like books and newspapers, which come under separate GST rate categories by the special classification of these commodities and the related taxation regulations, leading to the establishment of this rate disparity. Different types of products are taxed by their unique characteristics and intended usage, thanks to the variation in GST rates.

The complexity of HSN codes and Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates for items like books, newspapers, and calendars is greatly simplified by Kanakkupillai. Our area of expertise is correctly detecting HSN codes, allowing accurate taxes and classifying goods like books and calendars. We assist firms in adhering to GST requirements, optimizing compliance, and utilizing available benefits because our team is knowledgeable about these issues. We also provide insightful information on the precise GST rates applicable to these goods, ensuring that businesses know the necessary for appropriate pricing, taxation, and overall compliance.

We also help companies register for GST, assuring their legal recognition and assisting with the timely and accurate filing of GST returns. By utilising our expertise, businesses may easily navigate the complex world of GST rates, exclusions, and legislative changes. In summary, Kanakkupillai equips companies with the tools they need to successfully negotiate the complexity of HSN codes, GST rates, and compliance standards for things like books, newspapers, and calendars. This promotes effective financial operations inside the GST framework.

Related Services


Kanakkupillai is your reliable partner for every step of your business journey in India. We offer reasonable and expert assistance to ensure legal compliance, covering business registration, tax compliance, accounting and bookkeeping, and intellectual property protection. Let us help you navigate the complex legal and regulatory requirements so you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.