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Mastering GST on Labor Charges: HSN Codes and Tax Rates


Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Kanakkupillai

A labour contract is a written agreement between two parties in the construction industry. The contractor agrees to conduct work subject to certain limitations and conditions, and the owner provides the materials required to carry out the contract. This contract is called a ‘pure labour and work contract’ by the goods and services tax (GST).

GST coverage for labour costs

Unless specifically exempted by a notification issued by the Government and the GST Council, all services and employment arrangements are subject to GST. All financial transactions are included in the services covered by the GST on labour contractors or by the GST legislation, except for those involving securities or money moved for the conversion of securities, etc.

The GST on labour fees is calculated using the supply value

The GST Act of 2017 specifies that the transactional value shall be used as the supply value to compute the GST on labour charges. The transaction value, except CGST, IGST, and SGST, normally refers to the whole cost of the transaction, including all fees and taxes imposed by various statutory rules.

The party entering into a labour agreement covers several expenses on behalf of the labour contractor and his supplies. It is, therefore, only fair to consider these costs when calculating the transactional or actual supply value.

GST rates and HSN code for labour charge

It covers many businesses and services offered by straightforward labour agreements, not just the construction industry. The HSN codes, or service accounting codes for labour costs in India, are shown below, along with the services they cover and the relevant GST rates.

HSN codes for labour charge service  Service provided GST rate 
998511 Services for executive or retained personnel searches 18%
998512 Permanent placement services 18%
998513 Contract staffing services 18%
998515 Services for long-term payroll and staffing 18%
998516 Temporary permanent-from-staffing services for placements 18%
998517 Co-employment staffing services  18%
998518 Other employment-related services not listed elsewhere that provide labour 18%


Effects of the GST on Labour Contractors

Below is some information on two potential outcomes for labour contractors.

If the labour contractor is registered with GST: Any labour contract services must include GST if the supply agency or labour contractor is registered for GST. The contractor may also make input tax credits (ITCs) or input tax deductions on such supplies under the relevant labour charge HSN code check.

If the labour provider is not GST registered: If the labour provider or providing agency under a labour contract is not GST registered, the recipient of the services will apply the RCM, or reverse charge mechanism, to apply the GST rate to the labour supply.

GST on labour services provided

Any labour services rendered to a person (whether or not for profit) are subject to GST at 18%, including driving, data entry, and other secretarial labour, security, and housekeeping. It is crucial to remember that some services provided to the federal, state, local, or other government departments would be subject to GST at a rate of 18%.

However, if these personnel services are rendered as part of an activity for a duty assigned to a Panchayat or Municipality by articles 243G or 243W of the Indian Constitution, respectively, no GST is applied. For the City Corporation, Municipalities, or Zilla Parishad’s solid waste management system, for example, drivers and cleaners. Another illustration would be the staff nurses, teachers, watchmen, cooks, and cleaners that the Social Welfare Department employs in the Anganwadis, hostels, and residential schools.

Available exemptions on labour charges

The following services offered under a pure labour contract are exempt from GST under Notification No. 12/2017 from June 28, 2017:

  • Services for a ‘single residential unit’ that are not connected to an apartment building, like building, erecting, commissioning, or installing unique works
  • Under the Housing for All (Urban) Mission or Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, services related to beneficiary-led individual house construction or improvement include building, erecting, commissioning, installing, finishing, fitting out, fixing, maintaining, renovating, or changing a civil structure.

If several units are involved, or the contractor or service provider has a contract to finish the entire project, including labour, the exemption is not applicable.

What is an HSN code?

The term ‘Harmonised System of Nomenclature’, which can alternatively be spelt out whole, is denoted by the acronym ‘HSN’. This method has been used all around the world to methodically categorise a wide range of diverse products. The six-digit HSN code is a globally recognisable universal number used to categorise more than 5,000 different items. The World Customs Organisation (WCO), which was in charge of its formation, gave it a head start in commerce when it was created in 1988.

What is the HSN code’s operation?

There are over 5,000 commodity categories, each with a unique six-digit identifier and arranged logically and legally. It is supported by clear guidelines that allow for uniform categorisation.

HSN code in the GST Portal

One can look up the tax rate related to a specific HSN or SAC code on the GST Portal. The individual does not have to be a registered user of the GST Portal.

GST Portal—How do you find HSN/Services Accounting Code Tax Rates?

To accomplish this, one is advised to take the following actions:

  • Go to the homepage of the GST Portal’s HSN code and sign in using your authorised credentials. Choose Services > User Services > Search HSN/SAC Code from the menu.
  • To get started, tick the box that says ‘Contain HSN Codes’.
  • Pick a tax structure. Second, select the desired tax type from the Tax Type drop-down box.
  • Search for HSN Chapters by Name or Code. Additionally, type the HSN code or the chapter name whose prices interest you in the box labelled ‘Search HSN Chapter by Name or Code’.
  • Check the HSN Code. Additionally, enter the HSN code for the items whose tax rates you want to look up in the ‘Search HSN Code’ box.
  • Select the proper dates. Select the pertinent dates from the calendar in the ‘Effective Period’ category.
  • Choose ‘Search’ from the menu. Once all the information has been entered, choose ‘Search’ to finish.
  • Pick a State. If you select SGST as your tax type, you must also pick the State in which you want to check the tax rate.
  • In terms of SAC codes. Select the SAC checkbox to get started.
  • Pick a tax structure. Second, select the desired tax type from the Tax Type drop-down box.
  • Please enter your SAC or Service Classification Code. Additionally, enter the Service Classification Code (SAC) for the rates you are interested in in the ‘Service by Name or Code section.
  • Be careful to choose the right dates. Select the required dates from the calendar and enter them in the ‘Effective Period’ field on the form.
  • Select ‘Search’ from the menu. Choose ‘Search’ from the drop-down option to finish. The user will then have access to the details after the previously mentioned procedure is finished. You can also perform a GST check online through our portal.

The user will have access to the information once the procedure that came before it is complete.

Structure of the HSN code at the national GST portal

Services accounting code for GST

Similar to how goods are carefully classified for identification, measurement, and taxation, so are services. SACs, or codes for services, are used in accounting.

Why is the HSN so significant in the context of the GST?

HSN codes are intended to make the GST portal,, more streamlined and accessible. HSN codes will make it unnecessary to provide a comprehensive product description. GST returns will be computerised, speeding up and simplifying the filing procedure.


We have demonstrated in this blog that even labour costs are subject to GST taxation. Contractors prefer that service recipients operate under a work contract and provide both labour and materials since this allows them to easily load the price of supplies and raise their profits. On the other hand, owners prefer pure labour agreements since they enable them to provide supplies, improve quality, and keep material costs constant. Owners and contractors must work hard to maintain their finances and comply with GST.

One can also contact Chennai-based to resolve any concerns in this respect. For instance, a dealer or service provider must include an HSN/SAC-by-SAC summary of sales in their GSTR-1 if their turnover falls under the slabs, as mentioned earlier. In these situations, if contacted, Kanakkupillai creates links between you and respectable experts and works with them to complete all of your tax obligations, including GST, HSN, CGST, and other types.

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