Karnataka Authority for Advance Ruling (KAAR) has maintained that baby wipes will attract 18 per cent Goods & Services Tax (GST).
Though AAR ruling are applicable on applicant and jurisdictional tax officer, it still can be referred in similar matter all over the country. Also, many of circulars and notifications are based in AAR rulings.
“Baby wipes are neither designed to absorb and store fluids nor are shaped to fit human body,” KAAR said while disposing an application by Xtracare Products Private Limited. Further, it said that the said products that cannot be classified under tariff headings 9619 will be taxed at the rate of 18 per cent. The tariff headings indicate what will be the tax rates on the goods/services mentioned with it.
Traiff headings 9619 include sanitary towels (pads) and tampons, napkins and napkin liner for babies and similar article of any material.
According to AAR, many of the articles mentioned here are composed of three layers — one is an inner layer, designed to wick fluid from the wearer’s skin and thereby prevent chafing, an absorbent core for collecting and storing fluid until the product can be disposed and an outer layer to prevent leakage of fluid from the absorbent core.
“The articles of this heading are usually shaped so that they may fit snugly to the human body. It also includes similar traditional articles made up solely of textile materials which are usually re-usable following laundering,” AAR said. The AAR concluded that since baby wipes do not have such qualities, the can not be treated on a par.
Initially, the applicant was charging GST at the rate of 12 per cent. However, post issuance of circular in 2018, it took a cautious view and started collecting GST at the rate of 18 per cent. Still, it felt there exist ambiguity in this regards, accordingly it moved to AAR to seek advance rulings on exact HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) and rate of tax.
AAR held that the said baby wipes merits classification under tariff heading 3307 and thus will attract GST at the rate of 18 per cent.
According to Harpreet Singh, Partner with KPMG, while to an ordinary person, there may not be much difference between baby napkins/ pads and baby wipes, the authorities have gone into the composition of the product, itss key characteristics and end use to determine the classification under GST. “This once again proves that common parlance is just one of the criteria to determine the classification and not the only one,” he said.
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