Economy

‘Fried/unfried fryums not papad, will attract 18% GST’

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on January 18, 2021

Fried or unfried Fryums will attract Goods & Services Tax (GST) at the rate of 18 per cent, Gujarat’s Authority for Advanced Ruling (AAR) held while disposing three applications.

Applicants Piyush Jayantilal Dobaria and Swaminarayan Food (both Rajkot-based) and Surat-based JK Food Industries had approached the AAR with similar issues.

Dobaria sought ruling on the GST rate for papad of different shapes and sizes manufactured/ supplied by him. Swaminaryan Food’s question was: “Whether any tax is payable in respect of sale of fryums manufactured by the applicant? And if the answer is in the affirmative, the rate of tax thereof?”

The third applicant, JK Food, had two questions – one on tariff heading for papad of different shapes and sizes and the second on the rates.

Innovations

All three applicants argued that fryums are papad and since “papad is tax free/exempt as per tariff item 19059040, Fryums manufactured and sold by the applicant would also be exempt from payment of tax”. It was submitted that papad is made when the dough is moulded and given the shape, usually a palm size round or may be smaller or bigger.

However, considering the demands of different consumers, innovations are made to shapes and sizes also.

It does not require any extra effort to do the same – change the shape and size of a papad. The dough remains the same with minor variations in the proportion of ingredients and it is moulded in the desired shape and size.

The shape and size may vary, but the ingredients, the proportion of ingredients, the composition, and the recipe remain similar, if not exactly the same. These are not ready-to-eat and remain in an uncooked/semi-cooked form till they reach the actual consumer.

After going through all the arguments and submissions, AAR said ‘unfried fryums’ cannot be called ‘papad’.

Accordingly, it held that unfried fryums is covered by “food preparations not elsewhere specified or included (other than roasted gram, sweetmeats, batters, including idli/dosa batter, namkeens, bhujia, mixture, chabena and similar edible preparations in ready-for-consumption form, khakhra, chutney powder, diabetic foods)” falling under heading 2106 with GST at the rate 18 per cent.

Common parlance test

According to Harpreet Singh, Partner (Indirect Taxes) at KPMG, the ruling once again establishes that the common parlance test is the terra firma for determining classification issues under GST.

“While ruling such as these, whenever in doubt, the propensity of dealers looking at the common parlance of the product in question (among other parameters) is likely to increase,” he said.

Published on January 18, 2021

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