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GST Exempted Goods: List of Exempted Goods Under GST

Updated on: Jun 6th, 2024


13 min read

Understanding the taxability also involves knowing whether the item is exempt or not under GST. Due to the scope of taxable supplies being widened under GST, exemptions under GST have clearly been defined. Not just knowing the exemption list, but also understanding the implication of an item being exempt is important as certain conditions are attached to it like reversing the ITC.

Also, what can be nil-rated today may become charged a higher tax rate in the future. Hence, clearly demarking the various terms such as Nil Rated, Exempt, Zero-rated and Non-GST supplies under GST is important. Read through and get the complete list of all the GST exemptions notified on Goods at a click of a button!.

Also, click here to view the complete list of exempted services under GST.

What is Exempt Supply

Exempt supplies comprise the following three types of supplies:

  • Supplies taxable at a ‘NIL’ rate of tax* (0% tax);
  • Supplies that are wholly or partially exempted from CGST or IGST, by way of a notification amending Section 11 of CGST Act or Section 6 of IGST Act;
  • Non-taxable supplies as defined under Section 2(78) – supplies that are not taxable under the Act (For Example Alcoholic liquor for human consumption.

Tax need not be paid on these supplies. Input tax credit attributable to exempt supplies will not be available for utilization/setoff. 

*Zero-rated supplies such as exports would not be treated as supplies taxable at ‘NIL’ rate of tax;

Central or the State Governments are empowered to grant exemptions from GST. The conditions for granting an exemption are:

  • The exemption should be in the public interest
  • By way of issue of notification
  • Must be recommended by the GST Council
  • Absolute exemption or conditional exemption may be for any goods and/or services of any specified description.
  • Exemption by way of a special order (not notification) may be granted under exceptional circumstances.
  • The registered person supplying the goods and/or services is not entitled to collect tax higher than the effective rate, where the supply enjoys an absolute exemption.

gst exempted goods list

Classification of Exemptions

Supplier may be exempt – Exemption to the person making supplies – .i.e, supplier, regardless of the nature of outward supply.

Ex: Services by Charitable entities.

Certain Supplies may be exempt – Certain supplies due to their nature and type are exempted from GST. All supplies that are notified would be eligible for the exemption. Here, irrespective of who the supplier is, the exemption is allowed. not very much relevant.

Ex: Services by way of sponsorship of sporting events, Services by way of public conveniences.

Types of Exemptions

Absolute exemption: Exemption without any conditions. 

Ex: Transmission or distribution of electricity by an electricity transmission or distribution utility.

Conditional Exemption: Exemption subject to certain conditions. 

Ex: Health care services by a clinical establishment by way of providing room [other than Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/ Critical Care Unit(CCU)/ Intensive Cardiac Care Unit (ICCU)/ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)] having room charges exceeding Rs. 5000 per day.

Conditional or partial exemption: Intra-State supplies of goods and/or services received from an unregistered person by a registered person is exempted from payment of tax under reverse charge provided the aggregate value of such supplies received by a registered person from all or any of the suppliers does not exceed `Rs 5000/- in a day.

Exemption under one GST Law and the effect on another GST Law

Exemption under CGST ActDeemed to be exempt under SGST / UTGST Act
No auto-application of exemption under IGST Act
Exemption under IGST ActNo auto-application of exemption under CGST Act

Important Notifications issued for exemption from payment of GST

Notification No.Particulars
02/2017 Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017Exempted supplies of around 149 items of goods in terms of Section 11(1) of the CGST Act, 2017. Ex. Electricity, Salt, fresh fruits, plastic bangles, passenger baggage etc. Amended vide Notification No.28/2017, 35/2017,42/2017, 7/2018, 19/2018 – Central Tax (Rate)
12/2017 Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017Exemption to supply specified services under the CGST Act. More or less, all the exemptions were available earlier under the erstwhile service tax law Amended vide Notification No.21/2017, 25/2017, 32/2017 and 47/2017, 2/2018 – Central Tax (Rate)

What goods are exempted from GST? (List of exempted goods)

Click here to view the complete list of exempted goods.

Treatment of ITC if supply is exempt

In the case of exempt supplies, the amount of credit attributable to exempt supplies shall be reversed.

How to determine the credit attributable to exempt supplies?

Credit attributable to exempt supplies =  (A/T) x C 

A = Aggregate value of exempt supplies (all supplies other than taxable and zero-rated supplies) 
T = Total turnover of the person in the tax period 
C= Common Credit

Common Credit Total input tax in a period
Less:Tax attributable exclusively for the non-business purpose
Less:Tax attributable exclusively for exempt supplies
Less:Ineligible credits as per Section 17(5) Works contract, Rent a cab etc.
Less:Tax attributable exclusively for taxable supplies (including zero-rated supplies)

What is a non-taxable supply?

“Non-taxable supply” means a supply of goods or services or both which is not leviable to tax under the CGST Act or under the IGST Act. A transaction must be a ‘supply’ as defined under the GST law to qualify as a non-taxable supply under the GST. 

Note: Only those supplies that are excluded from the scope of taxation under GST are covered by this definition – i.e., alcoholic liquor for human consumption, articles listed in section 9(2) or in schedule III.

It must also be noted that the following items are not out of the scope of GST. However, the GST rate has not yet been announced or notified to them.

  • petroleum crude
  • high-speed diesel
  • motor spirit (commonly known as petrol)
  • natural gas and
  • aviation turbine fuel

The negative list under GST

Items that are not covered under GST are called a negative list. Also, these items are notified under Schedule III of the CGST Act. The following items are on the negative list under GST:

  • Services by an employee to the employer in the course/ relation to employment
  • Services of funeral, burial, crematorium or mortuary
  • Sale of land
  • Sale of completed buildings
  • Actionable claims (other than lottery, betting and gambling)
  • Services by any court or Tribunal
  • Functions performed by the MPs, MLAs etc.
  • Duties performed by any person who holds any post in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution in that capacity.

Difference between Exempt, Nil Rated, Zero Rated and Non-GST supplies

Supply NameDescription
Supplies are taxable but do not attract GST and for which ITC cannot be claimed. 

Example:  Fresh milk, Fresh fruits, Curd, Bread etc.
Zero-RatedExports Supplies made to SEZ or SEZ Developers.
Nil RatedSupplies that have a declared rate of 0% GST. 

Example:  Salt, grains, jaggery etc.
Non-GSTThese supplies do not come under the purview of GST law. 

Example: Alcohol for human consumption, Petrol etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has the power to grant exemption from payment of taxes?

Only Government has the power to grant the exemption. On the recommendations of the GST Council, the Government by notification may grant exemption from tax.

From which date does the exemption apply? Date of notification or date of publication of notification?

Exemption notifications will apply from the effective date as specified in the notification.

I am a trader dealing with only exempt supplies. Is it necessary to register under GST, if the turnover exceeds Rs.20 lakh?

There is no requirement for registration under GST if a person is dealing with 100% exempt supplies.

What is the exemption from GST registration?

GST registration is mandatory for every person doing business in India. However, you don’t have to register under GST when you are

  • Agriculturists
  • Having turnover within the GST registration threshold limit
  • Making only nil-rated/exempt supplies of goods and services
  • Making non-taxable/non-GST supplies of goods and services
  • Doing activities that are neither supply of goods nor services
  • Making only supplies covered under the reverse charge mechanism
Is the supply of exempt goods considered taxable or non-taxable supply?

The supply of exempt goods is considered non-taxable. Hence, such supplies do not trigger Registration, claim for input tax credit and other relevant provisions.

Should I issue a tax invoice if I sell only exempted products to a single customer?

A bill of supply should be issued when a registered dealer supplies exempt goods or services. For example, when a registered taxpayer supplies handloom, they have to issue a Bill of Supply instead of a tax invoice.

Whether Petrol is exempt good or non-taxable good?

Petrol is non-taxable good since it is excluded from the levy of tax for the time being.

Is an e-way bill required to be generated in case of movement of exempt supplies?

Not required to be generated. As per provisions of rule 138 (14) of CGST Rules, an e-way bill is not required to be generated when goods specified in notification no. 2/2017-Central Tax (Rate) dated 28.06.2017 other than de-oiled cake, is being transported. And, basically, goods specified in notification no. 2/2017-Central Tax are exempt goods.

Should I report exempt supplies separately in the GSTR-1 Return? If yes, in which tile/table?

Yes. Taxpayers should report consolidated details of nil rated, exempted and non-GST outward supplies in the tile “8A, 8B, 8C, 8D – Nil Rated Supplies”

Should I report exempt supplies separately in the GSTR-3B Return? If yes, in which tile/section?

Yes. Taxpayers should report details of nil rated and exempted outward supplies in Section “3.1 Tax on outward and reverse charge inward supplies” and the details of exempt, nil and Non-GST inward supplies in Section “5. Exempt, nil and Non-GST inward supplies”.

What is tax treatment in the case when a supply becomes chargeable to tax when earlier was exempt?

In this case, the taxpayer will be entitled as follows:

  • On Inputs: Can claim credit of tax paid related to such exempt supply on stock held (inputs, semi-finished goods or finished goods) preceding the day when the supply becomes taxable.
  • On the capital goods exclusively used for exempt supply: The credit of capital goods shall, however, stand reduced by 5 percentage points for every quarter or part thereof from the date of the issue of the invoice for such goods.
What is tax treatment in the case when a supply becomes exempt from tax when earlier was taxable?

Yes. Taxpayers should report co In case of switchover from taxable to exempt transactions, an amount equal to the credit of tax paid on stock held (inputs, semi-finished goods or finished goods) and capital goods (reduced by percentage points) on the day preceding the date of effecting exempt supplies will have to be paid.

In other words, the input tax credit is fully restricted. However, the taxpayer has the option to pay the same by utilization of available credit.

Can a taxpayer claim input tax credit pertaining to capital goods used for both taxable and exempt supply?

No. A taxpayer is not eligible to claim the tax paid on capital goods used for both, taxable and exempt supply

Does exemption from CGST automatically apply as an exemption from SGST?

Yes, notification issued under section 11(1) or 11(2) of the CGST Act will be deemed to be issued under the SGST Act / UTGST Act.

Does exemption from IGST automatically apply as exemption from CGST?

There are no such correlated sections between the two Acts. Hence an exemption from IGST does not automatically apply as an exemption from CGST

For purposes of input tax credit reversal, what are the supplies that are included in exempt supplies?

As per section 17(3) read with explanation (2) in rule 45, ‘Exempt Supplies’ for the purpose of input tax credit means all supplies other than taxable and zero-rated supplies and specifically include the following: 

a. Supplies liable to tax under reverse charge mechanism 
b. Transactions in securities
c. Sale of land 
d. Sale of building

How can I find the GST rate of goods?

You can use ClearTax HSN Code List & GST Rate Finder to get the applicable GST rate.

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Quick Summary

Understanding GST exemptions is crucial towards identifying taxable supplies; exemptions like NIL rated, exempt, Zero-rated, and Non-GST supplies have specific implications. Conditions like ITC reversal need careful attention. One should distinguish between Exempt, Nil Rated, Zero Rated, and Non-GST supplies under GST. Govt grants exemptions based on public interest; absolute or conditional exemptions may be issued. Reversing ITC on exempt supplies, differentiating non-taxable supplies, and dealing with transitions between taxable and exempt status are key aspects to consider.

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