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GST on Mobile Phones

Updated on:  

08 min read

The rate of GST on mobile phones and accessories were increased to 18% from 12% with effect from 1st April 2020 at the 39th GST Council meeting. This has increased the prices of mobile phones.

How did the price of mobile phones change due to GST?

Before GST, excise and VAT were charged on mobile phones. The VAT rates varied from state to state, so it was difficult to set a uniform price for the mobile phone. Under GST, the tax rate is the same across the country, and thus a uniform price can be set for a mobile phone. At present, the GST rate on mobile phones is 18%.

Let’s check out the prices before levying GST on mobile phones as compared to the levy under GST regime:

ParticularsPre- GSTPost- GST
Cost of manufacturing (a)8,0008,000
Excise duty @1% (b)80
Base value for VAT calculation (c)8,0808,000
VAT @14%/GST @ 18% (d)1,1311,440
Sale price quoted by manufacturer to retailer(e)= (a)+(b)+(c)+(d)9,2119,440
Value addition/packing charges (f)500500
Total value (g)= (c)+(f)8,5808,500
VAT @ 14%/GST @18% on above value (h)70(1,201-1,131)90(1,530-1,440)
Total price8,6508,590

The implementation of GST has decreased the price of the mobile phone in the above case, due to the elimination of the tax-on-tax effect.

Applicability of GST on mobile phones

GST has served as a major transformation tool for the Indian economy by bringing all the goods and services under a single taxation system. GST is applicable on all mobile phones whether it is a smartphone or a feature phone, without exemption.

For example: If Mr X purchases a mobile phone from a dealer located in the same state/Union Territory, he will have to pay CGST at 9% and SGST at 9%. If he purchases a mobile phone from a different state/Union Territory, he will have to pay IGST at 18%, e.g. an e-commerce vendor.

Nature of composite supply: Under GST, composite supply is a supply comprising two or more goods/services which are naturally bundled and supplied with each other in the ordinary course of business. Such items cannot be supplied separately. One of which is a principal supply, and its GST rate is considered while raising the invoice. In this case, the mobile phones are usually supplied along with the charger and USB cable, which is essential for using the handset. So, the GST rate that applies to the mobile phone will also apply to the charger and USB cable.

However, in a few brands, the earphones are also sold along with the phone, which is not naturally bundled and is classified as mixed supplies.

What is the value of supply to compute GST on mobile phones?

  1. Value of supply: Under GST, the value of supply is the money that the seller collects from the buyer to sell goods or services. In the case of related parties, GST is charged on transaction value. Transaction value is the value at which unrelated parties would transact in the normal course of business.
  2. Exchange offers: Dealers of smartphones often come up with exchange offers whereby the customers can get new handsets in exchange for old ones, and they just need to pay the differential sum. This reduced sum was not taxable under the VAT regime. But, under GST, barter is included in the definition of supply, and thus even the reduced price is taxable.
    For example: Where a new phone is sold for Rs.20,000 in exchange for an old phone. The price of the new phone without exchange is Rs.25,000. In this case, GST will be charged on Rs.25,000.
  3. Exclusion of discounts: Trade discounts, quantity discounts are a part of normal trade and commerce. Thus, discounts recorded on the invoice are excluded while determining the taxable value. Discounts are excluded from determining taxable value if the below two conditions are met:
    • Discounts are reflected in relevant invoices.
    • ITC should be reversed on the discount received as per credit note.

What is the GST rate on mobile phones?

Under the pre-GST regime, a smartphone’s price wasn’t fixed as taxes varied from state to state. But under GST, a uniform rate of 18% is charged across the county. The related HSN code is 8517.

GST rate on mobile phones and accessories is covered under HSN chapter 85. Let’s check out the rates of GST on mobile phones and accessories, given below as follows:

Product nameHSN codeGST rate
Mobile phones851718%
Lithium-ion batteries8507 60 0018%
Power bank850718%
Memory card852318%
Speakers, headphones, earphones851818%
Plastic screen protector391918%
Tempered glass screen protector700718%
Parts for the manufacture of Telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks8512%

GST on import of mobile phones

Earlier, the mobile phones were exempted from 10% social welfare surcharge. But the Union Budget 2020 has re-imposed social welfare surcharge on imported mobile handsets over and above existing 20% basic customs duty, making them costlier than the locally made ones.

Value of goods for calculating IGST = assessable value of goods + basic customs duty + any other duty chargeable on goods under any law for the time being in force. This has increased the price of importing mobile phones in India.

How does GST impact mobile phone prices, benefits and unresolved issues?

The introduction of GST has brought uniformity in product prices all over the country. Under the VAT regime, mobile phones were taxed at 5% along with 1% excise duty. In some states like Gujarat, the tax rate was as high as 14%. Thus, anyone would purchase from selected dealers where the price was low.

But, under GST, 18% tax is charged all over the country. However, higher tax rates under GST has made the price of mobile phones a bit expensive yet with a benefit of removing cascading effect on taxes.

Benefits to the dealers of smartphones

(A) Increase in sales: In today’s’ generation, mobile phones have become a necessity. The sales of mobile phones are increasing day by day for the mobile phone dealers having GST registration.

(B) Increase in competition: The prices have become uniform due to standard tax rates across the nation. This promotes healthy competition among dealers of mobile phones.

(C) No more online benefits: Under the VAT regime, e-commerce players bought mobile phones from states with lower tax rates and sold in states where VAT was higher. Online prices are still lower than retail store prices. But, the gap has reduced.

The implementation of GST has made the taxation system simple and hassle-free.

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