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GST on printing of Answer Booklets/Answer Copies

Updated on :  

08 min read.

This article discusses the applicability of GST on printing of answer booklets or answer copies and Advance Rulings issued regarding the same. 

Scope of supply

Supply under GST includes all kinds of sale, exchange, transfer, barter, lease, license, rental and barter transactions undertaken during the course of business or furtherance of business for a consideration.

Thus, the activity of printing of answer booklets with or without OMR and supplying it to educational institutions for consideration is “supply of goods” under GST. 

Tax rate and HSN code

4820Supply of all kinds of exercise books, graph books, notebooks and other articles of stationary etc.6%6%

Schemes available for small taxpayers

Small taxpayers can get rid of various GST formalities by opting for a composition scheme under GST. A taxpayer whose turnover is less than Rs.1.5 crore can opt for a composition scheme and thus pay GST at a fixed rate of turnover. But, if the taxpayer avails of the composition scheme then it cannot avail ITC on inputs used for printing of answer booklets such as paper, ink, etc. 

Exemptions and Valuation

Exemptions: The supply of OMR sheets, answer copies are taxable under GST and no exemptions are available. The value of supply is calculated as below:

Value of supply: As a general rule, the value of supply is the money which the buyer pays to the seller for sale of goods or services. 

For example, A Limited prints answer copies with a logo and supplies it to an educational institute. Then, GST is calculated as follows:

Sale value: Rs.1,000

GST: Rs.120 (12% on 1,000)

Total value: Rs.1,120

Advance Rulings

  • Mixed supply or Composite supply

Applicant: Vardhman Infotech

Facts: The applicant was engaged in supplying answer booklets with the logo and name of the educational institute. It filed an application to the Advance Ruling to determine whether the supply should be considered a mixed supply or composite supply.

Advance Ruling: The Advance  Ruling Authority (ARA), Uttar Pradesh, considered Circular No. 11/11/2017- GST dated 20th October 2017, which stated that the supply of books, brochures or any other printed stationery with a logo are considered a composite supply. It stated that the logo belongs to the recipient of supply but the same is made using the physical inputs such as paper belonging to the printer. Further, it stated that printing is the principal supply in the activity of printing of answer booklets with logos. Thus, it would be considered a composite supply and taxed at 12%.  

Principal supply is defined as supply of goods or services which constitutes the dominant element in a composite supply and all other parts of a supply are ancillary.

  • Supply of goods or supply of services

Applicant: Markk Business Private Limited 

Facts: The applicant was engaged in supplying answer booklets with or without OMR to educational institutes to be used during examinations by using its own raw material such as paper, ink etc. It filed an application with the AAR, to decide whether the activity carried out by him should be treated as supply of goods or supply of service.

Advance Ruling: As per ARA Rajasthan, if the activity of printing gives an essential character to the printed product it will be considered as a supply of service. If the usage of a product gives an essential character then it will be considered as a supply of goods. 

In the current case, the ARA observed that the usage of the product gives an essential character and thus the activity of printing of answer books with logos and supplies will fall under Chapter 4820 entry number 123 and will be taxed at 12%.


Is printing of answer sheets with or without OMR taxable or exempt under GST?

It is taxable under GST at 12%.

Where is the activity of printing of answer booklets classified under GST?

Answer copies are blank books often lined and are used during examinations. The usage of the answer sheets is similar to that of a notebook. Thus, they are classified under Heading 4820, entry 123 of Schedule II.