Imports in GST

Under the GST regime, Article 269A constitutionally mandates that supply of goods, or of services, or both in the course of import into the territory of India shall be deemed to be supply of goods, or of services, or both in the course of inter-State trade or commerce. So import of goods or services will be treated as deemed inter-State supplies and would be subject to Integrated tax.

GST on import of services would be leviable under the IGST Act, the levy of the IGST on import of goods would be levied under the Customs Act, 1962 read with the Custom Tariff Act, 1975.

The importer of services will have to pay tax on reverse charge basis. However, in respect of import of online information and database access or retrieval services (OIDAR) by unregistered, non-taxable recipients, the supplier located outside India shall be responsible for payment of taxes (IGST). Either the supplier will have to take registration or will have to appoint a person in India for payment of taxes.

Import of Goods:

All imports of goods to India from out side India will be deemed as s inter-State supplies and accordingly Integrated tax shall be levied in addition to the applicable Custom duties. The IGST Act, 2017 provides that the integrated tax on goods imported into India shall be levied and collected in accordance with the provisions of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 on the value as determined under the said Act at the point when duties of customs are levied on the said goods under the Customs Act, 1962. The integrated tax on goods shall be in addition to the applicable Basic Customs Duty (BCD) which is levied as per the Customs Tariff Act. In addition, GST compensation cess, may also be leviable on certain luxury and de-merit goods under the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Cess Act, 2017.

The value of the imported article for the purpose of levying cess shall be assessable value plus Basic Customs Duty levied under the Act, and any sum chargeable on that goods under any law for the time being in force as an addition to, and in the same manner as, a duty of customs. The integrated tax paid shall not be added to the value for the purpose of calculating cess. The calculation of taxes are explained in the following illustration:


The assessable value of an article imported into India is Rs. 100/-. Basic Customs Duty is 10% ad-valorem. Education Cess is 3%; Integrated tax rate is 18% and Compensation Cess is 15%.

The taxes will be calculated as under:

Particulars Duty
(A) Assessable Value Rs. 100/-
(B) Basic Customs Duty@10% Rs.10/-
(C) Education Cess @3% Rs.0.30
(D) Value for Integrated Tax Rs.110.30
Supplier of OIDAR Services 20th of the next month
(E) Integrated Tax @18% Rs.19.85
(F) Value for Compensation Cess Rs.110.30
(G) Compensation Cess @ 15% Rs. 16.55
(H) Total Duty ( B+C +E+G) Rs.46.70

Wherever the goods are also leviable to cess under the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Cess Act, 2017, the same will be collected on the value taken for levying integrated tax. Thus, in the above example, in case, cess is leviable, the same would be levied on Rs. 110.30/-.

In cases where imported goods are liable to Anti-Dumping Duty or Safeguard Duty, value for calculation of IGST as well as Compensation Cess shall also include AntiDumping Duty amount and Safeguard duty amount.

The Customs Act, 1962 provides for removal of goods from a customs station to a warehouse without payment of duty. The said Act has been amended to include ‘warehouse’ in the definition of “customs area” in order to ensure that an importer would not be required to pay the Integrated tax at the time of removal of goods from a customs station to a warehouse.

However, the transaction of sale / transfer etc. of the warehoused goods between the importer and any other person may be at a price higher than the assessable value of such goods. Such a transaction squarely falls within the definition of “supply” and shall be taxable under the IGST Act, 2017. It may be noted that as per sub-section (2) of section 7 of the IGST Act, any supply of imported goods which takes place before they cross the customs frontiers of India, shall be treated as an inter-State supply. Thus, such a transaction of sale/transfer will be subject to IGST under the IGST Act, 2017.

‘High Sea Sales’ is a common trade practice whereby the original importer sells the goods to a third person before the goods are entered for customs clearance. After the High sea sale of the goods, the Customs declarations i.e. Bill of Entry etc. is filed by the person who buys the goods from the original importer during the said sale. IGST on high sea sale (s) transactions of imported goods, whether one or multiple, shall be levied and collected only at the time of importation i.e. when the import declarations are filed before the Customs authorities for the customs clearance purposes for the first time. Further, value addition accruing in each such high sea sale shall form part of the value on which IGST is collected at the time of clearance.

Imports as Baggage:

Passenger Baggage are exempted from IGST as well as compensation cess. The basic customs duty at the rate of 35% and the applicable education cess shall be leviable on the value which is in excess of the duty free allowances provided under the Baggage Rules, 2016.

Import of Services:

Import of Services refers to supply of any service where the supplier is located outside India, the recipient is located in India and the place of supply of service is in India.

As per the provisions contained in Section 7(1) (b) of the CGST Act, 2017, import of services for a consideration whether or not in the course or furtherance of business shall be considered as a supply. Thus, in general, import of services without consideration shall not be considered as supply. However, business test is not required to be fulfilled for import of service to be considered as supply.

Further, in view of the provisions contained in Schedule I of the CGST Act, 2017, the import of services by a taxable person from a related person or from a distinct person as defined in Section 25 of the CGST Act, 2017, in the course or furtherance of business shall be treated as supply even if it is made without any consideration.

In view of the provisions contained in Section 14 of the IGST Act, 2017, import of free services from Google and Facebook by individuals without any consideration are not considered as supply. Import (Downloading) of a song for consideration for personal use would be a service, even though the same are not in the course or furtherance of business. Import of some services by an Indian branch from their parent company, in the course or furtherance of business, even if without consideration will be a supply.

Thus, import of services can be considered as supply based on whether there is consideration or not and whether the service is supplied in the course or furtherance of business. The same has been explained in the table below:

Nature of Service Consideration Business Test
Import of services Necessarily Required Not required
Import of services by a taxable person from a related person or from a distinct person Not required Necessarily Required

Input Tax Credit:

Input tax credit of the integrated tax and the compensation cess, if any, paid at the time of import shall be available to the importer and the same can be utilized by him as Input Tax credit for payment of taxes on his outward supplies. The integrated tax and compensation cess paid at the time of import shall in essence be a pass through to that extent. The input tax credit of compensation cess, however, can only be used for payment of compensation cess. Furthermore, the Basic Customs Duty (BCD) and education cess, shall, not be available as input tax credit.

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