Urgent resolution of GST rate on oxygen concentrators for personal use needed, say tax experts

The government needs to urgently resolve the confusion over the GST rate to be levied on oxygen concentrators imported for personal use, tax experts said on Saturday.

While the import of such concentrators was permitted under the foreign trade policy and the Integrated GST (IGST) levy reduced from 28% to 12%, the Delhi High Court had set aside the relevant notification and said the GST levy on such imports was “unconstitutional”, following a writ petition from a senior citizen whose nephew had gifted him a concentrator.

Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said on Friday that the judgment meant concentrators received as “gifts” from abroad would not be taxed, but those purchased from abroad will now attract a 28% levy. The GST levy on concentrators imported for commercial purposes is 12%.

While a senior lawyer said this may not be the correct interpretation as the Court had only ruled on the issue of “gifts” and not on the entire text of the concerned notification, tax experts differ.

“The notification bringing down the rate from 28% to 12% for personal imports has been quashed and the relief of exemption given by the High Court seems to be only in case of free imports for personal use as gifts,” said Abhishek Jain, partner (indirect taxes) at EY India. “The government must quickly resolve this anomaly created by the Delhi High Court judgment,” he said.

“For individuals, this seems to be the interpretation as the High Court has quashed the notification itself,” said Pratik Jain, partner, Price Waterhouse & Co., LLP. “Hopefully, the Group of Ministers of the GST Council on COVID essentials’ tax rates will look into the issue and provide relief,” he said.

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