Is GST applicable on warehousing of agricultural produce such as tea (i.e. black tea, white tea etc.),processed coffee beans or powder, pulses (de-husked or split), jaggery, processed spices, processed dry fruits, processed cashew nuts etc.?
- 1. As per GST notification No. 11/2017-Central Tax (Rate), S.No. 24 and notification No. 12/2017- Central Tax (Rate), S.No. 54, dated 28th June 2017, the GST rate on loading, unloading packing, storage or warehousing of agricultural produce is Nil.
- 2. Agricultural produce in the notification has been defined to mean “any produce out of cultivation of plants and rearing of all life forms of animals, except the rearing of horses, for food, fibre, fuel, raw material or other similar products, on which either no further processing is done or such processing is done as is usually done by a cultivator or producer which does not alter its essential characteristics but makes it marketable for primary market”
- 3. Tea used for making the beverage, such as black tea, green tea, white tea is a processed product made in tea factories after carrying out several processes, such as drying, rolling, shaping, refining, oxidation, packing etc. on green leaf and is the processed output of the same.
- 4. Thus, green tea leaves and not tea is the “agricultural produce” eligible for exemption available for loading, unloading, packing, storage or warehousing of agricultural produce. Same is the case with coffee obtained after processing of coffee beans.
- 5. Similarly, processing of sugarcane into jaggery changes its essential characteristics. Thus, jaggery is also not an agricultural produce.
- 6. Pulses commonly known as dal are obtained after dehusking or splitting or both. The process of de-husking or splitting is usually not carried out by farmers or at farm level but by the pulse millers. Therefore pulses (dehusked or split) are also not agricultural produce. However whole pulse grains such as whole gram, rajma etc. are covered in the definition of agricultural produce.
- 7. In view of the above, it is hereby clarified that processed products such as tea (i.e. black tea, white tea etc.), processed coffee beans or powder, pulses (de-husked or split), jaggery, processed spices, processed dry fruits, processed cashew nuts etc. fall outside the definition of agricultural produce given in notification No. 11/2017-CT(Rate) and 12/2017-CT(Rate) and corresponding notifications issued under IGST and UGST Acts and therefore the exemption from GST is not available to their loading, packing, warehousing etc. and that any clarification issued in the past to the contrary in the context of Service Tax or VAT/ Sales Tax is no more relevant.