GST Council rationalizes taxation on print at 5 August 2017 meeting

GST Council rationalizes taxation on print at 5 August 2017 meeting

The Government of India’s GST Council met for the 20th time on Saturday 5 August 2017 and revised the rates on thirteen categories including job work services for textiles; services for printing of newspapers and books (including Braille books) where content is from the publisher and the physical inputs for printing are from the printer; works contract services provided by government; commission to fair price dealers by government; admission to planetariums; rent-a-cab services, ground transport agency services; and, tractor parts. The GST for turnkey printing work was also revised.

Significant for the newspaper, magazine and book publishing and printing industry, is the reduction in GST for printing services for publishers from 18% with full Input Tax Credit (ITC) to 5% GST with full ITC where the publisher supplies inputs such as paper. For turnkey printing services in which the printers supplies the paper and other inputs, the GST has been reduced from 18% with full ITC to 12% with full ITC.

In the opinion of at least one commercial printer in Delhi, this seems to be a satisfactory revision of the anomalous rates that were earlier announced. The previously confusing and anomalous rates and were discussed by a delegation of the All India Master Printers Association with the relevant TRU committees of the Ministry of Finance a few days earlier.

The GST to be levied by the Centre is called Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by the States (including Union territories with legislature) would be called State GST (SGST). An Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied on inter-State supply (including stock transfers) of goods or services. This would be collected by the Centre. Import of goods would be treated as inter-State supplies and would be subject to IGST in addition to the applicable customs duties. Exports will be treated as zero-rated supplies which means no tax will be payable on exports of goods or services. However, exporters can claim input tax credit (ITC).

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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