Parottas, Rotis, GST And Twitter Memes
Ready-to-eat parottas, unlike rotis, need to be further processed for human consumption and hence are liable for 18 per cent GST, the AAR has said.
Bengaluru-based ID Fresh Foods had approached the Karnataka bench of the Authority of Advance Ruling on whether preparation of whole wheat parotta and Malabar parotta can be classified under Chapter 1905 attracting 5% GST.
The applicant is a food products company involved in preparation and supply of ready-to-cook items like idli and dosa batter, parota and chapati, among others.
The AAR in its ruling observed that parotta does not have any specific entry in Customs Tariff Act or GST tariff.
It said 5% GST is applicable on products subject to fulfillment of conditions that they are classified under heading 1905 or 2106, and they must be either khakhra, plain chapatti or roti.
While ‘parotta’ falls under heading 2106, it is neither khakhra, plain chapatti or roti.
Further, the products khakhra, plain chapatti and roti are completely cooked preparations, do not require any processing for human consumption and hence are ready to eat food preparations, whereas the impugned product (whole wheat parottas and Malabar parottas) are not only different from the said khakhras, plain chapatti or roti but also are not like products in common parlance as well as in the respect of essential nature of the product.
These products also require further processing for human consumption, the AAR said.
AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said tax arbitrage to the tune of 13% (18% minus 5%) has given rise to a classification dispute between a ‘roti’ and ‘parotta’', without appreciating the ground reality that these terms are used interchangeably in common Indian language.
“This classification dispute would give shockwaves to the entire supply chain engaged in 'ready to eat foods', and such businesses are looking at high tax risk in relation to the tax positions taken since July 2017,” Mohan added.
The tax ruling became a talking point on social media platforms such as Twitter, prompting a flood of memes and jokes as well as allegations of regional bias as well!