Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the government on Monday exempted imports of COVID-related relief materials, which are used to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections from basic customs duty and health cess for a limited period.
These include COVID-19 vaccines, medical-grade oxygen, oxygen therapy-related equipment, cryogenic transport tanks, antiviral drug Remdesivir and diagnostic kits.
✅Ad hoc Exemption from IGST on imports of specified COVID-19 relief material donated from abroad- Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) May 3, 2021
✅As customs duty is already exempt , these imports will not attract any customs duty or IGST
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The Finance Ministry had also reduced the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on the import of oxygen concentrators for personal use from 28 per cent to 12 per cent amid the shortage of medical-grade oxygen in India. The IGST relief is applicable till June 30, 2021.
It shall thus enable import of the covid relief supply imported free of cost for free distribution without payment of IGST.
(4/4)- Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) May 3, 2021
The Finance Ministry, in a statement, said that it had received several requests from charitable organisations, corporate entities, and other entities seeking IGST exemption on COVID-19 relief material received free of cost from outside the country for free distribution.
The statement added that an ad hoc IGST exemption is granted "on import of such goods received free of cost for free distribution for covid relief". The two-month exemption also includes goods already imported and waiting for customs clearance.
The exemption shall be subject to the following conditions:
- A nodal authority should be appointed by the state government in the state for the purpose of this exemption. As per section 2 (103) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the state includes a union territory with legislature.
- The nodal authority so appointed shall authorise any entity, relief agency or statutory body, for free distribution of such COVID-relief material.
- The said goods can be imported free of cost by a state government or, any entity/ relief agency/ statutory body, authorised in this regard for free distribution anywhere in India.
- The importer shall before clearance of goods from customs produce a certificate from the said nodal authorities that goods are meant for free distribution for COVID relief.
- After imports, the importer shall produce, to the Deputy or Assistant Commissioner of Customs at the port within a period of six months from the date of importation or within such extended period not exceeding nine months, a simple statement containing details of goods imported and distributed free of cost. This statement shall be certified by the said nodal authority of the state government.
The relief includes exemption from basic customs duty and agriculture cess on imported anti-viral drug Remdesivir, raw material and specified inflammatory diagnostic kits and reagents till October 31, 2021.
(With input from agencies)