It may seem amusing but your good old car seat cover is not actually a "part" of the seat but an "accessory", at least, in the eyes of the tax department.
In an assessment, the Andhra Pradesh Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has turned down the plea of an applicant to term the car seat cover as part of the seat and thereby, attracting lower 18 per cent GST. The AAR has said seat cover is actually a car accessory that, like the car itself, would attract higher 28 per cent GST.
The AAR order, coming in the matter of Saddles International Automotive & Aviation Interiors Pvt Ltd, held that car seat covers fell under HSN 8708 of Notification no 01/2017-CT dated June 28, 2017 that attracts 28 per cent GST and not under HSN 9401 that defines part and where the GST was reduced through an amendment to 18 per cent.
In its application, Saddles International had said that the seat covers help to assemble and complete the structure of seats and even though at first glance, seat covers, per se, might not seem to be essential to the completion of seats, but the functions it performs are indispensable for the seats.
Also, the company said that accessory, per se, is something which is complimentary to the main product. But at the same time, it is something which can be used in various equipments or machines or commodities.
However, the car seat covers in question can only be used with seats and nothing else. They are manufactured keeping in mind the requirement of the protection of car seats and are designed in a way so that they can be affixed only with seats. Hence, they cannot be termed as a mere accessory. As a corollary, if the seat covers in question do not qualify as accessory, the same has to be classified as a part, the company had said in its application.
But the AAR said that seat covers cannot be a part of seats, by any means, in the instant case, and are meant for the protection of the seats and the functional value of seat covers is the comfort and convenience it extends to the driver and the passengers. Thus, the seat covers are not essential parts of the seats but accessories that enhance their functional value.
Based on this assessment, the AAR put car seat cover as accessory, thereby attracting higher GST.
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