What is HSN Code?

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HSN stands for Harmonized System of Nomenclature and is used to classify goods in a systematic manner. It was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and is considered the global standard when it comes to naming goods.

This 6-digit uniform code can be used to classify more than 5,000 products and is also used for classification for tax purposes.

How HSN Code is used in India?

Since 1971, India has been a member of WCO and was using 6-digit HSN codes to classify goods for Customs and Central Excise since 1986. However, the Customs and Central Excise added 2 more digits later to make HSN codes for better differentiation.

With the introduction of GST in India, HSN is now being used under a 3-tiered system.

This includes the following:

  • Businesses that have a turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore do not need to use HSN
  • Businesses that have a turnover of more than Rs 1.5 crore, but still less than Rs 5 crore, must use 2-digit HSN codes
  • Businesses that have a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore must use 4-digit HSN codes
  • Businesses that deal with imports and exports have to use an 8-digit HSN code

Within the context of GST, HSN codes are used in order to make GST something that is used worldwide. HSN codes, in general, contain 21 sections, within which you can find 99 chapters along with 1,244 headings, and 5,224 subheadings.

Each section number that is used is further divided into chapters, which are then divided into headings and then, subheadings.

The sections and chapters describe the product while the headings and subheadings offer much greater detail about the product itself.

For clarity, let’s look at this HSN – 621390

  • In this case, the first two digits (62) are used to describe apparel or clothing (but not knitted or crocheted clothing).
  • The next two digits (13) refer to handkerchiefs.
  • Finally, (90) refers to the fact that these handkerchiefs are made of other textiles or materials.

So, this code is referring to handkerchiefs that are made from textile materials.

In India, there are two additional steps. If the handkerchiefs were made of man-made textiles, then the total code would be 62139010 wherein the 10 refers to the man-made textiles.

Similarly, if the products were made of silk or silk waste, then the code would be 62139090, wherein the 90 refers to the silk or silk waste.

What about SAC?

SAC stands for Servicing Accounting Code and is used to classify services instead of goods. All services tend to begin with the number 99, which is what identifies the code as a SAC and not an HSN.

For clarity, let’s look at this SAC- 998213. Here, the 99 represents all services in general. 82 classifies this as legal services and 13 classifies it as legal documentation for patents.

Frequently Asked Questions About HSN & SAC Code

HSN Code 3 questions
  • What is HSN code used for?

    HSN codes are used to classify the commodities into various sections, chapters, headings, and sub-headings for convenience.

  • What is the GST E-bill?

    Electronic Way Bill or an E-Way Bill is a bill issued for the movement of goods in India. The bill has to be generated on the E-Way Bill Portal.

    E-way bill is to be generated by the consignor or consignee himself if the transportation is being done in own/hired conveyance or by railways by air or by Vessel.

    If the goods are handed over to a transporter for transportation by road, an E-way bill is to be generated by the Transporter.

    Eway bill must be generated when there is a movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 in value to or from a registered person

    A Registered person or the transporter may choose to generate and carry an e-way bill even if the value of goods is less than Rs 50,000.

  • What is the HSN code in India?

    HSN stands for Harmonized System of Nomenclature and is used to classify goods in a systematic manner.

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