Skip to main content

VAT Rate in India.

Is your business importing goods from abroad, or are you preparing for your travels? Learn how you can make VAT rates work in your favour.
VAT Rates

How much is VAT in India?

The higher VAT rate in India is a goods and services tax (GST) of 28% is 28%. It applies to consumer durables, air conditioning, automobiles, cement, chocolate and accommodation above 7,500 INR. The standard VAT rates are 18% and 12%. The reduced rate is 5%. India also has some zero-rated goods, the sale of which must still be reported on your VAT return, even though no VAT is charged.

The first standard VAT rate (18%) applies to telephone, banking, insurance, restaurants with alcohol license, tickets to cultural events and cinema, TVs, gaming consoles.

The second standard VAT rate (12%) applies to restaurants (non-air conditioned), construction, intellectual property, some foodstuff, mobile phones.

The reduced VAT rate (5%) applies to privately-provided transport, advertising, sugar, tea and coffee, medicine.

Indian zero-rated goods and services include basic foods, postal services, books and newspapers.

How much is VAT in India?

What is a VAT rate?

VAT (value added tax) is a type of consumption tax. The Indian government applies it on the sale of goods and services.

VAT isn’t paid by businesses — instead, it’s charged to consumers in the price of goods, and collected by businesses, making it an indirect tax. Businesses are then responsible for reporting it to the government.

What is a VAT rate?

How to work out VAT in India.

Total price including VAT

To work out the total price at the higher rate of VAT (28%), multiply the original price by 1.28. For the first standard VAT rate (18%), multiply the original price by 1.18. For the second standard VAT rate (12%), multiply the original price by 1.12. For the reduced rate (5%), multiply the original price by 1.05.

Total price excluding VAT

You can calculate the total price excluding the higher VAT rate (28%) by dividing the original price by 1.28. For the first standard VAT rate (18%), divide the original price by 1.18. For the second standard VAT rate (12%), divide the original price by 1.12. For the reduced rate (5%), divide the original price by 1.05.


What are the VAT rates in other countries?

Choose a country to find its VAT rates.

VAT for businesses.

If you’re running a business, there are a few things you should know about VAT.

How does VAT work?

Importing goods from abroad? Find a cheaper alternative.

If you are interested in how to calculate VAT – Calculate your VAT here.

VAT for businesses.

Wise is the cheaper way to send money abroad.

Exporting or importing goods from abroad? With Wise Business, you can get a better deal for paying invoices and buying goods overseas. We’ll always give you the same rate you see on Google, combined with our low, upfront fee — so you’ll never have to worry about getting an unfair exchange rate.

And with the Wise Business Mastercard®, you can spend like a local, wherever you are..

Learn more about Wise Business.

Sign up now for free, and do business without borders.

Wise is the cheaper way to send money abroad.

How does VAT work?

VAT is collected at each point in the production of goods — every time value is added and a sale is made. This is what gives VAT its name — value-added tax. It’s designed to be paid by the consumer at the end. Here’s an example:

  • A supplier sells a badminton racket to a shop for $120. They owe $20 VAT to the government.
  • The shop pays $120 but can claim the $20 back from the government, so the shop doesn’t pay the VAT.
  • The shop sells the racket to the customer for $220. The VAT is $44 which the customer, as the end-user, pays in full to the shop.
  • Together with the reclaimable $20 VAT, the shop will end up paying $24 to the government.
How does VAT work?

Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.

So, you’ve done some shopping abroad, and paid a healthy amount of money for VAT. The good thing is you can often get the amount refunded once you’ve returned home.

For example, European Union residents can get a VAT refund on goods bought in Singapore from a retailer that offers tax-free shopping.

The conditions for a VAT refund are different in every country and should be checked according to your destination — there’s usually a minimum purchase amount, and some exceptions to be considered.

If you’re planning on visiting any of these countries, have a look at their rules for tax-free shopping. And if you’d like to save even more money, don’t miss out on the travel money debit card from Wise, and spend in shops or online at the real exchange rate.

Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.

VAT Refund.

When you’ve visited India, you’ll be able to get a VAT refund on items bought if:

  • You live outside India and are going back home.

There are multiple ways of receiving the refund — either get paid immediately at a refund booth at the airport or send the approved form to a refund company.

VAT Refund.

How to get a VAT refund in 3 simple steps?

Application form

Application form

Get a Tax Refund Application Form from the retailer. You might also be asked to show your passport to check that you’re eligible.

Customs check

Customs check

At customs, present your passport, VAT form(s), VAT invoice(s) and the tax-free goods.

Refund approved

Refund approved

If all the criteria is met, customs will approve your form. You’ll get a signed form that allows you to receive the refund.

FAQ about VAT rate.

Complying with VAT in India means following the Indian Goods and Services Tax law.

This includes preparing the correct invoices, keeping the necessary records of transactions for a number of years and using legitimate foreign currency rates.

As a VAT-registered business in India:

  1. You have to charge VAT on all taxable goods and services you sell.
  2. You must file a VAT return every 3 months, even if you have no VAT to report.
  3. You can reclaim the VAT you paid for goods and services from other VAT-registered businesses.

When reporting your VAT, keep in mind, you must pay VAT even if you didn’t charge it from the customer — the price that you charge has the VAT included.

There are a few goods and services that are exempt from VAT and are not taxable.

VAT-exempt means the goods and services are outside the VAT system — you don’t need to charge any VAT on them nor report them on your VAT return. Even though you don’t pay VAT on zero-rated supplies, they are still taxable and must be reported on your VAT return. You can also reclaim the input VAT that you paid to other businesses when producing your zero-rated goods.

Save on your travels with the multi-currency Wise debit card.

Get your card now