What Is HSN Code?

Wondering what is the HSN full form in GST? The HSN code stands for Harmonized System Nomenclature. It’s a globally used 6-digit code that provides a standardized system of names and numbers to classify traded products. Think of it as a universal product ID for international trade.

This code simplifies the taxation process within the goods and services tax framework by categorising goods under a single umbrella.

HSN Code in India

In India, the HSN Code comprises 8-digit codes (6 digits globally). It is a vital classification system for goods implemented under the GST regime, streamlining taxation and facilitating international trade by providing a uniform code for products. They are crucial for businesses and international trade.

HSN Code Example and Format 

Globally, the HSN code is a 6-digit code. However, in India, this system extends to 8 digits. It allows for more specific categorisation. The first two digits denote the chapter, the next two the heading, the following two the sub-heading, and the final two represent the specific tariff item. 


A common product like ‘Sugar Cubes’ falls under the HSN code 17019990. Here, 17 is the chapter for sugars and sugar confectionery: 01 indicates the heading for cane or beet sugar, 99 specifies the sub-heading for refined sugar, and 90 denotes the tariff item for other forms not elsewhere specified or included. 

What is the Importance of the HSN Code?

1. Systematic Classification

This system provides classification for more than 5,000 commodity groups. Each group is systematically organised with a legal and logical structure complemented by clearly outlined rules to ensure consistent categorisation.

2. Cross-Border Trade Facilitation

These codes are integral to international trade. They provide a common language for goods and facilitate cross-border transactions. The uniformity of these codes enhances the efficiency of trade processes, customs, and tariff negotiations. Over 200 countries use them as a basis for their customs tariffs.

3. Accurate Tax Calculation

To calculate GST, the HSN code’s precise product identification ensures accurate tax calculation, minimising the risk of errors and discrepancies in tax assessments.

4. Compliance Requirement

For businesses working under the GST regime in India, including HSN codes with GST rates on invoices is a regulatory mandate. This promotes proper reporting and compliance with tax laws.

5. Efficient Data Management

HSN codes serve as an effective tool for data management. They streamline the documentation and reporting process, thereby simplifying the management and organisation of product-related data for businesses.

6. Inventory Management

HSN codes also play a crucial role in inventory management. Businesses leverage these codes to categorise and systematically track their products, which helps them avoid overstocking.

7. Reduced Ambiguity

The standardisation of HSN codes and GST rates minimises ambiguity in product classification. This clarity benefits both businesses and tax authorities by providing a clear understanding of the nature of goods or services being traded, thus simplifying the process of taxation and compliance.

Related Read: How to Register for GST Online: A Guide to GST Registration Process

Understand GST HSN Code: HSN Code List for GST 

The HSN code is a global standardised system of names and numbers for traded product classification. It has around 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by an 8-digit code. 

Understanding the list of HSN code in GST is crucial from a business point of view. The GST HSN code list is structured into 21 sections, 99 chapters, 1,244 headings, and 5,224 subheadings. Each section and chapter categorises a broad array of goods, further specified in the headings and subheadings. 

For instance, the HSN code for handkerchiefs made of textile materials is 62.13.90, where:

  • The first two digits (62) mean the chapter number for apparel and clothing accessories articles.
  • The following two digits (13) denote the heading number for handkerchiefs.
  • The last two digits (90) specify the product code for handkerchiefs made of other textile materials.

In India, two digits are added for a more detailed classification, making it an 8-digit code. If the handkerchiefs are made from a manmade fibre, the HSN code would be 

Each commodity is also associated with a specific GST rate (%), determined based on its classification under the HSN code (HSN code with GST rate). For example, the GST rate for handkerchiefs made with manmade fibre is 12%.

The HSN system operates on clear guidelines that help standardise how goods are categorised worldwide. This system is structured to classify every item consistently and rationally, which helps streamline international trading activities.

Who Should Use the GST HSN Code?

Under the GST regime, most dealers are required to adopt a two, four, or eight-digit HSN Code for trading in commodities, depending on the previous year’s turnover.

  • Dealers having a turnover of less than 1.5 crore rupees in their previous year need not adopt the HSN code for their commodities.
  • Dealers with turnover ranging from 1.5 crores to 5 crore rupees are required to use a two-digit HSN Code for their commodities.
  • Dealers having turnover of more than 5 crore rupees shall be required to adopt a four-digit HSN Code
  • For imports or exports, it is mandatory to have an eight-digit HSN Code, irrespective of the turnover as the GST HSN Code must be compatible with applicable international practices and standards.

Related Read: GST State Code List and Jurisdictions in 2024

HSN Code List with GST Rates: Chapter-Wise Distribution of Commodities.

Chapter Commodities GST Rates HSN
Section I. Animals and Animal Products 11
Chapter 1 Animals
Chapter 2 Edible offal and meat 0%, 5% 1
Chapter 3 Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and other aquatic invertebrates 5% 1
Chapter 4 Dairy produce, honey, birds’ eggs, and other edible products of animal origin that are not mentioned elsewhere 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 5 Other animal-origin products that are not mentioned elsewhere 5% 2
Section II. Vegetables and Vegetable Products
Chapter 6 Live trees and plants, roots, bulbs, etc., ornamental foliage and cut flowers  Nil 2
Chapter 7 Edible vegetables, certain roots and tubers 0%, 5% 1
Chapter 8 Edible fruit and nuts, the peel of citrus fruits or melons 0%, 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 9 Tea, coffee, mate and spices 0%, 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 10 Cereals 5%, 18% 5
Chapter 11 Milling products, malt, wheat gluten, starches, and inulin 0%, 5% 1
Chapter 12 Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, grains, straw and fodder, seeds and fruit, and industrial or medicinal plants 5% 1
Chapter 13 Lac, gum, resin, and other saps and extracts 5% 1
Chapter 14 Vegetable plaiting materials, and vegetable products that are not specified elsewhere 5% 1
Section III. Animal or Vegetable Oils, Their Cleavage Products, Waxes, and Prepared Edible Fats
Chapter 15 Animal or vegetable oils, their cleavage products, waxes, and prepared edible fats 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Section IV. Prepared Food, Beverages, Spirits, Tobacco and Tobacco Substitutes
Chapter 16 Preparation of meat, fish or crustaceans, molluscs, or any other aquatic invertebrates 12% 1
Chapter 17 Sugar and sugar confectionery 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 18 Cocoa and cocoa preparations 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 19 Preparations of cereals, starch, flour, milk, and pastry products 0%, 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 20 Preparation of vegetables, fruits, nuts, or plant parts 12% 1
Chapter 21 Miscellaneous edible preparations 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 22 Beverages, vinegar, and spirits 0%, 12%, 18%, 28% 1
Chapter 23 Residue and food waste, prepared animal fodder 5% 1
Chapter 24 Tobacco and tobacco substitutes that are manufactured 18%, 28% 1
Section V. Minerals
Chapter 25 Salt, earths and stones, sulphur, plastering material, lime, and cement 5%, 28% 1
Chapter 26 Ores, slag, and ash 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 27 Mineral fuel, mineral oils and products of their distillation, mineral waxes, and bituminous substances 5%, 18% 1
Section VI. Chemical Products or of Allied Industries
Chapter 28 Inorganic chemicals, organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, rare-earth metals, radioactive elements, or isotopes 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 29 Organic chemicals 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 30 Pharmaceutical products 5%, 12% 2
Chapter 31 Fertilisers 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 32 Tanning or dyeing extracts, tannins and their derivatives, dyes, pigments, and other colouring matter, varnishes and paints, inks, putty and other mastics 18% 1
Chapter 33 Essential oils and resinoids, cosmetic or toilet preparations, perfumery 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 34 Soap, washing preparations, organic surface-active agents, lubricating preparations, prepared waxes, artificial waxes, polishing or scouring preparations, candles and similar items, modelling pastes, dental preparations and dental waxes with a basis of plaster 18% 1
Chapter 35 Albuminoidal substances, glues, enzymes, and modified starches 18% 1
Chapter 36 Explosives, pyrotechnic products, pyrophoric alloys, certain combustible preparations, and matches 18% 1
Chapter 37 Photographic or cinematographic goods 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 38 Miscellaneous chemical products 12%, 18%
Section VII. Plastics, Rubber, and Articles Thereof
Chapter 39 Plastics and plastic articles 12%, 18% 2
Chapter 40 Rubber and rubber articles 5%, 18% 1
Section VIII. Raw Hides and Skins, Furskins and Articles Thereof, Leather, and Related Goods
Chapter 41 Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 42 Articles made of leather, travel goods, handbags and similar containers, saddlery and harnesses, articles made of animal gut (other than silkworm gut) 0%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 43 Furskins and artificial fur and articles thereof 18% 1
Section IX. Wood and Wooden Articles, Wood Charcoal, Cork and Articles of Cork, Basket Ware and Wickerwork, Manufacturers of Straw, Esparto or Other Plaiting Material
Chapter 44 Wood and wooden articles, wood charcoal 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 45 Cork and articles of cork 5%, 12%, 18% 2
Chapter 46 Manufactures of straw, esparto or other plaiting materials, basket ware and wickerwork 5% 1
Section X. Pulp of Wood or Other Fibrous Cellulosic Material, Recovered Paper or Paperboard (Waste and Scrap), Paper and Paperboard and Articles Thereof
Chapter 47 Pulp of wood or other fibrous cellulosic material, recovered paper or paperboard (waste and scrap) 5%, 12%, 18% 3
Chapter 48 Paper and paperboard, articles made of paper pulp, or articles made of paper or paperboard. 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 49 Printed books, pictures, newspapers, and other products of the printing industry, typescripts, manuscripts, and plans 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Section XI. Textile and Textile Articles
Chapter 50 Silk 5%, 12%, 18% 8
Chapter 51 Wool, fine or coarse animal hair, horse hair yarn and other woven fabrics 5% 1
Chapter 52 Cotton 5% 1
Chapter 53 Other vegetable textile fibres, paper yarn and woven fabrics made of paper yarn 0%, 5% 1
Chapter 54 Man-made filaments 5%, 12% 4
Chapter 55 Man-made staple fibres 5%, 12% 2
Chapter 56 Wadding, felt and nonwovens, twine, cordage, special yarns, ropes, and cables and articles thereof 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 57 Carpets and textile floor coverings 12% 1
Chapter 58 Special woven fabrics, lace tapestries, tufted textile fabrics, trimmings, and embroidery 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 59 Impregnated, covered, coated, or laminated textile fabrics, textile articles made for industrial use. 12% 1
Chapter 60 Knitted or crocheted fabrics 5% 3
Chapter 61 Articles of apparel and clothing accessories that are knitted or crocheted 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 62 Articles of apparel and clothing accessories that are not knitted or crocheted 12% 1
Chapter 63 Other made up textile articles, sets, worn clothing and textile articles, and rags 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Section XII. Footwear, Headgear, Umbrellas, Walking Sticks and Seat Sticks, Whips, Riding Crops and Parts Thereof, Artificial Flowers, Articles of Human Hair, Prepared Feathers and Articles Made Thereof
Chapter 64 Footwear, gaiters, etc., and the parts of such articles 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 65 Headgear and parts thereof 0%, 5%, 18% 1
Chapter 66 Umbrellas and sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seat sticks, riding crops and parts thereof, and whips 5%, 12%, 18% 4
Chapter 67 Prepared feathers and down and articles made thereof, artificial flowers, and articles made of human hair 12%, 18% 1
Section XIII. Articles Made of Stone, Plaster, Asbestos, Cement, Mica, or Other Similar Materials, Glass and Glassware, Ceramic Products
Chapter 68 Articles made of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials 18% 1
Chapter 69 Ceramic products 0%, 12%, 18% 2
Chapter 70 Glass and glassware 18% 1
Section XIV. Natural or Cultured Pearls, Precious Metals Clad With Precious Metal and Articles Thereof, Precious or Semi-Precious Stones, Coins, Imitation Jewellery
Chapter 71 Natural or cultured pearls, precious metals, metals that are clad with precious metal and articles thereof, precious or semi-precious stones, imitation jewellery, coins 0%, 3% 1
Section XV. Base Metal and Articles Made of Base Metal
Chapter 72 Iron and steel 18% 1
Chapter 73 Articles made of iron or steel 18% 1
Chapter 74 Copper and articles thereof 0%, 18% 1
Chapter 75 Nickel and articles thereof 18% 1
Chapter 76 Aluminium and articles thereof 12%, 18%, 28% 1
Chapter 77 (Reserved for possible future use) 12%, 18%, 28% 6
Chapter 78 Lead and articles thereof 0%, 18% 1
Chapter 79 Zinc and articles thereof 0%, 18% 1
Chapter 80 Tin and articles thereof 0%, 18% 1
Chapter 81 Other base metals, cermets, and articles thereof 18% 1
Chapter 82 Tools, implements, spoons and forks, cutlery, of base metal, and parts thereof 18% 1
Chapter 83 Miscellaneous articles made of base metal 18% 1
Section XVI. Machinery and Mechanical Appliances, Electrical Equipment and Parts Thereof, Sound Reproducers and Recorders, Television Image and Sound Reproducers and Recorders, and Parts and Accessories of Such Articles
Chapter 84 Nuclear reactors, machinery and mechanical appliances, boilers, and parts thereof 0%, 12%, 18%, 28% 1
Chapter 85 Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof, sound reproducers and recorders, television image and sound reproducers and recorders, and parts and accessories of such articles 18%, 28% 1
Section XVII. Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels, and Associated Transport Equipment
Chapter 86 Tramway or railway locomotives, tramway or railway track fixtures and fittings and parts thereof, rolling stock and parts thereof, mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds 18% 1
Chapter 87 Vehicles other than tramway or railway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof 18%, 28% 1
Chapter 88 Aircraft, spacecrafts, and parts thereof 5%, 18%, 28% 1
Chapter 89 Ships, boats and floating structures 0%, 5%, 28% 1
Section XVIII. Optical, Photographic, Cinematographic, Checking, Measuring, Precision, Medical or Surgical Instruments and Apparatus, Musical Instruments, Clocks and Watches, Parts and Accessories Thereof
Chapter 90 Optical, photographic, cinematographic, checking, measuring, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus, parts and accessories thereof 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 91 Clocks and watches and parts thereof 18% 1
Chapter 92 Musical instruments, and parts and accessories of such articles 0%, 18% 1
Section XIX. Arms and Ammunition, Parts and Accessories Thereof
Chapter 93 Arms and ammunition, parts and accessories thereof 18% 1
Section XX. Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles
Chapter 94 Furniture, mattresses, mattress supports, bedding, cushions and similar stuffed furnishing, lamps and lighting fittings, which are not elsewhere specified or included, illuminated signs and name-plates and the like, prefabricated buildings 18% 1
Chapter 95 Toys, games and sports requisites, parts and accessories thereof 0%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 96 Miscellaneous manufactured articles 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% 1
Section XXI. Works of Art, Collectors’ Pieces and Antiques
Chapter 97 Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques 5%, 12% 1
Chapter 98 Project imports, laboratory chemicals, personal imports by air or post, passenger’s baggage, ship stores 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% 1
Chapter 99 Services

How Can Businesses Implement HSN Codes in their Process?

1. Product Categorisation

Analyse your product or service offerings and categorise them based on their characteristics and nature. 

2. Understand HSN Code Structure

Familiarise yourself with the structure of the HSN code list in GST and its components to accurately assign codes to your products. 

3. Training and Awareness

Train relevant department and staff members on the importance of HSN codes, their role in GST compliance, and how to assign them to products. This will ensure that everyone agrees on HSN code usage.

4. Integration with ERP Systems

Integrate GST HSN code into your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to ensure seamless implementation and automated coding. This reduces the chances of human error and increases efficiency.

5. Regular Updates

Stay informed about GST rates 2024 and changes or updates to HSN codes, for updating your systems and processes accordingly. 

6. Incorporate HSN Codes in Invoices

Ensure that GST HSN code rates are included on invoices for all goods and services supplied, as this is a mandatory requirement for GST compliance.

7. Cross-Functional Collaboration

Collaborate with departments such as finance, sales, and IT to ensure a coordinated effort in implementing HSN codes.

8. Review and Audit

Conduct regular reviews and audits of the implementation of your HSN code for GST to identify any discrepancies or areas for improvement.

9. Documentation and Record-keeping

Maintain accurate records of HSN codes assigned to products and services for future reference and audit purposes.

10. Engage with Suppliers and Vendors

Implement effective communication strategies with suppliers and vendors to maintain consistency in HSN code application across the supply chain.

11. Compliance Checks

Regularly check that your HSN code implementation aligns with the latest GST regulations and compliance requirements.

12. Seek Professional Advice

Consult with tax professionals or experts to address any specific challenges or questions related to HSN code implementation.

Read More: Understand the difference between HSN and SAC Code


The decision to move to the online taxation system and implement the HSN code under GST for the classification of goods liable for taxation has brought about a complete reform in the country’s taxation system. However, the government is trying to make the transition process even more transparent. For this, many goods are being shifted from one slab to another depending on their usage and the trade. Though it may require some preparation work for professionals to effect such a transition, there are various automated GST compliance solutions to support the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the GST rate for HSN code? 

GST rates for HSN codes vary based on the product or service, ranging from 0% to 28%.

2. How to add the HSN code in the GST portal? 

To add an HSN code in the GST portal, log in, navigate to ‘Services’ > ‘Registration’ > ‘Amendment of Registration Non-core fields’, and enter the HSN/SAC codes.

3. Is the HSN code 6-digit or 8-digit? 

HSN codes are typically 6 digits globally, but in India, they are extended to 8 digits for more precise classification.

4. Is the HSN Code required during GST return filing?

HSN codes are required during GST return filing for businesses with turnover above specified thresholds.

5. Is it mandatory to use the HSN code for every business transaction? 

Using HSN codes is mandatory for businesses with a turnover exceeding ₹5 crore and for all B2B transactions.

6. How can I find the correct HSN code for my product or service? 

To find the correct HSN code, use the GST portal’s search feature or refer to the HSN chapter list for detailed classification.

7. Are there any penalties for using the wrong HSN code in my business transactions?

Penalties for incorrect HSN codes can be up to ₹50,000 (₹25,000 for CGST and SGST each).

8. Is the HSN code list the same for all countries, or does it vary internationally? 

The HSN code list is harmonised internationally but may have slight variations in some countries based on the nature of goods.

9. How often is the HSN code list updated, and how can I access the latest version? 

The HSN code list is updated periodically; access the latest version through the GST portal or the World Customs Organisation.

10. What is the Purpose of adopting the GST HSN Code in India?

The GST HSN Code in India aims for uniformity in taxing merchandise, aligning with other countries following the HSN system. This standardisation simplifies GST taxation and reduces international trade costs.


Harshitha is a marketer at the future-forward RazorpayX. She has an insatiable love for travel and culture, rock music, and the work of Neil Gaiman.

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