Special GST Registration Rules for Special Category States

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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been a transformative taxation strategy in India, unifying a complex web of indirect taxes into a single, simplified regime. 

However, the diversity of India’s economic landscape directs flexibility within this harmonious framework. To address this, certain extraordinary provisions have been put in place for certain states, known as “Special Category States.” They possess specific characteristics and face distinctive economic challenges, encouraging the invention of special GST registration rules for special category states.

Special Category States account for over 30% of India’s total land area

In this blog, we’ll discuss the GST registration process for Special Category States. We will delve into the specifics, requirements, and thresholds that businesses in these states must steer to ensure abidance with the GST regime.

Whether you’re a business owner operating in one of these states or simply curious about the nuances of GST in India, this guide will shed light on the complications of the GST registration process for Special Category States. 

Let’s explore the ordinances and exemptions that make these states stand out in the vast landscape of Indian taxation.

What is the Special Category Status in GST?

The Special Category Status (SCS) in the context of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India refers to certain states and union territories that have been approved of specific liberties and exemptions under the GST framework due to their unique economic and geographical facets. 

These states commonly face distinctive challenges, and therefore, they acquire particular treatment in terms of GST ordinances. The GST registration requirements for special category states also differ from those of the other states. 

Key features of the Special Category Status in GST include:

  1. Lower GST Rates: Some goods and services in Special Category States (SCS) may be subject to lower GST rates or exemptions to promote economic development and growth.
  2. Higher Threshold Limits: GST registration threshold for special category states may have higher GST turnover threshold limits, permitting smaller corporations to be exempt from GST registration, which is developed to ease the obedience burden on smaller enterprises.


Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland 10 Lakhs 10 Lakhs
Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Puducherry, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand  20 Lakhs 20 Lakhs
Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and all other states 40 Lakhs 20 Lakhs
  1. Equilibrium Mechanism: In the initial years of GST enactment, certain SCS were pledged compensation to offset revenue failures due to the metamorphosis of the new tax regime.
  2. Effortless Compliance: Special provisions and simplified compliance procedures may be in place to accommodate the unique conditions of these states.

The bars for categorizing a state as a Special Category State can vary, but it often retains factors like hilly or mountainous geography, low inhabitants density, and monetary backwardness. The particular treatment strives to address the economic discrepancies between different states in India and support the evolution of these regions.

Benefits of GST Registration for Businesses in Special Category States

Businesses operating in Special Category States (SCS) in India can reap several benefits from GST registration. Here are some of the advantages of registering for GST in special category states :

  1. Lawfulness and Compliance: GST registration ensures that a business is operating within the legal framework. This legitimacy can be particularly valuable for businesses seeking government contracts or funding.
  2. Input Tax Credit (ITC): Registered firms can claim input tax credit on the GST they disburse on purchases. This reduces the overall tax liability, making their products or services additionally competitive.
  3. Access to Wider Markets: GST is a nationwide tax system that simplifies the activity of goods across state borders. This means that businesses in SCS can efficiently boost their market reach beyond their state’s perimeters.
  4. Simplified Tax Structure: GST supersedes a throng of indirect taxes, streamlining the taxation process for businesses. This simplicity can lead to cost savings in terms of compliance and administration.
  5. Boost in Business Image: Being GST-registered can improve a business’s credibility and prominence, making it more attractive to customers, suppliers, and financial organizations.
  6. Lowered Cascading Impact: GST eliminates the cascading impact of taxes by letting businesses offset the tax they pay on inputs against the tax they collect on outputs. This directs to more efficient and cost-effective operations.
  7. Government Incentives: In certain cases, government incentives, subsidies, or relief packages are offered to GST-registered businesses in SCS to encourage their growth and development.
  8. Compliance with E-commerce Platforms: E-commerce platforms often require sellers to be GST-registered, allowing businesses in SCS to access a broader customer base.
  9. International Trade: For businesses involved in multinational trade, GST registration is often a prerequisite for claiming GST refunds on exported goods and complying with international tax regulations.
  10. Access to Government Tenders: Many government tenders and contracts may require bidders to have GST registration, enabling businesses in SCS to participate in government projects.

Businesses in Special Category States should keep themselves updated with the latest regulations and consult with tax professionals to make the most of their GST registration.

Special Registration Rules for Special Category States

Special Category States (SCS) in India have unique registration rules under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to accommodate their specific economic and geographical characteristics. Here are some of the special registration rules and considerations for businesses in SCS:

  1. Higher Turnover Threshold: The GST turnover limit for special category states has a higher threshold, which means that smaller businesses may be exempt from GST registration.
  2. Compensation Mechanism: In the initial years of GST implementation, some SCS were promised compensation to offset revenue losses due to the transition to the new tax regime. This compensation was meant to ease the financial burden on these states.
  3. Special Categories: Some businesses in SCS, such as those engaged in horticulture, agriculture, and related sectors, may have unique categories or exemptions tailored to their specific industries.
  4. Simplified Compliance: SCS often have simplified compliance procedures in place to accommodate the unique conditions of these states and reduce the administrative burden on businesses.
  5. Access to Government Benefits: Being GST-registered in SCS can make businesses eligible for government incentives, subsidies, or relief packages designed to support their growth and development.
  6. International Trade Considerations: For businesses in SCS involved in international trade, there may be specific rules and exemptions related to GST registration to facilitate export-oriented activities.

Businesses in Special Category States need to be aware of the specific regulations and policies applicable to their state or union territory.

GST Registration Requirements
captainbiz gst registration requirements

Here are the general GST registration requirements:

  1. Threshold Turnover Limit: A business must register for GST if its aggregate turnover exceeds the prescribed threshold limit. As of my last update in 2022, the threshold limits were as follows:– For most states in India: Rs. 40 lakhs (Rs. 20 lakhs for special category states).
    – For service providers: Rs. 20 lakhs (Rs. 10 lakhs for special category states).
  2. Mandatory Registration: Regardless of turnover, some businesses are required to register for GST. These include businesses engaged in inter-state supply of goods, casual taxable persons, non-resident taxable persons, and those required to pay tax under the reverse charge mechanism.
  3. Voluntary Registration: Even if a business doesn’t meet the threshold, it can choose to register for GST voluntarily. This can be beneficial for businesses looking to claim Input Tax Credit or expand their market presence.
  4. Taxpayer Category: Depending on your business type, you will fall into different categories under GST, such as Regular, Composition, TDS/TCS Deductor, Non-Resident, etc.
  5. Documentary Requirements: Businesses need to provide specific documents for GST registration, including PAN (Permanent Account Number) for the business, proof of constitution (partnership deed, registration certificate, etc.), and proof of principal place of business (ownership documents or rental/lease agreement).
  6. Bank Account: A valid bank account in India is required to complete the GST registration process.
  7. Aadhar Number: For the Primary Authorized Signatory, their Aadhar number is mandatory.
  8. Additional Requirements: Depending on the state and nature of the business, additional documents or information may be requested during the registration process.
  9. Business Entity: GST registration applies to various business entities, including sole proprietors, partnerships, companies, LLPs (Limited Liability Partnerships), and others.
  10. Online Application: GST registration is typically done online through the GST portal. The applicant needs to provide all necessary details and documents through the portal.
  11. Verification Process: Once the application is submitted, it undergoes a verification process. If there are no discrepancies, a GSTIN (GST Identification Number) is issued to the applicant.

Additionally, regular GST filing and compliance are essential once registration is obtained.

Recent Developments and Amendments

Several developments and amendments have taken place in consideration of GST enforcement including the establishment of special GST registration rules for Special Category States and the specific perks granted to these regions. 

Here are some key developments and amendments that were in place:

  1. Threshold Turnover Limits: Special Category States typically had lower threshold turnover limits for GST registration compared to other states. The government may periodically revise these limits to align with economic conditions.
  2. Compensation Mechanism: Initially, SCS was promised compensation to offset potential revenue losses due to the transition to GST. Amendments and revisions to the compensation mechanism were made to address the financial concerns of these states.
  3. Lower GST Rates: SCS often had lower GST rates or exemptions for specific goods and services to promote economic growth and development.
  4. Simplified Compliance: Special provisions were introduced to simplify GST compliance for businesses in SCS, reducing the administrative burden.
  5. Economic Development Schemes: Some SCS introduced specific economic development schemes and incentives to attract investment and promote business activities within their states.
  6. Input Tax Credit (ITC): Businesses in SCS could claim Input Tax Credit on the GST they paid on purchases, which could help reduce their overall tax liability.
  7. Incentives for Specific Industries: Some SCS offered incentives and benefits for businesses in certain industries or sectors, such as horticulture, agriculture, or tourism.
  8. Review and Adaptation: Policies for SCS were subject to periodic review and adaptation based on the economic and developmental needs of the states.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does the special category mean?

Special Category refers to states or regions that are granted certain special privileges and benefits, often due to unique geographical, economic, or developmental challenges. These special GST registration rules for special category states can include lower tax rates, higher exemption thresholds, and specific incentives to promote growth and development in those areas.

  • Which are the special category states in GST for registration?

The Special Category States (SCS) in India under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime included the following:

  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Sikkim
  • Tripura
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • What is the limit for registration in case of a special category?

The GST registration threshold for special category states is generally lower than in other states in India. In most SCS, the threshold limit is set at Rs. 20 lakhs of aggregate turnover for regular businesses.

  • What are the criteria for declaring special category states?

Special Category States (SCS) in India are declared based on criteria such as challenging geographical terrain, low population density, economic backwardness, resource constraints, and strategic location, among other factors. 

  • Why are there special category states in GST?

Special GST registration rules for special category states are granted to address their unique challenges and promote the development of these states.

  • How does GST registration differ for Special Category States?

Special Category States have certain exemptions and benefits under GST, and their registration process may have variations compared to other states.

  • Are there any tax concessions for businesses in Special Category States?

Yes, businesses in Special Category States may receive certain tax concessions, such as a reduced GST rate on specific goods and services.

  • What is the threshold limit for GST registration in Special Category States?

The threshold limit for GST registration in Special Category States is an annual turnover of Rs. 20 lakhs (for the supply of goods) and Rs. 10 lakhs (for the supply of services).

author avatar
Aaryan Singh
B.Com degree with finance and accounting Specialisation in Goods and Service Tax (GST) and taxation system Completed certification course on GST from ICAI in 2022 Online GST practitioner course completed in 2023 from Indian Institute of Skill Development and Training.

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