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Exemption of GST on Stamps and other philatelic collectables

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Respected Sir/s
On behalf of philatelists across the country we write to you to save our hobby from
extinction. 

Philately (stamp collecting) is one the most popular hobby worldwide. A highly educational hobby, Philately is an essential tool in understanding and studying our rich cultural heritage and history. Many School
Children and Senior Citizens pursue philately as a hobby, while Senior Philatelists involve themselves in research and publish their findings thru books and dissertations in philatelic journals worldwide. Such research helps us in Understanding and assimilating information on the socio-economical,
anthropological, historical and political realities of that time on a global level.
Thus giving people an insight into the attributes of their own country and the
world at large.

Philatelic Material can be broadly classified and explained as under: 

Stamps: includes stamps in Mint, Used and / or Unused condition, issued or meant to be issued as Postal, Fiscal or Revenue Stamp,

Envelopes: All kinds of Covers, Envelopes, Letters or Packages carried or meant to be carried, including First Day Covers, First Flight Cover, Air Mail, Aerogramme, Balloon Post, Pigeon Post, Rocketgram, Ship Letter, or envelopes or letters released or issued, with or without a special postmark or
cancellation.

Postal Stationary: All forms of Post Cards, Postal Envelopes, Inland Letter
Cards, Aerogrammes and Wrappers that have impressed or imprinted stamps,
indicating prepayment of postage either in used or unused condition.

 Revenue Items: old, used or unused adhesive stamps, stamp papers, share
certificates, hundis, judicial and non-judicial fiscal document

Norm with regards to VAT on Philately: In most cases of VAT Act’s across
various States in the country, Philatelic Material when sold by the Government
(Department of Posts & Revenue Departments) is exempt from paying any VAT. However, there is no specific provision for exemption in respect of Philatelic material sold by non-Government agencies, with the exception of Maharashtra and Haryana States. Hence, Philatelic Material which have zero face value since the stamp has been cancelled when sold by non-Government entity are likely to be covered under the residual clause and taxed at the highest rate, which is proposed at 28% in the current GST Scheme.

Haryana and Maharashtra states government have understood the need of philatelists and they have exempted VAT in their states.

Since 2013, this exemption under the MVAT Act, has seen some revival and growth in Philately in Maharashtra. Various initiatives at the District and State Levels have seen active participation of Philatelists from all over the country in various Philatelic Exhibitions, all to the benefit of Philatelists in Maharashtra. As a result, over the last 3 years Philatelists from Maharashtra
have won several International and National accolades, medals and awards making the Country and State proud.

We request that Philatelists all across the country get an equal opportunity to pursue Philately and that is only possible if the exemption under MVAT Act continues under the new GST scheme.
 However, with the imminent introduction of GST we fear that the current exemption of VAT on the “Philatelic material” as per item no 36 (3) of MVAT may be diluted or lost, thus causing the hobby irreparable damage and regressing it further. 

Since Philately is a hobby involving a large number of School Children and
Senior Citizens the burden of any tax rate under the new GST regime would be
unjustified and make it difficult for collectors and philatelists to pursue their
hobby. Any lack of interest to participate in the hobby will finally result in the
people of India being the ultimate losers.

If the said exemption is not sought, pursued and achieved in the new GST Regime, then “Philatelic Material” may ordinarily be covered under the residual clause, if any and taxed at the maximum threshold of the proposed 28% of sale price which will be very detrimental and essentially kill this hobby. 

Hence, we request you to propose an exemption of GST on Philatelic Material Sold by non-Government entities and help make philately affordable to School Children and other Philatelists and help people to better understand and appreciate their rich cultural and historical heritage.

 On behalf of the entire philatelic fraternity we request that your Office pursue the
matter with zeal and represent our cause to the GST Council to exempt GST on
Philatelic Material at the earliest.

On behalf of philatelist across the country, I thank you with anticipation of a favorable
response.



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