February 25, 2023

Beverage giant Coca Cola wants lower GST rates and increase in deadline

Recently, the beverage giant Coca Cola has been making headlines in India, for its demand of lower GST rates and an increase in the deadline for the implementation of new labeling norms. Coca Cola, which is one of the largest players in the Indian beverage market, has raised concerns regarding the impact of the new GST rates on its business operations in the country.

Goods and Services Tax

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is a comprehensive indirect tax system that has replaced multiple central and state taxes, has been in effect since July 1, 2017. The new taxation regime has been hailed as a major reform, aimed at simplifying the indirect tax structure in the country, and making it more transparent and efficient. However, the implementation of the GST has had an uneven impact on different sectors of the economy, with some industries, such as the automobile and textile sectors, being hit harder than others.

One of the major concerns raised by Coca Cola is the high GST rates that are being levied on its products, which are classified as 'luxury items' under the new tax regime. The company is of the view that the high tax rates will make its products unaffordable for the common man, and will have an adverse impact on its sales volumes and revenue growth in the country.

According to Coca Cola, the current GST rate of 40% on aerated drinks, which includes colas and carbonated beverages, is too high, and is not in line with other food and beverage products that are taxed at a lower rate. The company has demanded that the GST rate on aerated drinks be reduced to 18%, which is the lowest tax bracket under the new GST regime.

Another major area of concern for Coca Cola is the new labeling norms that have been introduced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Under the new norms, all packaged foods and beverages are required to display details such as the manufacturing date, expiry date, and nutritional information, in a specified format. The new norms were initially supposed to come into effect from July 1, 2018, but have been deferred to January 1, 2020, to allow the food and beverage industry more time to comply with the regulations.

Coca Cola has requested the government to further extend the deadline for the implementation of the labeling norms, as it believes that the current timeline is too short for companies to make the necessary changes to their packaging and labeling. The company has also raised concerns about the additional costs that will be incurred in re-designing its packaging and labeling to comply with the new regulations.


In conclusion, Coca Cola's demand for lower GST rates and an increase in the deadline for the implementation of new labeling norms highlights the challenges faced by the food and beverage industry in India, in adapting to the new GST regime. While the new taxation system has been welcomed as a positive step towards creating a more streamlined and efficient indirect tax structure, there is a need for the government to address the concerns of different sectors, and ensure that the implementation of the GST is conducted in a fair and transparent manner.


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