September 19, 2023
Shaik Musrath

Difference Between HSN and SAC Codes under India's GST

India's transition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system brought about significant changes in the taxation landscape. One of the crucial aspects of GST is the classification of goods and services using HSN (Harmonized System of Nomenclature) codes for goods and SAC (Service Accounting Codes) for services. These codes play a pivotal role in simplifying tax compliance, enhancing international trade, and ensuring seamless record-keeping. In this blog, we'll explore deeper into the world of HSN and SAC codes and understand why they are indispensable for businesses in India.

What are HSN codes

Categorizing Goods HSN codes provide a systematic and internationally recognized method for classifying goods. Here's how the HSN code structure works:


The HSN code system is divided into 21 sections, each representing a broad category of goods.


Within these sections, there are 99 chapters that further narrow down the classification.


Chapters are then subdivided into 1244 headings, offering more specific classifications.


The headings are broken down into 5224 subheadings, providing the most detailed classification.

For Indian manufacturers, it's crucial to follow this hierarchical structure. HSN codes typically have 2, 4, and 6 digits, with each level of digits providing more specific information about the product.


2-digit HSN number: Chapter-level classification.

4-digit HSN code: Heading-level classification.

6-digit HSN code: Subheading-level classification.

What are SAC Codes: 

Identifying Services SAC codes are the equivalent of HSN codes but for services. They are used to classify and identify the services offered. SAC codes are 6 digits long and are based on the same international principles as HSN codes.

Why Are HSN and SAC Codes Important


HSN and SAC codes provide a standardized and consistent system for categorizing goods and services. This reduces confusion and ensures uniformity in tax classification.

GST Rate Determination: 

These codes are crucial for determining the applicable GST rate for a specific product or service. Businesses can accurately calculate and collect GST based on these codes.

International Trade: 

HSN codes, being internationally recognized, simplify customs procedures and promote international trade by enabling correct product classification for imports and exports.


Accurate record-keeping is essential for GST compliance and audits. HSN and SAC codes help businesses maintain records systematically, making it easier to track transactions.

Where to Use HSN and SAC Codes 

Businesses should incorporate HSN and SAC codes in various aspects of their operations:

GST Registration: 

When registering for GST, businesses must declare the goods and services they deal with, including the respective HSN and SAC codes.

Determining GST Rates: 

Knowing the HSN/SAC codes allows businesses to determine the correct GST rates applicable to their products and services.

GST Invoices: 

Sellers must mention the relevant HSN or SAC code on invoices. This ensures that the correct GST rate is applied and aids in proper tax invoicing.

GST Returns: 

When filing GST returns, businesses need to report HSN and SAC summaries. These summaries provide details of goods and services sold, categorized based on HSN and SAC codes.


In the complex world of taxation and commerce, HSN and SAC codes are like a universal language that simplifies the classification of goods and services. These codes not only ease tax compliance but also facilitate international trade and enhance record-keeping. For businesses in India, mastering HSN and SAC codes is a crucial step toward seamless GST compliance and efficient operations in the modern tax landscape. So, embrace these codes, and watch your business thrive in the GST era.


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