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Classification of goods that undertake lifting and handling functions and have mobility as a function- (Ministry of Finance ) (22 Sep 2022)


Goods and Services Tax

1. Various references have been received in the Board regarding the classification of the goods referred as Truck Cranes or All Terrain Cranes. These are essentially goods that are used in handling and lifting heavy loads and have mobility as a function.

2. These goods come in various types and sizes, depending on the requirement of the users and factors such as load to be handled, the terrain where it is put to use etc. A simple generic description such as All Terrain Cranes would thus represent a large category of similar goods. However, some of the basic features common to goods of this type include:

a) The primary purpose of these goods is not transport of persons or goods.

b) These are equipments designed to lift extremely heavy loads.

c) The goods have wheels indicating that they have mobility as a feature.

d) There is a superstructure which is the revolving frame of equipment on which operating machinery are mounted along with operator's cab.

e) The carrier or chassis is the under carriage of the crane and includes the carrier cab, wheels, and outriggers. This chassis is designed to support the rotating crane superstructure.

f) When in operation, the outriggers fix the equipment to the ground to provide support to life heavy loads. The wheels do not touch the ground in such instances.

3. Since the goods have features that are similar to motor vehicles, as well as to that of load handling heavy machines, there are differing opinions on the classification of such goods. One opinion states that the goods are essentially cranes that are used in lifting and handling and are therefore to be classified under heading 8426. On the other hand, there is a different opinion relying on the ability of these goods to be propelled and moved from one place to other which makes them similar to the motor vehicles classified under 8705.

4. The classification of similar goods has also been interpreted in various judgments of the Courts and Tribunals as well as in the discussions between parties at the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Some of these include-

a) The Hon'ble Supreme Court, in the case of Commissioner vs. Sanghvi Movers Ltd-2016(337) ELT A.208(SC) ruled on the classification of 'hydraulic truck mounted mobile cranes' and upheld the ruling of the Tribunal which stated that the special purpose vehicles listed in the inclusive clause of explanatory notes to 8705 continue to have mobility as a very significant function. While stating that the crane portion and the chassis portion of the product stand fairly integrated, the Tribunal ruled that the product is a crane which is mobile rather than a vehicle fitted with a crane. It was held that the product in question is covered by the exclusion clause of explanatory notes to heading 8705 and therefore the classification of the product under 8426 appeared to be correct.

b) In the case of Collector of Central Excise Baroda vs. LMP Precision Eng. Co. Ltd the Hon'ble Supreme Court ruled on the classification of 'water well drilling rigs mounted on motor vehicles chassis. By relying on the specific inclusion of 'mobile drilling derricks' under heading 8705, the Court gave precedence to the 8705 over the inclusions mentioned in the Section notes to heading 8430 and thus classified the goods under heading 8705.

c) It is also pertinent to note the classification opinion of the WCO (HSC/51/March 2013) for a self propelled mobile crane consisting of a six wheeled chassis with a diesel engine, four outriggers and a driving cum operator's cab which houses both crane and driving controls. During driving on the road, the cab is positioned and mechanically locked at the front of the chassis. During crane operation, the cab can be lifted upto a height of 7.8m. This self propelled mobile crane has been classified under 8426.41 by the WCO.

5. However, it is pertinent to note that the judgments and the classification opinions are specific to a particular good or product. The legal notes and the explanatory notes have been interpreted in the context of those specific goods with particular features. As already pointed out above, the goods referred as 'all terrain trucks' come in various types and it would not be advisable to apply any of the judgments above or other similar judgments and opinions squarely to all goods of a similar nature. Therefore, it is imperative to outline a set of parameters that can serve as a guide to arrive at the classification of all such goods.


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