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Taxability of derivatives, futures and forward contracts in GST

Applicability of GST on derivatives

CGST Act specifically excludes securities from the definition of Goods. As per Section 2(52), Goods means any movable property except money and securities. The definition of Services means anything other than goods, money and securities. Therefore, trading in shares and securities will not be considered as supply in GST.

As per section 2(h)(1a) of Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA), Derivatives’ are included in the definition of ‘securities’.

Section 2(101) of the CGST Act, 2017 provides that ‘securities’ shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (h) of section 2 of the SCRA. As ‘derivatives’ fall in the definition of securities, they are not liable to GST. 

However, if some service charges or service fees or documentation fees or broking charges or such like fees or charges are charged, the same would be a consideration for provision of service and chargeable to GST.

Future contracts

Future contracts are in the nature of financial derivatives, the price of which is dependent on the value of underlying stocks or index of stocks or certain approved currencies and the settlement happens normally by way of net settlement with no actual delivery. Since future contracts are in the nature of derivatives these qualify as ‘securities’ as defined in Section 2(101) of the CGST Act. As securities are neither ‘goods’ nor ‘services’ as defined in the CGST Act, 2017, future contracts are not chargeable to GST.

But where the future contracts have a delivery option and the settlement of contract takes place by way of actual delivery of underlying commodity/currency, then such forward contracts would be treated as normal supply of goods and liable to GST. Further, if some service charges or service fees or documentation fees or broking charges or such like fees or charges are charged, the same would be a consideration for supply of service and chargeable to GST.

Forward contract

A forward contract is an agreement, executed, to purchase or sell a pre-determined amount of a commodity or currency at a pre-determined future date at a pre-determined price. The settlement could be by way of actual delivery of underlying commodity/currency or by way of net settlement of differential of the forward rate over the prevailing market rate on the settlement date.

Where the settlement takes place by way of actual delivery of underlying commodity/currency, then such forward contracts would be treated as normal supply of goods and liable to GST.

Where the settlement takes place by way of net settlement of differential of the forward rate over the prevailing market rate on the settlement date, the same would be falling within the purview of ‘securities’ as defined in Section 2(101) of the CGST Act. As securities are neither ‘goods’ nor ‘services’ as defined in the CGST Act, future contracts are not chargeable to GST. However, if some service charges or service fees or documentation fees or broking charges or such like fees or charges are charged, the same would be a consideration for supply of service and chargeable to GST.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

In terms of section 2(ac) of Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (SCRA), “derivative” includes-

(A) a security derived from a debt instrument, share, loan, whether secured or unsecured, risk instrument or contract for differences or any other form of security;

(B) a contract which derives its value from the prices, or index of prices, of underlying securities.

Note, the definition of ‘derivatives’ in SCRA is an inclusive definition.


CA Anand Singh

CA Anand Singh

I am a practising Chartered Accountant with 6 years of experience in Direct and Indirect Taxation, FEMA, Corporate Law and Audit etc.

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