Given the ambiguity and litigation in the present tax regime, GST has been an important point of discussion in recent times. GST is expected to provide relief from the current hurdles. For e-commerce companies, GST is particularly interesting because the model GST law specifically proposes a tax collection at source (TCS) mechanism as well. Under GST, e-commerce has been identified as “Supply of goods and/or services including digital products over digital or electronic network”
An e-commerce operator is also defined to include every person who directly or indirectly owns, operates or manages an electronic platform that facilitates the supply of any goods and services. Under the TCS mechanism, an e-commerce company is required to deduct tax the rate of 1% of net value of taxable supplies. The same tax has to be deposited with the government.
Although GST unifies myriad indirect taxes and e-commerce companies will not have to bother about state governments imposing an entry tax on goods sold online or VAT on non-declaration of warehouses, etc, the proposed tax collection have left the e-commerce companies a little unsettled.
Furthermore, accounting for cash on delivery (COD), returns and cancelled orders shall impact the cash flows of the operator. Return or cancellation rate in India is approximately 15-18% and more than two third of the transactions are on COD, reconciliation for which happens about 7-15 days later. This would pose a burden on the operators for seeking refund in case of cancelled or returned orders on which tax has already been deducted. Moreover, the operators shall have to manage their accounting and reconciliation accordingly.
Also, there shall arise circumstances wherein the goods are returned due to cancellation or defect on whose supply TCS has been levied although the supply eventually did not materialize fully. With the increase in the volume of transactions and submissions of various statements, compliance cost for the operator shall certainly rise. Under GST, e-commerce players will have to initiate stock-transfer of goods from vendor to warehouse or one warehouse to another.
Currently, stock transfers are not liable to any tax, with the exception of entry tax. But under GST, interstate stock transfers will be liable to IGST. This could have a severe impact on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In conclusion, the country is eagerly looking out for the rollout of GST. The regime focuses on creating a single market for everyone and will introduce destination-based taxation.
But the government should ensure GST eases regulatory norms to benefit e-commerce companies by further accelerating their growth and attract more investments. It is imperative that the government makes efforts to make the law clear and industry-friendly so that the industry and the economy benefits as a whole.
A:LETS FIRST UNDERSTAND FROM POINT OF VIEW OF GST:
Definition of E commerce and E commerce operator as per CGST Act, 2017 are Section 2(44): electronic commerce means supply of goods or services or both including digital products over digital or electronic network.
Section 2(45): electronic commerce operator means any person who owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce
As pet GST Compliances flow will be as follows:-
1. GST Registration:-
E-commerce portals are charging a commission from various suppliers. It amounts to support services, falling under Tariff heading 9985, and shall attract GST at the rate of 18%. E-commerce portals are required to be compulsorily registered under Section 24(ix) of the CGST Act, and shall be paying GST on commission amount received, without availing any exemption threshold limit. The tax shall be charged in the invoices raised against supplier of goods or services; and such suppliers can avail ITC on such GST charged, if otherwise eligible.
Logistic service provider (DSP) will not come under the exempt services under section 9(5) hence they are to be dealt as applicable in GST law however their taxability depends on the threshold limit.
If any person is already registered under GST in any other capacity then ECO , then he shall have to apply for registration as ECO separately.
2.Collection of Tax at Source (TCS) under E commerce:
As per section 52 of the CGST Act 2017, An electronic commerce operator (not being an agent) shall collect the TCS at the rate of 1%(0.5% CGST and 0.5% SGST) as per section-52 on the net value of taxable supplies (other than supplies u/s 9(5)) made through it by other suppliers and consideration of such supplies is to be collected by E.C.O.
The operators have to get separate TCS collection number (separate from normal registration) from GST portal for collection of tax. So there will be 2 registrations for the operators, 1 will be for TCS collection and 1 will be for filing other normal returns such as GSTR-1, 3B etc
The TCS amount collected shall be paid to govt. On or before 10th of next month. So payment is on monthly basis.
Monthly returns shall also be required to be filed in FORM GSTR – 8, containing details of the outward supplies of goods/services
Every eco who collects the TCS shall furnish the annual return containing details of outward supplies of goods/services made through it in form GSTR –9B
b.Exemption from TCS Registration(subject to confirmatiom from department)
E-commerce operators that are required to collect TCS as per section 52 are compulsorily required to get registration in each state from where it made supplies, irrespective of the amount of turnover. In GST law no relaxation is provided to e.c.o in term of registration threshold limit.
As per the GST law, the e-commerce operators are not allowed to get TCS registration in some states/uts, where they do not have any physical presence, and this became a challenge to few taxpayers.
To overcome this challenge, from 01st April 2020 onwards, the e-commerce operators not having a physical presence in any particular state/UT has been allowed to apply for TCS registration based on their registered head office/premises address.
There is no threshold limit in the section , Hence irrespective of amount of ECO is liable to collect TCS @1% in all case. We have to deposit it by 10th of next month.
One important think to note that here Act says we are liable to collect TCS on net amount hence if there is a sales return then we shall have to collect TCS on net amount.
B: LET’S UNDERSTAND FROM POINT OF VIEW OF INCOME TAX ACT:
Statutory Provisions under Income Tax Act
Finance Act, 2020 (FA 2020) inserted a new section 194-O into the Income-tax Act, 1961 (ITA) introducing a withholding tax on e-commerce transactions as from 1 October 2020. Under section 194-O, resident and nonresident e-commerce operators are required to withhold income tax at 1% of the gross amount of sales of goods, or provision of services, or both, :
C:Role of payment gateways and compliances:
Generally In all the E commerce platforms Payment Gatways services are used , so to understand this model completely we need to understand compliance from the end of Gateways:-
CBDT has threw some clarity in this area which is being quoted below:
The Income Tax Act also inserted a sub-section (1 H) in section 206C based on which a seller selling goods exceeding Rs 50 lakh in any previous year to collect tax from the buyer “a sum equal to 0.1 per cent of the amount as income-tax” at the time of sale effective October 1.
Issuing guidelines for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS) on e-commerce transactions, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that the payment gateway won’t have to deduct tax under section 194-O of the Income Tax Act on a transaction if it has been deducted by the e-commerce company. For example, according to CBDT’s circular issued on Tuesday, if a consumer buys goods worth X amount from an e-commerce company and pays through a payment gateway, since e-commerce payments are generally routed via such gateways, the liability currently under sector 194-O of the Act to deduct tax may fall on both the e-commerce company and the payment gateway.
However, with the clarification by the board, if the tax has been deducted by the e-commerce firm, then the payment gateway won’t have to do so. For this, the e-commerce company can also get an undertaking from the gateway for the tax deduction. The clarification was among the guidelines issued by CBDT on the applicability of 1 per cent TDS by e-commerce operators on sale of any goods and services from October 1, 2020, as per the 194-O section inserted into the Finance Act, 2020. The exemption, however, has been given to “certain individuals or Hindu Undivided Family fulfilling specified conditions”.
After the insertion of this section department has put some compliance burden on the soldiers of e commerce operator(eco).eco has to deduct tax @1% under section 194-O on sale amount. If we plan to take our share out of the sales proceed collected on behalf of the vendor whether it is our commission or any charges like logistics charges, management fees, handling charge etc we can keep or share but we shall have to deduct TDS on Sale amount. There is no threshold limit.
Some relaxation has been given in the case where vendor is either individual or HUF. In the case of these vendors if sale amount for the year does not exceed Rs 5,00,000 we are not liable to deduct TDS.
One more important thing to notice is that, this section of TDS has overriding effect over all the sections of TDS of Income Tax Act. It means suppose we charge commission or anything from the vendor, No TDS will be deducted on that amount by Vendors.
Law contains some ambiguity in this case, law talks about sale value but there is no clarity about sales return. So we can consider net sales value for the purpose of tds calculation.
Through this write-up i have tried to explain all the provisions regarding E commerce business at one place . If have left any thing or i am wrong on any point , i believe that you will definitely give me another chance to improve my performance.