There has been so much euphoria with regard to Indian E-commerce story and is on track to become the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market. This growth story is being driven by robust investment activity by VCs, Angels and the rapid increase in internet users. Internet users in India have gone up from 50 million in 2007 to 300 million in 2014. As per Morgan Stanley, size of the Indian internet market is expected to rise from $11 billion in 2013 to $137 billion by 2020 and market capitalization of these internet businesses could touch $160-200 billion from the $4 billion at present.
Let’s understand various e-commerce models from the indirect Tax perspective:-
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SUPPLY OF GOODS
A) Direct Supply from Seller to Customer
Mr Karan orders a Service book from the Website poojalawhouse.com. Online website shall be maintained by the seller Pooja law House. The invoice of the Book would generate by the Pooja Law which shall levy VAT on the product sold.
B) Supply from Seller to Customer via online Intermediary/Aggregators
Mr Gaurav Agarwal orders iPhone 4s from the Online Website Snapdeal.com. Snapdeal will book order on the behalf of the Seller named WS Retailer. So, Snapdeal will contact with the WS Retailer to deliver the goods to the customer. The seller shall levy VAT on the goods sold by seller.
Now these online portals Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. shall generate an invoice of such services like Booking, Commission, Courier, Shipping charges etc. in the name of Seller, as these charges are covered under the definition of taxable services as per the provisions of Finance Act, 1994. In continuation of above example, Snapdeal will generate an invoice and service tax to be charged.
Bill to be charged shall vary according to terms and conditions contained in Memorandum of Understanding with sellers. For example- If the goods are delivered by e-commerce platform to customer then shipping charges shall be charged by platform in the bill. Shipping charges shall also be charged in bill and liable to service tax.
Seller to Online Portals to Customer
Mr Sushant Kapil orders iPhone 5s from the Online Website Ebay, This site will book order on the behalf of the seller and purchase the goods from Manoj Electronics to deliver the goods to Customers. The invoice of iPhone 5s would be generated by the Manoj Electronics including TIN No. and address to the Website. Now, this site will issue an invoice to Customer.
RENDERING OF SERVICES
Section 65B(44) of ST Act ‘Service’ means any activity carried out by a person for another for consideration, and includes a declared service, but shall not include –
(a) An activity which constitutes merely,––
(i) A transfer of title in goods or immovable property, by way of sale, gift or in any other manner; or
(ii) A transaction in money or actionable claim
Many E-portals websites are in existence to promote the business of rendering services on behalf of service provider. Various Service model are mentioned below:-
Service rendered by Online Portals (Like Makemytrip, Expedia etc) to the Service Recipient
For Example- Online service providers (like makemytrip, booking.com) provide the relevant information on destinations, hotels and Airports. They have entered into MOU with hotels and airlines. Invoice is raised by the Service provider (hotel) on the customers. Makemytrip acting as online aggregator raises invoices towards hotel. Service Tax shall be levied on the amount of bill issued by online aggregator.
Direct rendering of Service from Service Provider to Service Receiver
Service being provided from Customer to Customer
Credit : Karan Sahi, on Linkedin