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E-Commerce May be Misinterpreted in GST: ASSOCHAM

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NEW DELHI: The scope of the e-commerce definition as given in the Goods and Services dispensation has been left so wide that it could go well beyond Amazon or Flipkart marketplace platforms and may even cover the commodity exchanges, the ASSOCHAM has said.

As the GST is set for a roll out either in July or latest by September this year, the ASSOCHAM has also sought clarity with regard to the implementation of the most important tax reforms. A great amount of clarity has been sought with regard to treatment of GST relating to banking, telecom, banking services, exports, gems and jewellery and MSME sectors, among others.
“The scope of the terms ‘electronic commerce’ is very wide and does not restrict itself to cover electronic marketplace service providers like Amazon, Flipkart. It covers all businesses where the supply of goods / services is through a digital or electronic network,” the ASSOCHAM said in communications to different concerned ministries.

It said since the term ‘e-commerce’ covers all businesses where the supply of goods / services is through a digital or electronic network, there is a possibility of “unwarranted interpretations” which may lead to Future and Commodity Exchanges being treated as an electronic commerce operator in respect of commodity derivatives which result in actual delivery of the goods.

“In our opinion such an interpretation will not be in consonance with the object and intent of special provisions for the electronic commerce business. There are distinguishing legal and operational factors between ecommerce operators and commodity exchanges.  The commodities exchanges cannot be treated as electronic commerce operator in their legal capacity as well as in common parlance”, the chamber pointed out.

“The ASSOCHAM would like a seamless and flawless roll out of the GST to infuse a sense of confidence among the consumers, trade and industry. Eventually, the GST should become a showpiece of our reforms,” said chamber Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

Mr Rawat said the chamber, is doing its bit to reach out to the stakeholders and holding a large number of workshops and training seminars for the industry and trade in different parts of the country.

The chamber said the Central GST is silent on the exemptions which are currently provided for interest on loans.  The exemption under services tax which exempts interest should be replicated under GST

From a macro perspective GST is unification of multiple indirect taxes into single law. Hence, it is presumed current exemption would be continued for banking and other financial institution including nonbanking financial company (NBFC) as these exemptions creates the basic foundation for taxing services provided by them.

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