CAIT India has sent an important communication to all Chief Ministers of Indian States drawing their attention towards GST avoidance by e-commerce players causing huge loss of GST revenue to both state & central Govt and also urged support for E-Commerce Rules under the Consumer Protection Act.
Official Representation Letter:
Avoidance of GST by E-commerce Companies :
We invoke your kind and immediate attention towards the transactions that happened on different e-commerce portals where goods are being sold much below the prevailing market price by way of predatory pricing, giving large discounts and by other means causing huge loss of GST revenue to State Governments and Central Government.
Further, several foreign-funded major global e-commerce companies are holding a different kind of “Sales Festivals” round the year. During such sales, unbelievable discounts are offered which reduces the prices to a great extent in comparison to the prevailing market price.
These foreign-funded companies, under FDI in e-commerce policy, are authorized to do only Business to Business (B2B) activities are conducting whereas they are conducting Business to Consumers (B2C) sales activities right under the eyes and nose of the Government.
We invite your attention towards the sales of a large number of commodities particularly on the portals of these foreign-funded companies where the sales price of the commodity purchased is lower than the prevailing market price and the Government is entitled to accrue GST on the prevailing market price.
However, these companies by adopting predatory pricing and loss funding methods and in an artificial manner bring down the prices of the commodities quite low and charge GST on the artificial sales price directly causing a huge GST revenue loss to both State Governments and Central Government.
For example, mobile is costing Rs.10,000 thousand rupees in the physical market and therefore the Government should get GST @ Rs. 10 thousand. However, on portals of these companies, the same mobile is sold at a much lower rate i.e Rs.6 thousand and these companies charge GST @ Rs. 6 thousand only whereas the prevailing market price was Rs 10 thousand.
Therefore, they are avoiding GST for Rs. 4 thousand which is a considerable revenue loss to the Government.
During the period of ”festival sales” of these e-commerce companies, the goods are being sold at a much lesser price than the actual price by offering deep discounts from 1o% to 8o% which is nothing but predatory pricing and the GST which is supposed to be charged on the actual market price of the commodity in the normal case is now being charged on the price after deducting the discounts offered and this is nothing but underpricing of the commodity by these e-commerce portals thereby causing huge loss of GST revenue to the Government.
Likewise, proportionally if goods are rightly valued, it could earn substantial Income Tax as well to the Government.
In the light of the above, it is demanded that an investigation should be held by your Government towards the selling pattern of these companies and if found avoiding GST, strict action must be taken against them.
Draft E-Commerce Rules under The Consumer Protection Act :
We would like to inform you that to streamline the fast-growing e-commerce business of India, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, after due consideration has recently introduced a draft of e-commerce rules under The Consumer Protection Act. The rules added in the draft are truly great since they are actually focusing and think first only about the consumer.
These are kinds of reforms in laws, rules, and regulations that our country needs to safeguard and protect consumers. Much exploitation of small sellers, preference only to few sellers who have a direct or indirect stake with marketplace e-commerce entity through relationship, lack of strong consumer redressal system — are some very important points that the new e-Commerce rules try to give solutions to these issues.
We are sure that if these rules are implemented, the e-commerce landscape of India will become a neutral platform where every small or big entity can undertake e-commerce business and cater to the requirements of consumers in a more structured and responsible manner.
We shall request you to kindly impress upon the Union Government to implement the rules as early as possible and ensure the implementation by one and all both in letter and spirit.
We would like to make it clear that we are not against e-commerce business and have a firm view that e-commerce is a future mode of business in the Country and also do not fear any competition but there has to be an even level playing field where there should not be any element of predatory pricing, deep discounting or loss funding which is also the motive of FDI policy. But for a long time, these companies have had scant respect for FDI policy.
We shall be grateful if you kindly accord us an earliest convenient appointment to apprise you of the factual position in person and seek your kind support. We are sure that it will receive your kind attention and you will be pleased to accept our request and we await your valued response.