Bengaluru, February 1 2018

With GST still stealing spotlight of concerns across industries, Indian ecommerce is looking at Budget 2018 for some adjustments in the new tax regime. It also seeks clarity regarding TCS (Tax Collected at Source), which will be levied till March 2018.

In this context, ShopClues CFO Deepak Sharma said, "The most important aspect would be the levy of 'tax deduction at source' for online transactions. This does not put it at a level playing field with other transactions and does not factor the aspect of the size/scale of the business of the merchant, and causes undue compliance cost, leading to working capital being locked up for small merchants - the mainstay for ShopClues."

Under GST, online marketplaces have to pay taxes on behalf of sellers. In the case of TCS, even players below the taxable threshold are expected to pay 1% of their revenues for every online transaction.

Paytm Mall COO Amit Sinha said, "The Budget should enable small businesses to reap the benefits of the formalisation of the economy. Free trade for businesses up to a certain limit will go a long way in helping SMEs trade goods digitally across states. This would be crucial for their growth as today's new E-way bill and State GST norms impact small businesses. Encouraging lending, based on GST data, would also be a step towards this direction."

While the industry's primary focus is amendments in the tax structure, Bigbasket Co-Founder and CEO Hari Menon said, "The Budget should focus on skill development and job creation, and infrastructure. Though there has been a lot of work going on in these sectors, a further fillip would be a positive step," he added.

Promoting the ideas of a fellow player in the segment, Grofers Co-Founder and CEO Albinder Dhindsa said, "Better support for farmers - knowledge, steady water and electricity supply and supply chain improvements would be helpful."

Beyond ecommerce itself, players appear to be keen on adjustments in supporting industries, which supply goods to online platforms. However, as changes in the tax structure will be hailed, expectations remain widely subtle.

[The Deccan Herald]