Post Budget: Amazon, Flipkart & Uber To Be Affected By New Increased Service Tax Rate

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Super Budget 2015 on 28th February and got a thumbs up from most of the industry people. According to a proposal under the newly presented budget, the ecommerce industry will now come under the new service tax rate of fourteen percent. This new proposal is surely going to have a huge impact on web base aggregators of bus operators, retail sellers, hotels and taxi owners like OlaCabs, Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart and Uber.

According to the new proposal, which became effective from March 1, all online aggregators that own and operate a web based application will now come under the tax net.

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"All aggregators which by means of an application and a communication device, enable a potential customer to connect with persons providing service of a particular kind under the brand name or trade name; shall fall under the service tax bracket," said a notification issued by the Finance ministry's department of Revenue, effecting the amendments to the Service Tax Rules of 1994 introduced in the Union budget 2015 on Saturday.

“We applaud the government's decision to include specific language pertaining to aggregators in the 2015 Union Budget that will drive improvements to tax compliance,” said a statement given by an Uber spokesperson to the Economic Times.  This new proposal to include online commerce industry under the ambit of the new service tax can be seen as a result of intense discussions that have been taking place between Uber and the Indian Tax authorities over the last few months. The Tax authorities of India questioned Uber last year over the payment of service tax in the country.

Until recently, the service tax rules did not imply on the web based aggregators. According to Uber India, this new proposal will ensure that there is transparency in the flow of tax revenues directly to the Indian government.  On the other hand, OlaCabs is hopeful that such new rules will bring the foreign players and domestic players on a level playing field and give them equal chance to grow and flourish.

As per the new rules introduced in the Budget 2015, even if such web based aggregators employ just a country head or liaison, their officials will still be liable to pay service tax on the behalf of the company.

These new service tax rules will also be applicable to classifieds players, deal websites and online aggregators like Stayzilla, Quikr, Cashkaro, Zomato, Mydala, FoodPanda, Housing and Olx

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