The rapidly expanding e-commerce companies today made a strong case for keeping them out of the proposed GST net but the state finance ministers appeared in no mood to oblige.
At the first meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers held after the Parliament approved the GST Bill, online retailers said they only provide a ‘platform’ to vendors and customers and do not make money out of sales made. According to representation made at the meeting, companies like Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal are only ‘service providers’ to the vendors and as such are liable to pay GST only on service income. When panel chairman and West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra questioned the billion dollar valuations some of the so-called online platforms command, the e-retailers said their source of revenue is advertisement on which which they pay service tax. Vendors selling goods through their portals should be liable to pay GST, they argued.