Demystifying Employee Gifts under GST

The rollout of Goods and Service is being dubbed to be the mother of all indirect tax reforms in the country but in reality, it is a business process reform. It changes the way we do business in India after the rollout of GST. There is no room for the words purchase or sale of goods in the GST Laws, it replaces these words with Supply. The word supply includes all activities which are undertaken for consideration or in lieu of consideration i.e barter. This nails down all the disputes which are there in the current taxation.

Similar to this we also have another concept called the taxation of employee benefits, though employee benefits are taxed under the current taxation under Income Tax Act 1961, it is being proposed to tax the same under Goods and Service Tax also in India. The taxation of employee benefits has been taken from Malaysia, where GST is implemented from 1st of April 2015.

To understand the tax implication of employee benefits let’s see the definition of Supply and Related Parties.

Supply is defined clearly in section 3 and Schedule I &  II states what activities are to be treated as supply as per the Central Goods and Service Tax Bill introduced in the Parliament

Section – 3

  1. all forms of supply of goods or services or both such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, licence, rental, lease or disposal made or agreed to be made for a consideration by a person in the course or furtherance of business;
  2. import of services for a consideration whether or not in the course or furtherance of business;
  3. the activities specified in Schedule I, made or agreed to be made without a consideration; and
  4. the activities to be treated as supply of goods or supply of services as referred to in Schedule II.

Schedule I

  1. Permanent transfer or disposal of business assets where input tax credit has been availed on such assets.
  2. Supply of goods or services or both between related persons or between distinct persons as specified in section 25, when made in the course or furtherance of business:

Provided that gifts not exceeding fifty thousand rupees in value in a financial year by an employer to an employee shall not be treated as supply of goods or services or both.

  1. Supply of goods—
    1. by a principal to his agent where the agent undertakes to supply such goods on behalf of the principal; or
    2. by an agent to his principal where the agent undertakes to receive such goods on behalf of the principal.
  2. Import of services by a taxable person from a related person or from any of his other establishments outside India, in the course or furtherance of business.

In paragraph 2 we find the wordings “Provided that gifts not exceeding fifty thousand rupees in value in a financial year by an employer to an employee shall not be treated as the supply of goods or services or both”.

The basis of the above, here we do not have any consideration received but still, GST has to be paid.

Gifts are not normally given to employees for their exceptional performance or during the festivals and these are not part of the offer letter or the appointment letter. Now under GST, ll such gifts either in kind or in cash or in form of services provided by the company will be taxed and it means that the company has to pay GST on such transactions.  When gifts are issued there is no consideration received from the employee, as discussed it is token of appreciation or for their loyalty.

Now companies or establishments have to pay GST similar to the reimbursement costs collected from the employees like issue of duplicate ID card etc.,

Though the schedule talks about the threshold limit of Rs 50,000 one thing which is not clear is “is GST applicable one the gifts from the one rupee or only on the amount which crosses Rs 50,000. As of now, the law is not clear on this point, we need to wait for the final rules and law.

Another question is how to pay the GST, does the company has to issue a tax invoice? If yes will the buyer and seller will be the same? Under which section of the GSTR – 1 return this tax invoice has to be shown? Clarity is also required in this context also.

Value of gifts issues in a financial year means total values of gifts issued during the financial year from time to time, this means that there should be a provision in the accounting or any other software the taxpayer is using to keep track of the same in the system by employee and that should be able to generate a tax invoice once it crosses Rs 50,000 for an employee.

The next question, can the registered taxable person claim input tax on the gifts procured to be distributed to the employees?  Input tax credit is eligible only if used for the furtherance of business or used for the outward supply of goods or services, this is clear from the section 16 and 17 of the CGST Act.  Say for example A Ltd wants to give  Diwali gift to all its employees Halidram sweet boxes costing Rs 3000 each. A Ltd incurs Rs 1,75,000 for bringing the sweet boxes to it is office as transportation costs, is GST paid on the inward transport cost is eligible to be taken as input tax credit?

Section 16 as input tax credit is eligible only if it used for the furtherance of business but in the case of gifts, it will directly impact the furtherance of business. Say if A Ltd does not give Diwali gifts to its employees their morale will come down and resulting in it lower performance and thereby impacting the furtherance of business. The basis of this logic can A Ltd take input tax credit on GST paid on the transportation charges?

Clarity is required in this context also else it can lead to disputes between the trade and industry.

It is normal practice to provide tea or coffee or any other beverage to the employees, though it is not part of the appointment or offer letter, does the cost of coffee or tea cost should be included gifts value? This is not recommended by the government so technically it has to treated as a gift if we go by the clause A of subsection 5 of Section 17 of the CGST Act.

  • the Government notifies the services which are obligatory for an employer to provide to its employees under any law for the time being in force; or

Or we have to wait for the list to be notified by the government, if yes then it should spell out that providing of coffee or tea is not to be treated as gift.

In the meantime, the companies have to relook their practice of giving gifts to employees and also have proper systems in place to pay taxes if any such a need arises. For this, the systems being implemented in place should track the gifts by the employee. The offer letter/appointment letters issued should be revisited and if required the clauses need to be modified in line with the GST requirements. The early they do this activity the better for the organizations.

Any views or opinions represented above are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the author may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

These examples are based on the information available in the public domain and authors interpretation of the law and may change based on the actual law passed.

Differences between June 2016 MGL and revised MGL Law, November 2016

The Model GST was released in June 2016 to the public for their review and also make the industry plan for the rollout of GST. Basis the MGL published in June, the trade and industry and professionals have taken a very critical view of the same and submitted the feedback to the Government. Basis of the feedback, the suggestions have been incorporated in the Model GST Law and released to the public in November 2016 as Revised MGL.

This article gives a glimpse of the changes announced in the June MGL and Revised MGL published in November 2016.

click here for more details

GST Tip – 63

In the proposed Goods and Service Tax, the returns are to be filed on monthly basis and same return for all the taxes i.e CGST (Central Goods and Service Tax), SGST (State Goods and Service Tax) and IGST (Integrated Goods and Service Tax) in case of regular tax payers and quarterly for tax payers under composite scheme.

Demystifying Tax Deduction at Source under the Model GST Law

In the current tax regime under VAT we have Tax Deducted at Source, and the same is being continued under GST also. Section 37 of the Model GST Law talks about the Tax Deduction at Source. From the Model GST Law, it is clear that it is not applicable for all transaction and to be recovered by all tax payers.

The tax has to be deducted by a specific set of persons as given in the sub-section 1 of section 37 of the Model GST Law. The list of persons who have to deduct tax will be decided by the State or the Central Government. The list of person as per Model GST Law

(a) a department or establishment of the Central or State Government, or

(b) Local authority, or

(c) Governmental agencies, or

(d) such persons or category of persons as may be notified, by the Central or a State Government on the recommendations of the Council,

Now we need to see who all will be included in the last point. It looks like the government wants to deduct tax on contracts gives for execution of roads, dams, power plants etc. This is to ensure that the contractor pays tax on the income and does not escape from the tax net, thereby minimizing revenue leakage.

The tax has to be deducted only in case if the supply of goods or service exceeds Rs 10 Lacs on the list of goods / services notified by the GST Council. The tax base for deduction of tax for TDS under GST is excluding the taxes mentioned on the invoice, this is something different to the valuation for determination of taxes under Section 15. The rate of tax to be deducted is 1%. This is surprising to note that the tax rate has been prescribed in the Act. We need to wait for the final GST Bill and see if the same will be included in the Act or will be announced through notification. If the rate is mentioned in the Act, the Act has to be amended every time government wants to change the tax rate.

The tax so deducted has to be deposited by the deductor by 10th of next month based on the format and other information to be reported. This will be made available only once the GST Council if formed.

The deductor has to issue a certificate to the deductee, the contractor from whom the tax is deducted with the details like the amount of contract, the  rate of tax deducted, the amount of tax deducted and the amount of tax deposited by the deductor.

The deductor has to issue a certificate within 5 days from the date on which the amount is credited, a  late fee of Rs 100 will be levied per day for delay in issue of a certificate. The amount of late fee will not exceed Rs 5000.

The deductee can take the credit of the tax based on GSTR – 2 filed by the Deductor under Section 27, sub-section 5 of the Model GST Law. The amount will be credited to the electronic cash ledger of the deductee and he can utilize the same for payment of GST taxes.

In case if the deductor fails to deposit the tax to the respective government, he is liable to pay interest on the defaulted amount as per provisions of Section 36 of the Model GST Law.

The deductor can claim for refund as per Section 38 of the Model GST Law provided that the amount is not credited to the electronic cash ledger of the deductee.

The person who has to deduct tax has to obtain registration number by filing of Form GST REG – 07.

GSTR – 7 has to be filed by the deductor on monthly basis using the services of GSP or directly on GSTN servers.

GSTR – 7A is the deduction certificate to be issued on monthly basis to the deductee.

From the provision of this section, it is clear that the government does not want to lose any tax revenue from the small contractors also. One silver lining is that, unlike in tax collected at source there is no matching of records to avail the credit. If the contractor wants to avail in the credit, then he has to be registered with GST. In a  way the government is ensuring that there is no revenue leakage from any transactions at any given point of time.

Demystifying Job Work Under Model GST Law

In normal course of business, when a manufacturing unit is not able to meet it is supply on account of machine line balancing or specific operation being not capable of being performed in the factory or unexpected demand for the product in the market, normally outsources the same to external vendor for getting the processing completed at his premises. This process is called sub-contracting or job work in the tax parlance.

Sub-Section 62 of Section 2 defines Job work as “job work” means undertaking any treatment or process by a person on goods belonging to another registered taxable person and the expression “job worker” shall be construed accordingly;

Goods and Service Tax is levied on the supply of goods and services and transfer of material from factory to the subcontractor’s premises amounts to supply. Till the Model GST Law was made available to the public domain there was a debate going on that is Job work or subcontracting is allowed under GST and to make the industry happy, the Model GST Law has provision for the Job-work under Section 43 A thereby providing lot of relief to the trade and industry. Supplies to job work are specifically excluded as supply in Schedule 1 of the Model GST Law. (for details on supply refer to the blog Demystifying Time of Supply of Goods under Model Law)

Though Job-work provisions are given in the section 43A, there is some change to the existing process of job-work under the Central Excise. As per the Model GST Law, the tax payer I,e the principal is required to obtain a special order from the GST Commissioner for permitting him to send the goods for job work under specific conditions for supply of material without payment of taxes for further processing by the job worker.

The modalities of the form to be used and the process of receiving and sending is not clear now and we need to wait for the relevant notifications once the GST Act is passed.

The principal can send the goods to the job worker from his registered premises and then after processing of the goods at the job workers place, the principal can do any of the following

  1. Request for return of goods to his original premises
  2. Or any of his registered premises
  3. Send the goods from the job workers place to further processing to another job worker
  4. Supply the goods directly from the job worker’s premises on payment of taxes within in India
  5. Export the goods directly from the job worker’s premises without payment of tax

In case if the goods are to be exported or sold in the domestic market, the job worker has to be registered as an additional place of business of the principal, which is not there in the existing provisions of the Central Excise. The same is not required if the job worker is already registered under GST as per provisions of Section 19. (Refer to blog on Demystifying Registration under Model GST Law)

The goods to be processed can be sent directly from the principals registered premises or ask his supplier to ship the goods directly to the job worker’s premises.

Section 43 A of the Model GST Law does not specify the days under which the goods have to be returned back to the principal’s place but section 150 and 151 under transitional provisions specifies the same as 6 months and Section 16A specifies if the goods are brought back within 180 days eligible for input tax credit. A clarification is required on the period as 180 days or 6 months, if this Is not clarified then there will be two-yard sticks on return of goods from the job worker

  1. For claiming input tax credit within 180 days
  2. For payment of duties if the goods are not brought back in 6 months.

Section 150 of the Model GST Law, describes the process for the inputs removed for job work and returned on or after the appointed day. The inputs sent on job work prior the appointed day (the date on which the GST is rolled out) within 6 months, then no taxes are to be paid. In case if the same are returned after 6 months, the jurisdictional commissioner can grant  an additional period of 2 months if he is satisfied with the reasons for the delay. In case if such permission is not granted or being returned after a further extension of 2 months, taxes have to be paid under GST.  The principal or the manufacturer has to pay the taxes.

The above process is applicable only if the principal or manufacturer maintains a proper record of the inputs lying in the premises of the job worker as on the appointed date in the format prescribed by the tax authorities.

Section 150 of the Model GST Law, describes  the process for the semi-finished goods   removed for job work and returned on or after the appointed day. The semi-finished goods   sent on job work prior the appointed day (day on which the GST is rolled out) within 6 months, then no taxes are to be paid. In case if the same are returned after 6 months, the jurisdictional commissioner can grant an additional period of 2 months if he is satisfied with the reasons for the delay. In case if such permission is not granted or being returned after  further extension of 2 months, taxes have to be paid under GST.  The principal or the manufacturer has to pay the taxes.

The manufacturer or principal can ship the goods directly from the job worker’s premises to any other registered tax payer on payment of duties or export the same without payment of duties.

The above process is applicable only if the principal or manufacturer maintains a proper record of the semi-finished goods   lying in the premises of the job worker as on the appointed date in the format prescribed by the tax authorities.

We need to have further information on the job work under GST

  1. The format of the letter to be sent the commissioner for requesting permission for job work.
  2. The format of the document under which the goods can be shipped without payment of taxes.
  3. The format of the document under which the goods can be sent directly from the supplier to job worker.
  4. Clarity on the time period under which the goods have to be returned back from job worker – 180 days or 6 months.
  5. The format for declaring the goods laying at the job worker as on appointed date.
  6. Applicability of Section 61 of the Model GST Law for the moment of goods from tax payers location to job workers location.

There are some changes that need to be adopted by the tax payers going forward under GST for job work.

  1. If the job worker is not a registered taxable person, then his address is also to be included in the place of business of the taxpayer in his registration application. This needs to be updated from time to time as the goods can be sent to different job workers based on the business requirements.
  2. Reverse charge will be applicable on the charges paid to the job worker  if the job worker is not a registered tax payer.
  3. In case of goods not returned within 180 days from the job worker, before payment of duty proper care has to be taken to identify if the goods sent are before the rollout of GST, if yes, then 180 days should be considered from the rollout date and not from the actual date on which the goods are sent to the job worker.

Any views or opinions represented above are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

 

 

Demystifying Collection of Tax at Source under the Model GST Law

e-commerce is a booming industry and this is enabling the local and small sellers to sell their products in wider markets and from the consumer perspective he is having a wide range of products at his door step at a competitive price.  In this process, the buyer and seller are getting benefited and in between the e-commerce operator who does not own any stocks but sells on behalf of the seller by providing his infrastructure and reach, for this services the e-commerce operator charges some amount from the seller. So far it is so good but the real issue starts from the taxman’s perspective.  In the whole game, the e-commerce operator issues an invoice on behalf of the seller to the buyer and on this respective taxes are collected. Now the question raised by the taxman is the transaction between the e-commerce operator and the seller is taxable, there are various disputes on this matter and the interpretation is even more complex like does the transaction between the e-commerce operator and the seller amounts to sale of goods and VAT is applicable on the commission or is it a service or is it a composite contract. Various state governments have taken different views on the same and started collecting VAT.

Now let’s see what is there in the store in Model GST Law for the e-commerce. Section 43B lays down the definitions in context to the above services.

Aggregator has been clearly defined in the sub-section ( a)  of Section 43B. it literally nails down who is an aggregator, it says any person who provides services either by an application or communication device which enables a buyer and seller to connect and procure goods or services under any brand / trade name is termed as an aggregator. This means that cab operators like Ola or Uber or selling of goods electronically like Amazon, Flipkart or food delivery mobile applications like Swiggy or Tinmen all are defined as aggregators. And they are required to take registration under GST as per Section 19 of the Model GST Law.

Sub-section (b) defines what is brand or trade name clearly. It says any brand or trade name, registered or not, for using a name or mark or symbol or monogram or writing or logo or symbol or signature which is used for service or furtherance of business. That means all the brand / trademarks are also under the purview of the GST.

Sub-section (c) defines what is branded service. It says branded service is service which is supplied by an e-commerce operator under his name whether registered or unregistered is a branded service like Amazon or Flipkart etc.

The final nail in the coffin is given in Sub-section (d), where it defined what is electronic commerce. It did not spare a word which used in the today’s’ internet era like download, File transfer, shopping cart, electronic data interchange (EDI), download, messaging in any form, web services, services for transmitting funds or data, etc are termed as e-commerce. This means any entity which provides any of the above services falls under the definition of electronic commerce operator and has to obtain registration under GST irrespective of the turnover refer to Schedule III of the Model GST Act. This means all the startups have to register themselves under GST. What is left over in the definition of electronic commerce operator is Internet of things (IOT).

Section 43C gives in details about the process of collecting money from the supplier of goods or service provider by the e-commerce operator before paying them.

Section 43 (C) sub-section 1

(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Act or in any contract, arrangement or memorandum of understanding, every electronic commerce operator (hereinafter referred to in this section as the “operator”) shall, at the time of credit of any amount to the account of the supplier of goods and/or services or at the time of payment of any amount in cash or by any other mode, whichever is earlier, collect an amount, out of the amount payable or paid to the supplier, representing consideration

towards the supply of goods and /or services made through it, calculated at such rate as may be notified in this behalf by the Central/State Government on the recommendation of the Council.

Illustration 1

XYZ is an e-commerce operator and many sellers are registered with them for selling their products on the portal. A, who is small time seller of handicrafts also places his products on xyz.com. B, an end consumer places an order for few handicrafts items from xyz.com supplied by A. B Pays an amount for his order of Rs 15,000 to xyz.com. xyz.com has to pay A for the item being purchased by B. As of now xyz.com is paying Rs 15,000 less commission charged by them. Going forward under GST, xyz has to deduct certain percentage as specified by the GST council and then only pay the net amount to A.

Now the question here arises is does xyz.com have to recover the tax after deducting commission or on the full amount? If we go by the valuation under Model GST Law as given in section 15, is clearly says on the gross amount, so xyz.com has to recover tax on Rs 15,000 but not on Rs 15,000 net of commission if any.

The amount collected from the supplier of goods and service provider by the e-commerce operator has to be deposited with the tax authorities by 10th of the next month.

Every operator has to submit a report electronically within 10 days from the end of the month, this report is to be filed separately other than the regular returns filed. The format of the report will be announced in due course and it should contain the details of all the suppliers of goods / services from whom the amount is being withheld and paid to the respective governments like supplier name, amount, date, tax recovered etc.,

The details filed by the e-commerce operator are verified with the returns filed by the sellers and if there is any mismatch, the same is informed to both the parties for correction. In case if there is any discrepancy and which is communicated to the supplier and no corrective action is taken, then the same is added as a liability to the suppliers return in the month in which it is communicated. The supplier is liable to pay tax along with interest, as determined by the concerned officer to the department.

The operator may be asked to furnish information relating to the details of his suppliers like quantity of goods held by him under his custody along with other places of business of the supplier.

From the above, it is clear that government does not want to lose a single penny in form of tax revenue. This process is ensuring that all the suppliers who are dealing with e-commerce are registered, in order to utilize the amount deducted by the e-commerce operator while receiving his payments. The amount deducted by the e-commerce operator one paid to the tax authorities is reflected in the electronic cash ledger of the supplier and he can utilize the same for payment of GST taxes.

Though it is titled as “Collection of Tax At Source” it is technically “tax deducted at source”, the reason is when the e-commerce operator is paying to the supplier of services or goods, certain amount is withheld and then only paid, it is similar to the tax deduction at source in direct taxes. In a way now TDS is applicable on goods also in indirect taxes for e-commerce transactions.

This provision has put an end to all the confusions which are there for the e-commerce currently.

The amount deducted by the e-commerce operator will be reflected in the GSTR -2 return of the seller on the e-commerce website as well as in the electronic cash ledger maintained by the common portal for the seller on the e-commerce website.

The amount to be paid by the e-commerce operator will be part of the monthly outward supplies in GSTR – 1 and also will be shown in the Electronic Liability Register maintained in the common portal. The E-commerce operator has to file another return separately called GSTR – 8 under GST with all the relevant details as required.

The taxes applicable will be of CGST and SGST for TCS in the case of intra state transaction and in the case of interstate transactions it will be IGST for TCS. This is based on the information provided in the Draft Invoice Formats.

Any views or opinions represented above are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

These examples are based on the model law and may change based on the actual law passed.