E-Commerce major Amazon India has come out with a new programme for sellers to get insights and help related to the goods and services tax (GST), which is set to be rolled out from 1 July.
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Called the ‘A-Z GST Guide’, the programme in its pilot phase has already helped train over 5,000 sellers on the Amazon platform to get ready for GST. “By building a dedicated A-Z GST Guide portal, which is open to anyone visiting the platform and not just the Amazon sellers, the company has been educating visitors on the nuances of GST,” Amazon India Director and GM (Seller Services) Gopal Pillai said.
E-Commerce Companies Making Sellers GST Compliant
Amazon is conducting training sessions for sellers and engaging with them to understand seller pain-points first-hand and efficiently resolve them.
“Sellers will also be provided with the flexibility of accessing in-person assistance from Seller Cafes that are present in more than 30 cities in India. All necessary system and process changes are being implemented rapidly to ensure sellers are GST compliant at launch,” Pillai said.
The 5,000 sellers who have benefited from the programme cut across from the country. Amazon is encouraging its 1.7 lakh sellers to use the programme.
Online marketplace Flipkarth as rolled out its GST Genie programme for sellers which include a network of individual chartered accountants and platforms like Tally and ClearTax. The Flipkart marketplace currently has close to 1.2-lakh merchants selling on it.
The platform is providing classroom training and webinars as well as videos for the sellers who can access these or ask their finance teams to undergo training for ease of compliance. The overall taxation on different product categories will vary depending on the GST rates fixed by the GST Council.
For example, electronics will be taxed differently from apparel and the invoicing has to be done in accordance with the rates fixed ahead of GST roll-out.
“We are encouraging our merchants to get their businesses registered for GST. As a seller has multiple product categories listed with us, they have to find a harmonized system number to match the description on the government side and deciding on the tax structure accordingly. We will give them tools on doing this seamlessly and help them on customer invoicing as well,” said Anil Goteti, vice president and head of marketplace at Flipkart.
Snapdeal has launched GST Guru, a program which will include a range of initiatives to help prepare the sellers on its platform for the impending GST reforms.
The program has been launched under the aegis of the Snapdeal Seller Training Academy — which offers comprehensive training and development opportunities to sellers to derive the maximum benefit from the marketplace, as well as E-Commerce overall.
Their GST 101 series of weekly newsletters offers information around the top areas of concern for sellers, and helps them prepare for the big shift. Likewise, a Weekly Business Digest that addresses pressing topics for sellers as and when they emerge is running special editions on GST compliance. Additionally, Snapdeal will also provide accounting and taxation advice to sellers, in collaboration with subject experts.
The comprehensive indirect tax of GST is expected to impact pricing, sourcing, distribution and other aspects of business. Under tax collection at source (TCS), E-Commerce marketplaces will have to deduct a portion of the amount payable to sellers on their platform and remit it to the government.The companies believe that this would result in a capital lock-down of about Rs 400 crore per annum, discouraging merchants from selling online.
E-Commerce firms are trying to avoid confusion, especially among sellers on how they will be impacted by the changed tax structure, as well as other GST related formalities.
Online marketplaces are helping sellers from the simplest of questions like how to list a product to more nuanced topics such as how to interpret financial reports through these training programmes. It will help the sellers make the transition as seamless as possible.