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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet

Indian GST on Digital Goods

Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:14 pm

Indian GST on Digital Goods

Postby csmithjr » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:29 pm

We are hoping for some advice on our tax position regarding sales to India.

We run a website that members pay a fee to access for a fixed number of months. This year our global turnover crossed the UK VAT threshold and our accountant asked for a break down of our sales by country. Our UK sales were ~£32000, we have therefore not registered for UK VAT.

The issue this has turned up is that we sold ~£19,000 of memberships to Indian customers in our last accounting year. We have been advised that all sales to Indian customers are liable to 18% GST as we are a non-resident provider. We have approached one UK based company to enquire into the cost of processing this - we were quoted ~£7500 per annum.

All other international sales fall well below the countries threshold, for some reason India has a £0 threshold!

A few questions:
  • Does anyone have experience of paying Indian GST, especially with relation to digital sales, and which company did you use to administer this?
  • If we asked customers to select their country at registration and stopped them from proceeding if they were in India, and the customer then lied and selected another country, would we be liable - i.e would we have to cross check all purchases to confirm a customer had not lied about their address?

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:35 pm

Re: Indian GST on Digital Goods

Postby DtheRed » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:12 pm


I am not an expert but have some experience of GST. My first thought is to recheck your advice on liability because it does not sound right. A lot depends on your company status.

Once you are sure you have a liability, then I have found the practicalities of actually paying GST to be really simple - paying the tax directly on their website. The site links right into a number of banks. This is where depending on your nationality, you might find difficulty: to do it this way, you would need to have an Indian bank account (which will be difficult without setting something up in India), and the website itself is only accessible in India (you would need to use a VPN).

So if you are largely a UK only firm, then your best bet is to approach one of the indian banks in the UK (State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, ICICI etc) and discuss how you can pay an indian tax via them (Indian banks are really plugged into the Indian tax system (by law)). Or, I would suggest finding an accountant in india who will be substantially cheaper than hiring a UK one an going via them. For example, I used a chartered/certified indian accountant a few years back and each piece of work I gave him was about £50. For making the actual tax payments he charged a £2.50 transaction fee. They would better tell you if you even have an indian tax liability or if it would actually be UK (as you are being paid here and might otherwise have hit exchange controls if it was in indian internal payment)

Plenty of certified Indian accountants online. Use a reputable one, and don't give any money until things are done.

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