Importers, resellers on e-market places face heat over duty evasion : 23-08-2019

After clamping down on imports of Chinese e-commerce companies that were illegally shipping goods into India under the guise of ‘gifts’, the government has trained its guns on Indian importers and resellers on online marketplaces for allegedly bringing goods into the country by evading duties and taxes. 

Shipments worth a few hundred crores of rupees are stuck at several ports across the country as the customs department has stepped up its due diligence to catch tax and duty evaders, leading to a delay in deliveries to the end-consumer, sources said. 

“We have no problems with goods being ordered from sites such as Amazon-.com as, in those cases, duties and taxes are being paid at the time of purchase. But many importers/resellers on Indian e-commerce sites are evading duties by routing their goods through other countries other than the one which is the origin of these goods and operating warehouses in those countries. They are not even filling up the correct customs forms and under-declaring the value of these goods,” a senior customs official told TOI. 

Several resellers on Indian online marketplaces specialise in selling only imported goods. The customer orders these goods on these online platforms and it takes three-to-four weeks for the goods to be delivered. 

While a few resellers that TOI spoke to said it is a common practice among importers to evade duties through such illegal means, others said their businesses are being impacted for no fault of theirs. “Numerous importers who are importing consumer goods for trade on several e-commerce platforms are facing customs enquiry,” a reseller told TOI. 

Source : Mint