Legal and Tax Compliance for an E-commerce startup in India
Running a business through e-commerce may seem uncomplicated and economical, there are a variety of legal factors that an e-commerce business must seriously consider and keep in mind before commencing and while carrying out its activities. In this article, we will discuss some of the important legal and Tax compliance for an E-commerce in India.
- Business Registration: E-commerce businesses, 99% register their business before starting operations mainly because these are tech start-ups that plan to raise funding in near future.
- Contracts: E-commerce businesses operations are regulated by the contracts that are on the website. Whether it’s a vendor or a customer the user journey is protected by these contracts. Hence contracts are mandatory.
- Some of the most common forms of e-contracts are clicked wrap, browse wrap and shrink-wrap contracts.
- The existence of a valid contract forms the crux of any transaction including an e-commerce transaction. Contracts governed by Indian Contract Act, 1872
- Security Issues: Transactions on the internet, particularly consumer related transactions, often occur between parties who have no pre-existing relationship. This may raise concerns of the person’s identity and authenticity with respect to issues of the person’s capacity, authority, and legitimacy to enter the contract. Hence, Businesses should look after:
- Authentication and Identification
- Identity Theft and Impersonation
- Data Protection
- Security of Systems
- Payment Mechanisms: Electronic payment systems are often more complex than traditional payment methods, as they typically involve many users. It is important that these start-ups or businesses abide by Payment Guidelines.
- Intellectual Property: E-commerce platforms should use either proprietary technology or validly licensed technology. Please consult your professional or our Wazzeer Professional network for doubts.
- Content Regulation: For the e-commerce ventures that distribute content or acts as a platform for distribution or exchange of third party information/ content, compliance with content regulations assumes paramount importance. Issues like obscenity and defamation should be avoided.
- Jurisdiction Issues: In e-commerce transactions, if a business derives customers from a particular country as a result of their website, it may be required to defend any litigation that may result in that country.
- Direct Taxation: In India, the High-Powered Committee (“HPC”) constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes, submitted its report in September 2001. The report considered and contemplated upon the need for introducing a separate tax regime for e-commerce transactions.
- Tax on turnover generated
- Tax on Income earned from Licensing Technology
- Tax on income earned from leasing equipments.
- Transfer pricing
- Indirect Taxation:
- GST: GST will be applicable to businesses based on two factors: a. Annual revenue b. Type of business.