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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

Online shopping spooks govt; survey to assess revenue loss

Gurpreet Singh Chhina , Hindustan Times  Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25, 2014
First Published: 07:42 IST(25/6/2014) | Last Updated: 07:46 IST(25/6/2014)

The Punjab excise and taxation department has started a survey to ascertain the revenue loss to the state exchequer due to online shopping. According to a preliminary estimate, the loss is to tune of crores of rupees annually.

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Sources said the number of Punjab residents who are shopping from websites such as Flipkart and Amazon.in is on the rise in view of heavy discounts offered on various national and international brands.

However, the state government is not getting any revenue from such shopping as the sales tax is being paid to the state in which these retailers have their offices or warehouses, including Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab, Anurag Verma told HT that the department was conducting the survey to assess the sales figures of various goods through online shopping and find ways to generate revenue or recover the loss.

Shivani Gupta, an excise and taxation officer (ETO) who has been deputed to head the survey team, said the department was procuring details of customers and the sale of various products through websites.

Gupta said they had also asked these websites to provide data about customers and the products being sold in the state. She added that once the data base of customers was compiled, the department would ask these retailers to set up their warehouses in the state itself so as to generate revenue from online shopping.

The ETO said it had also come to the department’s notice that some Punjab-based traders were making bulk purchase from these websites so as to maximise their profits and evade tax.

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