Welcome to the VAT Blog!

Thank you for joining us here on the VAT Blog. This is one of the leading resources of Value Added Tax (VAT) news, and you will find that most of what we do here applies similarly to Goods and Services Tax (GST, the VAT in Canada, Australia and Singapore).

Mark Houtzager, the principal blogger here, is based in Brooklyn, NY. Mark is one of the handful independent VAT consultants in the U.S. His clients are big brand multinationals, online businesses and also smaller companies that have limited operations overseas, yet require practical, hands-on and timely tax advice. Many VAT Blog readers have found that Mark is always happy to get on the phone and provide a helping nudge in the right direction, whether you are a client or not.

More information is on Mark’s homepage at www.us-vat.com.

If you want to connect in person, there are plenty opportunities to reach out to me – I am only a click away. When I am behind my computer, a chat function is available.

You can send an email to mark@us-vat.com, or give me a call on 646-397-5855.

Please make sure to sign up for my email list (under “Subscribe” in the right column) if you are interested in Value Added Tax in general, and its impact on U.S. companies in particular.

Also, because there are almost 600 entries on this blog, you will want to use the search function. It is in the right column, under “Search here”.

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More on India e-commerce service tax changes

Radha Arun has more on the upcoming changes in e-commerce taxation in India. Radha is a leading India indirect tax consultant, with a background in the Union Internal Revenue Service.

She summarizes the changes in the article below. One of the main takeaways for U.S. e-businesses that sell online downloads to individuals in India is that they must appoint a local agent, who is liable for filing and payment of the Service Tax.


(you don’t need to be signed-in to LinkedIn to access the article)

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Urgent: India taxing B2C online sales

Aside from their ongoing GST implementation news, India announced a new service tax on online sales to individuals. Start date is December 1 (!).

U.S.-based e-commerce vendors should take heed: compliance rules are likely to be onerous.

From the details that I have obtained, the new service tax rules look very similar to the EU VAT rules that govern online sales to individuals. The scope, filing requirements and impact all look similar. A simplified tax filing process for non-residents, however, does not seem to be in the cards.

I am still digesting the practical impact of this news. The link to the government website with more details is below.

Do drop a note (mark@us-vat.com) if you would like me to help out. My e-commerce clients are all over it.


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U.S. post-election: Anti-VAT is on the table

There is a proposal on the Congressional table to levy a retaliatory tariff on U.S. imports from VAT/GST countries. The tariff is based on the illusion that the VAT zero-rate on exports is in effect a subsidy on domestic exporters. The rate of the proposed tariff is equal to the VAT/GST rate in the country of origin of the imported goods.

Bloomberg writes as a part of their report on tax reform:

“Though the blueprint was seen as a departure from previous tax proposals, some lobbyists are concerned that the border adjustability provision—to tax imports and exempt exports—that funds much of the lower tax rates in the plan isn’t likely to comply with World Trade Organization rules, which allow border adjustment provisions for value-added tax systems, but not for income tax regimes.”

More here: http://www.bna.com/tax-revamp-optimism-n57982082574/.

And obviously also see my earlier posts and comments on this proposal.

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Timeline for India GST

Alex Baulf from Grant Thornton shared a very useful image of the current timeline of the GST implementation process in India:

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Update on Trump and the anti-VAT proposals

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U.S. House: Bipartisan anti-VAT proposal

There is a proposal pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that calls for a fee on imports from countries that do not refund import VAT to U.S. companies. I wrote about this craziness earlier, and within just a couple of days, this post became the most popular post ever on The VAT Blog:

Trump and a Democrat want a retaliatory tariff against VAT

And then someone picked it up on Twitter:

The response of Mr. DiMicco is not very original. The argument that exporters in VAT countries get a “rebate” is persistent – I hear it all the time. See my post for analysis.

Luckily there were more voices of reason:

Tomorrow is November 8 – happy voting all!

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India GST update

Updates on India GST:

  1. The GST Council, together with the Central Government, has proposed a rate of 12% and 18% at the latest meeting of the GST Council.
  2. The Central government’s proposal is to entail a lower rate of 4% for precious metals and 6% at its highest, two base rates of 12% and 18% and a maximum rate of 26% including all cess for goods, while a tax of 12% to 18% will be levied across all services.
  3. These rates are to be finalized in the next GST Council Meeting.
  4. Though the Central Government is a few months ahead of schedule, the final implementation is expected take place on April 1, 2017.

See these two comprehensive articles:

The Road to the GST Bill: How close are we to implementation?

The GST Bill: What it means for you


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