IGST on High Sea Sales taxed only during importation, GST Council
The Dollar Business Bureau
The CBEC has issued a clarification regarding double taxation of IGST on High Sea Sales of imported goods. It had come to the notice of the Customs Board for a clarification whether High Sea Sales of imported goods would be charged IGST twice - under sub-section (7) of section 3 of Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and also separately under Section 5 of The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
The Board issued a clarification on the same vide Customs circular no- 33/2017 dated August 1, 2017.
‘High Sea Sales’ is a common trade practice whereby the original importer sells the goods to a third person before the goods are entered for customs clearance. After the High sea sale of the goods, the Customs declarations i.e. Bill of Entry etc is filed by the person who buys the goods from the original importer during the said sale. In the past, CBEC has issued various instructions regarding high sea sales appropriating the contract price paid by the last high sea sales buyer into the Customs valuation.
As mentioned earlier, all inter-state transactions are subject to IGST. High sea sales of imported goods are akin to inter-state transactions. Owing to this, it was presented to the Board as to whether the high sea sales of imported goods would be chargeable to IGST twice.
The GST council has decided that IGST on high sea sales transactions of imported goods, whether one or multiple, shall be levied and collected only at the time of importation i.e. when the import declarations are filed before the Customs authorities for the customs clearance purposes for the first time. Further, value addition accruing in each such high sea sale shall form part of the value on which IGST is collected at the time of clearance.
The above decision of the GST council is followed as envisioned in the provisions of sub-section (12) of section 3 of Customs Tariff Act, 1975. It is detailed in the Act that regarding imported goods, all duties, taxes, cessess etc shall be collected at the time of importation i.e. when the import declarations are filed before the customs authorities for the customs clearance purposes. The importer (last buyer in the chain) would be required to furnish the entire chain of documents, such as original Invoice, high-seas-sales-contract, details of service charges/commission paid etc, to establish a link between the first contracted price of the goods and the last transaction. In case of a doubt regarding the truth or accuracy of the declared value, the department may reject the declared transaction value and determination the price of the imported goods as provided in the Customs Valuation rules.