These are exceptionally challenging times globally for individuals, governments, and businesses. We appreciate that the current priority of the Government of India, and of governments around the world, must be to mount the strongest possible economic and public health response to the outbreak of COVID-19. At a time when governments and firms alike are under immense economic strain, we applaud Prime Minister Modi and other G20 leaders for their commitment to realizing a free, fair, non- discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep global markets open.
It is in the spirit of this international commitment that we write to respectfully request a formal stakeholder consultation on the expansion of the Equalisation Levy and a delay by at least nine months of the implementation of “Section 165A” of the Union Budget 2020, which significantly expands the scope of India’s existing Equalisation Levy to establish a new, two per cent levy on the online sale of goods and services into India by non-resident e-commerce operators. In the current circumstances, the timeframe within which this expansive new measure was approved and entered into force allowed for neither the dialogue nor the significant structural changes that would be necessary for impacted firms to effectively implement a levy of this scope and complexity.