The Bombay High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a bunch of petitions filed by importers challenging the levy of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on ocean freight. The plea, moved by Mumbai-based importer Victory Ventures, challenges a June 2017 notification by which the central government had clarified as to who constituted the exporter, importer and the service provider in case freight came into India via the ocean.
According to the notification, while the supplier of a service, or the exporter, is a person located in a non-taxable territory of India, the recipient of the service is the importer. Under GST laws, importers are required to pay 5 percent IGST on ocean freight services under reverse charge mechanism. The importer pays this duty on behalf of the foreign buyers. Further, the importer also pays customs duty on the Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) value of the product being imported via the ocean.