February 20, 2023

GST on E-commerce Explained with Restaurant Example

E-commerce has become a significant channel for entrepreneurs to sell their products online, making it an essential part of the Indian economy. To regulate this segment, the Indian government implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017, which applies to all businesses operating in the country, including e-commerce platforms. In this article, we will explain what GST is and how it impacts e-commerce businesses in India, using a restaurant example.

What is GST?

GST is a comprehensive indirect tax that replaced the earlier complicated system of multiple indirect taxes, such as VAT, excise duty, and service tax. It is a destination-based tax, which means the tax is levied where the goods or services are consumed, rather than where they are produced. GST is divided into three categories:

  • CGST - Central Goods and Services Tax
  • SGST - State Goods and Services Tax
  • IGST - Integrated Goods and Services Tax

CGST and SGST are applicable to transactions within a state, while IGST is for transactions between different states.

Restaurant Example

To understand GST and its impact on e-commerce businesses better, let's consider a restaurant example. Assume that the restaurant purchases raw materials such as vegetables, spices, and cooking oil from a local supplier, who has registered under GST. The supplier charges 5% GST, which is included in the purchase price of the ingredients.

Now the restaurant prepares dishes and sells them to customers, charging 18% GST on the food bill. The restaurant must collect the GST from the customers and deposit it with the government, after deducting the input tax credit (ITC) for the GST paid on raw materials.

Impact of GST on E-commerce Businesses

In the case of an e-commerce business, the business owner must register under GST if their annual turnover exceeds Rs 20 lakh. The GST rate varies depending on the product or service provided by the e-commerce platform. For instance, if an e-commerce platform sells goods worth Rs 1 lakh, including a 12% GST, the platform must deposit Rs 12,000 with the government after deducting the input tax credit from the GST paid to the suppliers.

Furthermore, if an e-commerce platform works with multiple suppliers who are GST registered, the platform must reconcile the GST paid on purchases with the GST collected on sales. To ensure compliance, the e-commerce platform must maintain detailed records of all transactions.


The introduction of GST has brought a significant change in the Indian taxation system. E-commerce businesses must comply with GST regulations to avoid legal repercussions. It is crucial for e-commerce platforms to keep track of all transactions and maintain accurate records to ensure smooth operations and avoid penalties. By understanding GST's impact on e-commerce, business owners can make informed decisions to minimize the tax burden and maximize profitability.


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