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Taxing e-ways cash in on utilities

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MUMBAI: Utility and other companies are seeing more pronounced use of plastic money or online payments -- the obvious choice of the connected world in the times of demonetisation.

Since inception, DishTV has been open to e-payment. The company is in sync with the government's demonetisation. It has witnessed over 65 lakh unique transactions through electronic payment till date.

The service tax component on the above transaction was approximately Rs 2600 lakh. DishTV incurred a collection cost of four per cent on the tax. The tax is in addition to state entertainment tax and the license fee levied by MIB on DTH operators. Other distribution platform are not subject to license fee.

As per industry estimates Rs 25000 crore of turnover escapes tax compliance in Cable TV services which results in loss of direct and indirect taxes to the tune of Rs. 8000 crore to the exchequer on annual basis. Demonetisation, timely implementation of digitisation and rollout of GST will bring in much needed transparency and ensure a level playing field.

Not only the entertainment services, the transport services too are using plastic money. Popular digital payment solution, Ola Money can be used at over 25 major utilities including BESCOM, BSES, Reliance Energy and Indraprastha Gas. It is already being accepted by over 500 merchants across online payments and offline POS, outside the Ola platform. A maximum recharge of up to Rs. 20,000 is permitted on Ola Money wallet until 30 December, 2016.

Ola Money announced that it has enabled cashless payments through its wallet for key utilities. By selecting the ‘Bill Payment’ option on the Ola Money app and selecting their utility provider, users can instantly pay their utility bills with one touch. The RBI recently increased the recharge limit on wallets like Ola Money from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 until 30 December to facilitate cashless transactions.

Ola Money SVP and head Pallav Singh said, “We are proud to add 25 leading utilities to this list. We are coupling our experience in payment technology with our deep commitment to keep India moving towards a cashless economy." Ola Money can be recharged using net banking debit cards or credit cards including MasterCard, VISA, American Express and RuPay.

The department of telecommunications notification has extended the deadline for the acceptance of 500 rupee notes as legal tender for recharging prepaid phones for top-ups till 15 December, 2016. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director-general Rajan Mathews said, “Despite initial teething problems, demonetisation will benefit the nation by driving increased digital transactions, promoting transparency, boosting tax collection and ensuring social equity.."

Continuing the use of old Rs 500 notes as legal tender for prepaid mobile services is crucial because industry estimates indicate between 30 per cent and 50 per cent fall in demand as customers are still struggling with less cash in hand.

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