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GST for freelancers/agencies in India

Active Member
Sandip N Member Since: Jan 30, 2016
51 of 105

Hi Subrat!


I am also in same setuation and unable to find any kinds of help.


I would like to request you please share your findings and experience of the Softex, also

How do you submit Softex of the invoices?

What deficulties have you faced?

Is the issue resolved from the Tax Department after providing the softex certificates?


I am willing to use wire transfer option for future transactions and the Bank officer is expecting the Softex certificates for each invoice. So it would be really helpful if you could guide us in this case.


Thanks in advance.

Active Member
Vikrant S Member Since: Jan 14, 2020
52 of 105

Respected Madam,


I understand there are rules of GST in india, but GST is not appilcable to me, also Upwork charges a good %age as fees and also withdrawing also is being charged my request to you is to reconsider the 1% GST charge which will be another loss for us since, as of now GST is not applicable for me, there are other ecommerce sites like amazon, ebay which only apply GST on goods under GST category, I think it will be double implication of GST and will be unfair to charge so.




Active Member
Rachana S Member Since: Sep 28, 2017
53 of 105

What will be if the freelancer is under agency? in this case will you be required Company/agency GST id ?

Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
54 of 105

Hi Rachana,


If all freelancer's contracts are under the agency and all payments are made to the agency account, then the agency's GST number should be added?

~ Valeria
Active Member
Vijay S Member Since: Feb 28, 2015
55 of 105

Is Upwork confirming that freelancers must submit GST number (GSTIN) to continue working here? More clarity on this issue would be helpful because once we apply and get GSTIN we need to submit 3 returns every month. That's a costly, time consuming and unnecessary process for most of us.

Community Guru
Ravindra B Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
56 of 105

On receiving the recent GST-related email from Upwork, I talked to my CA.


According to him, I am exempt from GST based on my income.


However, if Upwork has received intimation from GOI to collect 1% from all Indian freelancers (irrespective of the amount of their earning at Upwork), then that is how it will be.


I do not have a GST number right now, as I was exempt based on my income.


I am awaiting clarification whether registering for GST and proving the GST number to Upwork is mandatory.


"Certa bonum certamen"
Active Member
Lokender Y Member Since: Aug 28, 2015
57 of 105

I think upwork will be rolling back this decision because it doesn't make any sense.

If they want to collect GST, they can do so only on Membership connects and the 20% / 10% / 5% commission charged by them from freelancers. 

Collecting 1% GST on every payment is not a rule anywhere in India or any part of the world. It is upto the freelancer to file his income tax returns based on his income tax slab under ITR -4 (SUGAM) in India.


I request upwork to consider all the above facts and get it touch with a local tax consultant like ClearTax themselves in India before making any such changes.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
58 of 105

Hi Lokender, 


Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this with us. At the present time, Upwork is not registered in India and therefore will not assess the GST on transactions there. We are only collecting GST numbers from Upwork users currently. If we as a company are required to register in India in the future and start getting assessed GST, we will let you know.


Upwork is currently working with its tax advisors to determine under what circumstances GST must be collected on transactions between Upwork and its users.

Community Guru
Ravindra B Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
59 of 105

Avery O wrote:

Hi Lokender, 

We are only collecting GST numbers from Upwork users currently. 

Thank you, Avery.

Is it mandatory to provide a GST number?
I don't have a GST number right now, and I will have to apply for one.


"Certa bonum certamen"
Active Member
Anup S Member Since: May 3, 2016
60 of 105

Is Upwork also incorporating/registering itself in India? If not, why do you have to charge GST at all?


The 1% GST is applicable only under composition scheme which is open for manufacturers, restaurants and traders whose turnover does not exceed Rs 1.5 crore.

Pretty sure Upwork's revenue is much more than that for the "sliding fee charges" and "other purchases" made by freelancers. That implies Upwork cannot apply 1% rate.


The other possible rates are "5%, 12%, 18% and 28%". Clearly the services from Upwork are not in the 5% slab. That leaves either 12,18 or 28%. Most likely the applicable rate for Upwork services will be an IGST(Integrated-GST) at 18%.


I believe the following should be expected by a freelancer if GST is charged:

1. Upwork sends a GST invoice to the freelancers (which has to be INR currency). And this has to mention the GST rate charged
2. Upwork must have a valid GST number mentioned in the invoice and a valid GST certificate shared with freelancers.
3. I think - Upwork can charge GST only on services provided to freelancers. i.e. GST only on the sliding-fee/commission (not the entire payment), and other purchases from freelancers.


For freelancers located in India:
- Do not register for GST if you are not liable/required to register based on the current situation. Registration is simple, but GST filing and documentation is a pain *** and will put a hole in your pocket (expect anywhere between 12K to 35K INR annual costs for an accountant)


P.S: It is good to see that Upwork is streamlining the legal aspects. Upwork's Local Bank Tranfer (in India) puts it in the pseudo-legal range and makes Upwork a local money-broker liable to register for GST and could be accidentally violating FEMA (because of no FIRCs). Upwork might want to look into that aspect too.