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inoactiv
Community Member

FIRC certificate from Upwork

Do anyone has any idea how to get an FIRC  Certificate(Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate) from earning of upwork.

As per GST LAW which is applicable from 1st July.  There is a 18% charge on any payments received as INR.

LFT payments are first converted from USD to INR and then it is transfered via bank to Indian bank. 

But when u receive payments in INR then it does'nt qualify for GST 18% tax relief.  Only the bank which does the converstion can provide this document. So local bank cannot provide since they received converted money only.

If we are able to get FIRC certificate then it can be proved that money was earned in foreign currency and it stands for tax relief.

Does anyone has any solution how freelancers from India can save there money from GST 18%

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

~Andrea
Upwork

View solution in original post

124 REPLIES 124
nipuntrivedi9
Community Member

When using LFT, the services you provided are not counted as "Export of services". It's because the money is not landed in India in USD. It's converted by Upwork's bank(wells fargo) to INR first and sent to their partner bank in India who further transfer INR amount to you.  Hence using LFT does not give relief in exempt from GST and you liable to pay 18% tax.

 

If you want to take exemption, you have to use wire transfer which satisfy the conditions of Export of services. Though it's costlier for small withdrawls but need to bear it to save 18% GST.

 

I hope it helps!

tristonsoft
Community Member

Hi Team, 
As we are India based company. we require to fill Softex. For this reason we need to submit FIRC from the receiver bank. I am not sure about others but whoever from India does work with foriegn need this FIRC copy to submit for compliance. 
Attaching one link for your ref what exactly we need. 
https://www.paypal.com/in/webapps/mpp/firc-certificate
I hope this would resolve and we would get a complate idea and flow to receive this. 
Thanks 
Sweety

Hi Mahendra,

 

Please follow up on instruction shared in this thread by Vladimir, submit a support request and our team will be able to advise you directly. Thank you.

~ Bojan
Upwork

Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. 

May I know how to submit a support request ?

Any updates on this. I really need FIRC for upwork payment. 
I am not sure about others reply .. 
It would be great if you can list me process here. 
Thansk !! 

ashishreddy
Community Member

I need FIRC (Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate) certificate for the work done and earnings in FY2014-2015.

 

I choose "Direct to Local Bank" transfer option. So need FIRC document from the intermediary bank that performed currency conversion (Dollars to INR), before transferring to my local bank account.

Hi Ashish,

 

One of our team members will reach out to you via ticket as soon as possible and assist you further. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

Hi Goran,

 

I would like to request a FIRC for my company too. Will you create a ticket or should I create one?

Hi Anmol,

 

I shared your concern with the rest of our team and one of our agents will reach out to you directly via a support ticket to assist you further.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork
asr28
Community Member

Hi,

I am not sure if someone found a solution to this problem ( payment is received in INR to direct bank account & getting FIRC smoothly ) as I can't see someone mentioning it here.
I reached to Upwork chat support and was told that I have to request to my bank. I contacted my bank, they told Standard Chartered Bank will provide the FIRC. Now here I read that Wells Fargo converts and transfers INR from the US. So the receiving bank in India gets money in INR and no chance of getting FIRC. So this means businesses like us are liable to pay 18% GST here in India?
Is there any webpage by Upwork that clearly states the process & the contact phone no. or email id of the concerned bank where we can request FIRC or a solution to this problem.
A solution to the problem or a clear process will be highly appreciated.

Simply use the wire transfer method for withdrawing funds. It will cost you
$30, but spare you from having to run around and contact various banks for
the FIRC.

With a wire transfer, your bank will receive USD and convert it into INR.
Hence, they will issue the FIRC to you.

Thanks Anthony for your prompt reply.

Wire transfer can be considered for future transactions, however I am asking for the transactions that are already done. I did local transfer in our financial year April 2019- March 2020 and now I have to file my company tax returns for which I need FIRC. I think Upwork should have been more friendly in providing such critical information as they know better about in & out of international businesses than small business houses like us.

While talking about wire transfer charges technically it is going to cost US$ 50-60. US$ 30 that Upwork is charging and rest US$ at our end while we receive the funds.
Can you help me with clear process to obtain FIRC for the local bank transfer that is already done? If there is no process or possibility to obtain FIRC for local bank transfer then I am sure everyone like me would be puzzled with the real utility of local bank transfer option, as everyone ( from India ) would have to pay 18% tax which in no case is profitable and suitable to any individual or business / agency.
Please help.

 

Hi,

Yes, we can hope that the entire bunch of parties involved could have been
friendlier and eased the process for freelancers. Unfortunately, the Indian
GST laws are our own burden and liability. Hence, they will not be
particularly concerned.

I had attached myself to this mailing list for FIRC queries back in 2017,
and have grown fed up with the same query appearing again and again. I
never bothered responding to any until this one. The reason: people want to
obtain FIRCs, but they will never want to consider losing $28 (Wire
transfer ($30) - Local bank transfer ($2)). Unfortunately, there's no other
workaround to this.

Thankfully, my CA told me back in 2017 (two months after GST launched, when
I had already made two local bank transfers) that I needed to obtain FIRCs
for those two transactions. I realised, after asking someone on Upwork
(much like you) that a wire transfer was the only way out.

I still went to Paypal, paid their charges and submitted the application
for obtaining an FIRC through my bank. What complicates matters is that
you cannot ask Paypal and correspond with them by yourself. You will need
to send the application and the FIRC charges through your bank and then,
the communication will take place between your bank and Upwork's bank.It is
a rigmarole process (this was in 2017) and I don't think it has changed.

Consider this: You will spend money on paying Paypal's fee for FIRC
charges. You will make at least two trips to your own bank for submitting
the application - which will have an implied cost and time associated with
it. Then, you will spend a long time communicating with Upwork's bank and
your own for the FIRC. All of these have a cost implication and a time
implication. If you can manage this, superb. Get ready for the process. If
not, you'll find that the $30 - $60 the wire transfer comes for is well
worth the legal implication.

My bank (HDFC) told me very clearly: It is the prerogative of the bank that
converts currency from USD to INR to issue the FIRC. So, if you do a local
bank transfer, the FIRC needs to come from Upwork's bank. But, (you can
check this, I haven't yet come across even one person who has obtained the
FIRC from Upwork's bank) Upwork's bank will not provide this. And, because
your bank receives money in INR, it will not provide an FIRC.

For this reason, I stopped doing local bank transfers AND accepting
payments via Paypal. Local bank transfers were fine in the pre-GST age. Not
any more. I did multiple rounds of my bank for obtaining the FIRC back in
2017. Even after paying the fee, I got a letter from Paypal (not from
Upwork's bank - they just don't provide FIRCs). That letter from Paypal was
silly - it mentioned the currency conversion and in the disclaimer stated
that it wasn't an FIRC. I was angry to say the least.

I would suggest that you speak to your CA about your tax implication for
the previous FY. I am surprised that a CA who manages the accounts of a
business house never informed you of the need for FIRCs. I am a solo
freelancer and each CA I have spoken to have brought up the FIRC issue
whenever I have tried to explain my work to them.

The clear process to obtain an FIRC will still involve asking Upwork to
share their bank communication details i.e. e-mail address of someone in
their (or the bank's) payroll, whom you can correspond with. Then, you will
need to explain that you need the FIRC - but I guess you have already
attempted this. Without speaking to someone from Upwork's bank, you can't
do anything - because your bank will not issue the FIRC (it received the
money in INR).

I would recommend that you budget and plan for paying the 18 percent tax.
It's not pleasant, but you should have the cash in case the tax authorities
get after you. I guess the only thing in your favour will be that you
export services, which are exempt from GST. Even so, if some officer
catches this, you might need to pay a bribe to resolve the case.

I would also recommend investing your time to find a good CA firm. A firm
that never bothered telling you about this at the outset clearly lacks
either the knowledge or the competence to manage your business.

Best,

Thanks Anthony for your inputs.

Earlier I thought you were from Upwork team, however later I realized the truth. The irony is nobody from Upwork team responded with a proper solution to this long pending and very important issue since 2017. The 'Direct to Local Bank' transfer of payment mode is not suitable to Indian freelancers as well as agencies. I am sure everyone who came to this discussion, must have struggled for the solution and had given up later. 

 

The real question is how come Upwork didn't take care of this very important issue and not providing other easy solutions to Indian freelancers/agencies like Payoneer. Though Upwork support forum shows Payoneer ( https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063988-Payoneer) as payment receiving mode however in India when clicking 'Get Paid' methods, Payoneer is not there. Payoneer offers free FIRC on their account.


So the bottom line is 'Direct to Local Bank' payment receiving method is not a useful method for Indian freelancers/agencies as this welcomes 18% GST. So for amounts greater than US$ 1000 Wire Transfer is the best method and for a lesser amount, PayPal is best as PayPal overall charges land up between 6.5% - 7.5%.
If someday Upwork support people check this message, I request them to look and resolve this long pending issue with a clear process ( it won't cost them to float a url ) and would make business easy and more respectable.

sachings
Community Member

I have a solution to get automated FIRC and get the payment transferred to your bank account without any additional fees. 

 

Payoneer provides FIRC document for every transaction (for India- through ICICI bank). But Upwork does not support Payoneer as one of the payments methods. Follow the below steps to make payment transfer between Upwork with Payoneer.

 

1) Get your account registered and verified at https://www.payoneer.com/

2) Register for Local US Bank account (ACH) - its free Smiley Happyhttps://www.payoneer.com/in/solutions/global-payment-service/

Screenshot 2020-06-13 at 7.52.23 PM.png

3) Add this newly created bank account as your default bank account in Upwork. Please note that the payment transfer from Upwork to US bank account is free Smiley Happy.

Screenshot 2020-06-13 at 7.42.35 PM.png

4) Get the payment transferred to your ACH bank account and from there to your local bank account without any additional cost Smiley Happy . Also, you get FIRC certificate for free Smiley Happy (fees may be added in the future)

Screenshot 2020-06-13 at 7.47.14 PM.png

 

 

 

mntolia
Community Member

While Payoneer doesn't charge a fee for the bank transfer they do give about 1.5 - 2% less INR than the day's exchange rate. 

Also how did you verify the Payoneer bank account on upwork?

mamodiya
Community Member

I am also strugling for FIRC. and the informatin provide by the upwork, I have forwared to my bank ( ICICI) still my bank unable to provide me and other hand I am getting notice from the Govt. department.

 

I am realy helpless, Not sure where to go. Upwork says they will not provide and bank says they are not resposible for that , God only know where to go.

 

I also belive Upwork should provide us FIRC from his patner bank, anyway as per this thread discussion finally request should go to Upwork parner bank then logically Upwork should provide FIRC.

 

 

mntolia
Community Member

My accountant told me I can show the earnings proof generated by Upwork in Reports -> Certificate of Earnings. 

If notice comes from the Govt. department they will ask for FIRC along with Invoice

 

Is there any way we can direct request Well Forgo bank for FIRC

Any Idea when Upwork start supporting Payoneer for Indian freelancer. I see it is being supported for some of countries

 

Hello Mamta,

 

Recently I am facing same issues. Please let me know whether you have found any solution for this. From where we can get FIRC ? 

Hi Nilay,

 

One of our team members already reached out to you directly via this support ticket to assist you further.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork

Hi Mamta,

Recently even I got a notice from service tax deparment and they are asking for FIRC. Did you manage to get it? I am using Direct to Local Bank transfer for past few years.

Hi Mamta,

 

Were you able to resolve this issue? Did Upwork or its partner bank provided FIRC?

How did the notice from governmwnt authorities ended? I mean, did they accept any of your proofs or they fined you?

 

I'm exactly in the same scenario where FIRC for past documents can save me else I've pay the penalties!

Hi Hariharan and Mukesh,

 

One of our team members will reach out to you via ticket as soon as possible and assist you further.

 

Thank you.

Pradeep



Upwork

can someone reach out to me as well and provide a solution to FIRC??

~Andrea
Upwork

Did you had any luck with FIRC or with the authorities? I have been withdrawing money using local transfer from last few years and I am really worried that I will also end with in the same situation. Did you pay penalties or were you able to convince authorities?

This seems to be a great hack. Any idea what for $1000 withdrawal what could be the difference between Wire Transfer and through Payoneer?

Anthony,

 

I used to receive funds using LFT prior to GST registration. After regsitering with GST, I'm receiving funds using wire transfer. Should I try to get FIRC for the LFT I did prior to the GST period. I mean for the year 2016 to 2017.

Hi Anthony, that's a very helpful post. One quick related question - what should be entered in the "Memo" field while setting up the Wire Transfer?

Hi Abhishek, Is this solved yet? I am in the same boat and HDFC has refused to issue FIRC and asking me to contact intermediate Standard Chartered Bank. I have been withdrawing money via Local Transfer all these years and if FIRC is not issued, it will be a huge issue. I definitely will take it legally as eventually payments are coming from US only and we have fundamentally done nothing wrong.

Hi Ashish,

 

were you able to sort this out. I am also in in the same situation as central excise dept asked me to produce the firc. they also told me - unless it is directly from the company I am working for it will not be consider.

 

Thanks

Nothing!! Literally nothing - for a company as big as Upwork and have such
disappointing support regarding such an important legal and government
certificate is utterly sad and annoying at the same time!

Gayathri,

 

Were you able to solve the issue? You are looking to get FIRC after GST implementation (july 2017) or dates prior to that?

Hi Sridhar,

 

I checked and it seems that you already created a support ticket regarding your concern. Please allow more time for our team to review your case and respond accordingly to your ticket. You will be notified of their response.

 

Thank you,

~ Nikola
Upwork
nsaklecha
Community Member

Hi Angad,

Were you able to conclude on the approach to avoid GST, is it possible to connect on call?

 

Thanks

Nitin 

raturi002
Community Member

Hello Upwork team, 

 

I am also having the same issue, I am using Local bank transfer to my ICICI bank and receiving payments in INR. So I need FIRC certificate for my Upwork earnings.

From now on I will be using WIRE transfer but for previous earnings, I need these certificates to show as proof of export of services while filing GST returns.

 

Please reply as soon as possible 

 
~Andrea
Upwork
515b0fa7
Community Member

Based on the conversation, it looks like Upwork is not the right platform for Indian exporters to get paid. FIRA (Formerly FIRC) is a legal document every Indian Software exporter must possess and file through SOFTEX to STPI according to FEMA act.

 

https://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/content/pdfs/14MC290613_A8.pdf

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