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Exporters claim Rs6,500 crore GST refund for July-October period

The revenue department and the exporters are sparring over unpaid refunds and tax credits that have accrued to businesses since Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented in July. The finance ministry put out a release saying that exporters have claimed integrated GST refunds of Rs 6,500 crore during the first four months of the rollout, while input credit claims added up to Rs 30 crore. But exporters contested the numbers. Citing discussions during an official meeting, exporters claimed that the finance ministry had said that Rs 6,500 crore was around 15% of the overall dues to exporters. "On this basis, the total outstanding refund would be to the tune of Rs 43,000 crore. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has no figure of GST refund due to services exports as the same is not routed through customs or where shipping bill is filed. The quarterly exports of services is to the tune of $50 billion," said a source. While the tax department advised exporters to file claims in proper form with matching shipping bills to facilitate early settlements, businesses said that problems with the system were making it tough to comply. Many exporters using inland container depots have told the commerce department that their IGST refund claims were not traceable. Since they have received duty drawback, the shipping bills have moved into 'history basket' of the system. As a result, export manifest at the gateway port, which is now being filed, is not getting linked with the shipping bill to facilitate the claim. "This was not told in July. Now, they want us to do all this but even that is not showing. CBEC is in denial mode and that makes it difficult to find an effective solution," said an exporter. On its part, the finance ministry said, exporters can upload the final sales return for August in GSTR-1 on GST Network (GSTN) portal from December 4. The CBEC had last month started refunds for exporters of goods who have paid IGST and have claimed refund based on shipping bills. Earlier this month, it allowed businesses making zero-rated supplies or those who have paid IGST on exports or those wanting to claim input credit to fill up a specified form.

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