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Clear exporters pending claims, GST panel tells government
September, 23rd 2017

A panel set up by the GST (goods and services tax) Council, the federal indirect tax body, has urged Union and state tax administrations to clear pending tax refund claims of exporters from the pre-GST period, even as ways of processing newer claims are being figured out, according to an official statement.

“The authorities of state governments as well as the central government have been requested to clear the pending refund claims of central excise and value added tax for the pre-GST period, so that exporters will get immediate relief,” said the statement.

The suggestion from the panel led by revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia is in response to exporters’ concerns about their capital getting stuck on account of technical glitches in the IT system backing GST.

Keen to revive the economic growth rate that slowed to 5.7% in the June quarter from 6.1% in the preceding three months, the government is open to extending all support to exporters.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said in Mumbai on Friday that the government is considering options to help the export industry and added that the commerce ministry is looking into the matter.

The finance ministry statement said that the panel has already discussed methods of resolving the issue of blockage of refunds to exporters. “The committee would present the solution to exporters’ problems before the GST Council as soon as possible,” it said.

It also said that the problem of tax refunds getting blocked is “not as grievous as it is made out to be”. If necessary, refunds will be processed through a manual procedure, added the statement.

The ministry pointed out that the Rs65,000 crore tax rebate claimed by taxpayers in July for central taxes paid in the previous indirect tax system was actually their balance of credit after having paid their due taxes for the first month of GST roll-out.

“It may be clarified that an amount of Rs95,000 crore, which was received in the month of August 2017 for GST, is the amount actually paid in cash other than availing credit,” the ministry clarified, rejecting the idea that rebate claims have eaten into July tax proceeds.

An official in the ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that out of the total rebate sought by businesses, some claims relate to cess paid earlier, for which credit is not available. That has led to officials deciding to verify high-value claims, added the official.

The transition credit claimed is not incredibly high, since Rs1.27 trillion of credit of central excise and service tax was lying as closing balance as on 30 June, 2017, said the ministry. Businesses have time till October-end to correct any erroneous rebate claims.

“The government has clarified that the Rs95,000 crore of GST proceeds for the month of July is cash collection after adjusting any credit that the taxpayer would have claimed, said Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY India.

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