The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has sanctioned nearly Rs 3,000 crore of refunds to exporters during the fortnightly drive undertaken by the indirect tax department from March 15 to resolve the issue of pending refunds. This is likely to ease working capital crunch being experienced by exporters since the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) on July 1 last year. In the weekly letter to officials, CBEC chairperson Vanaja Sarna said total IGST refund sanctioned till Wednesday was Rs 7,632 crore, which includes Rs 5,339 crore cleared for disbursal to exporters before the drive began. Similarly, the department has now sanctioned Rs 5,007 crore as ITC refunds, including Rs 633 crore successfully processed in last two weeks. This takes the total sanctioned refunds to Rs 12,639 crore.
At the start of this month, exporters had claimed about Rs 13,000 crore as refunds in lieu of integrated GST paid on exporting goods and for GST paid on inputs. While it was easier for the tax department to sanction input tax credit (ITC) refund, IGST refunds hit a wall because of mismatches between details in claim application filed with GST Network and the customs department. This led to the GSTN system not clearing many claims for sanction of refunds.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister held a meeting on the issue, which was followed by the announcement of tax department about a fortnight-long drive to help exporters correct mistakes manually on the IT system. To further help exporters, the CBEC will keep its designated offices open on Saturday, Sarna said.