The Department of Revenue has promised to refund tax claims of exporters within seven days under the new GST regime, thus addressing a major concern of the sector, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. The minister also said that exporters would get interest on the refund if it is delayed beyond two weeks.
Exporters have been demanding ab-initio exemption from payment of taxes under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime arguing that delay in refunds often takes months and also results in blocking the working capital. They also stated that exports need to be encouraged in view of the global slowdown. The minister recently raised the issues of exporters in the GST Council meeting.
The concern of the exporters was that the refund should not take too long, she told reporters after chairing the meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion here today. In today’s meeting, the exporters were assured “that on 90 per cent of the amount (of refund), within seven days, the refund will be made and if there is an undue delay, interest will be paid on the amount due,” Sitharaman said.
Elaborating on the issue, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the Department of Commerce has been taking up this matter with the Department of Revenue (DoR). “GST clearly provides that the taxes must be paid and that the refund will be provided. So since the regime is so structured, in order to see that there is minimum pain to the exporters, what the DoR has committed that 90 per cent of the refund will be made within seven days. Delays beyond that would invite interest payment,” she said. She said the remaining 10 per cent will be subject to whatever verification revenue department is required to do. “This assurance satisfies the exporters,” she added.
Revenue department will work on the details to ensure that exporters do not suffer because of delay in refund. Teaotia said exporters will get interest if the refund is delayed beyond two weeks. “The issue about interest payment, what that amount would be and whether it would kick in after two weeks…that detail DoR would decide,” the Commerce Secretary said.
Further, the secretary said that on the issues related to tax treatment of SEZs under GST, the Department of Commerce has made representations before the GST Council. “We are looking for favourable consideration of our submissions,” she said.
The Commerce and Industry Ministry has recently suggested to the GST Council to exempt leather and plantations sector from the GST ambit.