The disbursement of refunds to exporters under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that started from October 10 has been hit by a matching error. A mismatch between the number quoted by exporters in the Export General Manifest (EGM) and the corresponding invoice in GSTR-1 has slowed down the process of disbursement of refunds to exporters on Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid by them, two senior government officials said.The government has so far sanctioned about Rs 150 crore out of total claim of Rs 753 crore of Integrated GST (IGST) paid on exports in July, the officials said, adding that now the effort is to reach out to exporters for cases where the mismatch has been detected.
“About Rs 150 crore has been released for July to exporters. This pertained to those cases where there was no discrepancy between the number quoted on EGM and the invoice number in GSTR-1. The Customs authorities were able to match both the numbers and hence, the refund was cleared. Rest of the amount is held up because of the matching errors,” one of the officials cited above said.
The official added that the Customs authorities have been instructed to reach out to the exporters for whom mismatches have been detected. “The government’s intention is to release the refund as soon as possible but certain processes have to be followed. The mismatches have created a need for verification with some exporters,” another official said.
Federation of Indian Exports Organisation Director General and CEO Ajay Sahai concurred that there could be some lapses from the side of exporters and they are taking steps to sensitise exporters about the possible errors that may result in blocking of refunds. “The government has refunded about Rs 150 crore. The 10-digit number in EGM, which is a proof for exports, is entered manually by the Customs and there could be some errors there as well. So, there are technical challenges which need to be dealt on a war footing. We, along with other trade bodies, are trying to sensitise exporters about the errors so that the mismatches can be reduced. The common objective of the government and the exporters is to ensure refunds and that process should be expedited,” he said.
As per CGST Rules, shipping bill filed by an exporter shall be deemed to be an application for refund of IGST on goods exported out of India and once EGM and valid GST return has been filed. In instructions issued to Customs authorities by CBEC on October 9, the CBEC had said that filing of correct EGM is a must for treating shipping bill or bill of export as a refund claim.
In pursuance of the decisions taken in the previous GST Council meeting on October 6, the government had started the process of refund for July from October 10, but the process of refund for IGST paid on exports in August is yet to start. On October 6, after the GST Council meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the data for blocked credit of exporters is available electronically but the electronic refund process was being prepared and that it may take some time. Till that time, he had said, state government officials and central government officials would be cross empowered to enable the process of refunds. Jaitley had also said that the refunds for July would be paid to exporters from October 10 and for August from October 18 via cheques.
The electronic facility for exporters to claim refunds for GST paid in August and September would be launched by GSTN this week, its chief executive officer Prakash Kumar told PTI on Monday.
Before GST, exporters enjoyed upfront tax exemption on exported goods, but under GST, they are required to pay taxes before procurement of goods and services. They can avail input tax credit after sale within the domestic tariff area or after sending their shipments outside the country and can then claim the unutilised credit as refund, a process in which their working capital was getting blocked with the government and raising their operating cost. FIEO had claimed that if refunds do not start flowing immediately, then about Rs 60,000-65,000 crore would be stuck by the end of October, following which the GST Council had approved the sops for exporters in its last meeting held earlier this month.