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Photo: Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
Photo: Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

Exporters get back 94% of GST refund claims

Finance ministry says up to October-end ₹82,775 crore had been given as refunds to exporters by Union and state authorities

New Delhi:

Exporters have been given about 94% of the over 88,000 crore tax refunds demanded under the goods and services tax (GST) till October-end, the Union finance ministry said on Thursday.

Clearing pending refund claims removes a major cause of liquidity crunch that exporters have been complaining about since the launch of the new indirect tax system in July 2017. The settlement of tax dues to exporters comes as a result of a drive to help them rectify errors in their claims. Rules were eased in October 2017 and some self-policing features of GST were suspended to help exporters.

Taxes on raw material and services used in export production are refunded to keep exports competitive. 82,775 crore has been refunded to exporters by Union and state authorities up to the end of October, the ministry said. Pending claims worth 5,400 crore are being processed quickly to give relief to exporters, it added. “Refund claims without any deficiency are being cleared expeditiously," it said.

A large number of exporters are in the small and medium enterprises category, which the central government is keen to give relief to, considering their role in job creation.

In the case of businesses at large seeking refund of input taxes, the pendency is only 2,305 crore of a total claim of 42,145 crore. In case of refunds claimed on integrated GST, which is applicable on inter-state transactions, more than 93% of the 46,032 crore claims have been cleared, the ministry said.

Several safety features were suspended as businesses across the board faced difficulties in compliance during the initial months of the GST roll out. The authorities had also taken a lenient approach in enforcement. However, stagnation in tax revenues in recent months forced the central and state authorities to tighten enforcement measures.

This, together with festive demand, helped GST receipts cross 1 trillion in October, the second time since the tax reform was introduced.

In April, collections had crossed 1 trillion because of the spillover tax payments due in FY18. The shortfall so far this year from the targets has been at least 21,000 crore.

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