Errors in GST returns filing are coming in the way of disbursing tax refunds to exporters covered by the goods and services tax regime, according to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairperson Vanaja Sarna.
In an interview, Sarna said a third of the total dues to exporters have already been disbursed as the documents are clear.
Claims worth more than Rs4,000 crore for dues under integrated GST (IGST) have been processed, she said. Total IGST refunds due to exporters since July, the first month of the tax, stand at about Rs13,000 crore.
GST Network, the company that processes tax returns under the new indirect tax regime, is unable to process the remaining claims on account of errors and mismatches in the returns filed.
“Our officers are working 24×7 to make sure that taxpayers rectify the errors in their returns so that we can disburse the refunds,” Sarna said, adding that multiple outreach programmes have been held to get these errors corrected.
She added that errors in GST returns pertaining to either the summary of transactions, purchases, sales or a comprehensive filing of transactions are causing delays in processing the claims.
While large businesses carry out these filings every month, businesses up to Rs1.5 crore in sales are allowed to file on a quarterly basis.
Taxes that go into export production are refunded to ensure that exports remain competitive in international markets. The GST Council, the federal indirect tax body chaired by finance minister Arun Jaitley, has been making efforts to minimize delays so that exporters do not face any liquidity crunch. The council is working on evolving an e-wallet facility to solve the issue of refunds.
Ajay Sahai, director general and chief executive officer of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said that procedures need to be simplified to ensure that exporters, who have already paid taxes are issued refunds expeditiously. “In the absence of quick refunds, small and medium enterprises may be forced to forgo export orders, preventing them from participating in global economic growth,” Sahai said.