Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad in the city will soon have goods and service tax (GST) refund counters for foreign tourists.The customs department along with the GST authorities is working on to provide GST refund to foreign tourists who purchase goods in India. Though the Act has a provision for refund of GST, it has not been made operational so far.
Sources in the customs said countries like Singapore are already refunding GST at their airports. “We are working on a mechanism for refunding GST to foreign tourists. A refund kiosk will be set up at the Hyderabad airport apart from other major airports,” a source said. At Changi Airport in Singapore, electronic GST refund kiosks were set up to help foreign tourists to avail themselves of refund. Senior officials said the move will help in boosting the tourism sector.
As per Section 15 of Integrated GST Act, a tourist is a person who is not a resident of India and entered India for less than six months legally for non immigration purposes. The section further adds that foreign tourists leaving India will get a tax refund on any goods purchased, but there is no refund on services. A customs official said: “Once we set up the counter and systems are in place, foreign tourists can claim a refund at the customs area by submitting the original bills of the goods purchased.”However, officials are yet to clarify applicability of GST refund to NRIs.