In a major relief to exporters, the Centre will now pay the input tax credit (ITC) refunds of state taxes, thereby reducing transaction time and costs, and manual interface in claim processing. As per the industry, there is a huge difference in the amount claimed, state goods and services tax (SGST) sanction amount received from the central tax authority and the amount actually disbursed. “The central government has been authorised to pay the amount of refund towards state taxes to the taxpayers,” according to the 2019-20 budget. At present, the taxpayers file refund claims with the central tax officer, who clears half the claims, and the rest are cleared by the state tax authorities, leading to higher time taken in claim processing and refund sanctioning. Exporters also say that ITC refund is partly electronic and partly manual.
The exporter files refund application at the portal, takes a printout along with acknowledgment and carries it to GST authorities in hard copy along with required documents, which too vary from authorities to authorities. The physical interface adds to the transaction time and cost. “The states and Centre did their own respective approval of ITC refund but now only one will approve both. This is a relief for exporters as it would reduce transaction time and costs,” said Ajay Sahai, director general at Federation of Indian Export Organisations. The breather comes as exporters grapple with tight credit norms amid slowing global trade growth. Total disbursement of export credit was Rs 7.38 lakh crore in December 2018, a decline of 20% on the year. Share of PSU banks in total disbursement of export credit declined from 65% in FY16 to 45% in FY18. Exporters have said the number of refund applications filed on the portal is lower than those received in the state tax office.