Local exporters urged GST authorities to expedite tax refund, as it is depriving them of critical working capital. They complained that, in spite of appearing in person and presenting physical documents, refunds have been pending for months together. According to a senior Customs official, close to Rs 832 crore worth of refunds were released in past eight days, a system would be in place to resolve issues via e-mails and the relevant e-mail addresses would be put on the website of Customs Commissionerate.
The complaints were raised during an Interactive Session on IGST Refunds with PVR Reddy, Chief Commissioner of Customs of Gujarat Zone, jointly organized by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and Gujarat Dye-stuffs Manufacturers Association (GDMA) on Monday in the city.
GCCI president Shailesh Patwari complained that with Integrated GST (IGST) refunds being blocked for months together, exporters are deprived of their working capital and are handicapped in honouring new orders.
Nayan Sheth, chairman of GST Committee of GCCI, highlighted a number of bottlenecks that have blocked the refunds but said most of the problems are related to technology systems that are the backbone of governance in GST. Later, replying to the queries raised by exporters and tax practitioners, Reddy informed that since the rollout of GST in July last year, close to 1.3 lakh shipping bills have been generated in Gujarat, which is second highest in the country. Of these, close to 91,000 have been disposed of.
“Refunds are blocked because of the mismatch of the data. Exporters can revise the filings for shipping bills up to April 30, now,” he said, assuring that no officer in the entire hierarchy has any discretionary powers to withhold the refunds or clear them, as everything is system driven.
Exporters complained about lack of exchange of data between GSTN and the IT system of Customs department. When exporters complained about the necessity to be present in person to submit physical document to rectify the mismatch, Reddy told them to submit the documents via e-mail. Later, talking to the media he said soon e-mail addresses of respective authorities will be put on the website of the commissionerate and exporters can even approach his office.