The necessary capabilities for making the refund procedure fully electronic, have been deployed on the common portal with effect from 26.09.2019. Accordingly, the Circulars issued earlier laying down the guidelines for manual submission and processing of refund claims need to be suitably modified and a fresh set of guidelines needs to be issued for electronic submission and processing of refund claims.

With this objective and in order to ensure uniformity in the implementation of the provisions of law across field formations, the Board hereby lays down the procedure for electronic submission and processing of refund applications in supersession of earlier Circulars which are as  follows:-

However, the provisions of the said Circulars shall continue to apply for all r efund applications filed on the common portal before 26.09.2019 and the said applications shall continue to be processed manually as prior to deployment of new system.

The important clarifications in relation to the export and refund has been discussed below:

1. What documents need to be provided by the applicant while submitting the Form RFD 01A?

FORM GST RFD-01 shall be filled along with filing of statements/declarations / undertakings, and also uploading of other documents/invoices which shall be required to be provided by the applicant for processing of the refund claim.

A comprehensive list of such documents is provided at Annexure-A and it is Clarified that no other document needs to be provided by the applicant at the stage of filing of the refund application. Neither the refund application in FORM GST RFD-01 nor any of the supporting documents shall be required to be physically submitted to the office of the jurisdictional proper officer.

2. Once the deficiency memo is issued against refund application by the proper officer, whether he could serve another deficiency memo with respect to the application for the same period?

It is Clarified that once an application has been submitted afresh, pursuant to a deficiency memo, the proper officer will not serve another deficiency memo with respect to the application for the same period, unless the deficiencies pointed out in the original deficiency memo remain un-rectified, either wholly or partly, or any other substantive deficiency is noticed subsequently.

It is also Clarified a fresh rectified refund application submitted after correction of deficiencies, shall also have to be submitted within 2 years of the relevant date, as defined in the explanation after sub-section (14) of section 54 of the CGST Act.

3. Doubts get raised as to whether provisional refund would be given even in those cases where the proper officer prima-facie has sufficient reasons to believe that there are irregularities in the refund application which would result in rejection of whole or part of the refund amount so claimed?

It is Clarified that in such cases, the proper officer shall refund on a provisional basis ninety percent of the refundable amount of the claim .i.e.

Refundable amount = Amount of refund claim – the inadmissible portion of refund

in accordance with the provisions of rule 91 of the CGST Rules. Final sanction of refund shall be made in accordance with the provisions of rule 92 of the CGST Rules.

It is further Clarified that there is no prohibition under the law preventing a proper officer from sanctioning the entire amount within 7 days of the issuance of acknowledgement If the proper officer is fully satisfied about the eligibility of a refund claim on account of zero-rated supplies, and is of the opinion that no further scrutiny is required. In such cases, the issuance of a provisional refund order in FORM GST RFD-04 will not be necessary.

4. Whether adjustment or withholding of refund, as provided under sub- sections (10) and (11) of section 54 of the CGST Act, shall be allowed in respect of the amount of refund which has been provisionally sanctioned?

It is Clarified that no adjustment or withholding of refund, as provided under sub- sections (10) and (11) of section 54 of the CGST Act, shall be allowed in respect of the amount of refund which has been provisionally sanctioned. In cases where there is an outstanding recoverable amount due from the applicant, the proper officer, instead of granting refund on provisional basis, may process and sanction refund on final basis at the earliest and recover the amount from the amount so sanctioned.

5. While filing the return in FORM GSTR-3B for a given tax period, Mistakenly they have shown such supplies in the Table under column 3.1(a) instead of showing them in column 3.1(b) of FORM GSTR-3B whilst they have shown the correct details in Table 6A or 6B of FORM GSTR-1 for the relevant tax period and duly discharged their tax liabilities. Whether such registered persons can file the refund application in FORM GST RFD-01A for refund in the above situation?

Such registered persons were earlier unable to file the refund application in FORM GST RFD-01A for refund of integrated tax paid on the export of services or on supplies made to a SEZ developer or a SEZ unit on the GST common portal because of an in-built validation check in the system which restricted the refund amount claimed (integrated tax/cess) to the amount of integrated tax/cess mentioned under column 3.1(b) of FORM GSTR- 3B (zero rated supplies) filed for the corresponding tax period.

In this regard, it is Clarified that for the tax periods commencing from 01.07.2017 to 30.06.2019, such registered persons shall be allowed to file the refund application in FORM GST RFD-01 on the common portal subject to the condition that the amount of refund of integrated tax/cess claimed shall not be more than the aggregate amount of integrated tax/cess mentioned in the Table under columns 3.1(a), 3.1(b) and 3.1(c) of FORM GSTR-3B filed for the corresponding tax period.

6. Whether adjustment of refund amount against any outstanding demand under the existing law can be done?

The provisions relating to refund provide for partial as well as complete adjustment of refund against any outstanding demand under GST or under any existing law. It is hereby Clarified that both partial or complete adjustment of sanctioned amount of refund against any outstanding demand under GST or under any existing law would be made in FORM GST RFD-06. Furthermore, the CGST Act provides for recovery of any tax, interest, fine, penalty or any other amount recoverable under the existing law as an arrear of tax under GST unless such amount is recovered under the existing law. It is hereby Clarified that adjustment of refund amount against any outstanding demand under the existing law can be done.

7. How the equivalent amount to the refund is to be debited from the electronic credit ledger of the applicant?

After calculating the refund amount, the equivalent amount is to be debited from the electronic credit ledger of the applicant in the following order:

1. Integrated tax, to the extent of balance available;

2. Central tax and State tax/Union Territory tax, equally to the extent of balance available and in the event of a shortfall in the balance available in a particular electronic credit ledger (say, Central tax), the differential amount is to be debited from the other electronic credit ledger (i.e., State tax/Union Territory tax, in this case).

The order of debit described above is not presently available on the common portal. Till the time such facility is made available on the common portal, the taxpayers are advised to follow the order as explained above for all refund applications.

However, for applications where t his order is not adhered to by the applicant, no adverse view may be taken by the tax authorities. The above system validations are being Clarified so that there is no ambiguity in relation to the process through which an application in FORM GST RFD-01 is generated.

8. Requirement to give a self-declaration at the time of submission of LUT that he has not been prosecuted in respect every refund claim, where the exports have been made under LUT, is warranted or not?

Para 2(d) of the Circular No. 8/8/2017-GST dated 04.10.2017, mentions that a person intending to export under LUT is required to give a self-declaration at the time of submission of LUT that he has not been prosecuted. Persons who are not eligible to export under LUT are required to export under bond. It is Clarified that this requirement is already satisfied in case of exports under LUT and asking for self–declaration with every refund claim where the exports have been made under LUT is not warranted.

9. Where the refund of unutilized input tax credit on account of export of goods is claimed and the value declared in the tax invoice is different from the export value declared in the corresponding shipping bill under the Customs Act, refund claims are not being processed?

The matter has been examined and it is Clarified that the zero-rated supply of goods is effected under the provisions of the GST laws. An exporter, at the time of supply of goods declares that the goods are meant for export and the same is done under an invoice issued under rule 46 of the CGST Rules. The value recorded in the GST invoice should normally be the transaction value as determined under section 15 of the CGST Act read with the rules made thereunder. The same transaction value should normally be recorded in the corresponding shipping bill / bill of export.

During the processing of the refund claim, the value of the goods declared in the GST invoice and the value in the corresponding shipping bill / bill of export should be examined and the lower of the two values should be taken into account while calculating the eligible amount of refund.

10. Whether the realization of consideration is a pre-condition to the export?

It is Clarified that the realization of consideration in convertible foreign exchange, or in Indian rupees wherever permitted by Reserve Bank of India, is one of the conditions for export of services. In case of export of goods, realization of consideration is not a pre-condition.

In rule 89(2) of the CGST Rules, a statement containing the number and date of invoices and the relevant Bank Realization Certificates (BRC) or Foreign Inward Remittance Certificates (FIRC) is required in case of export of services whereas, in case of export of goods, a statement containing the number and date of shipping bills or bills of export and the number and the date of the relevant export invoices is required to be submitted along with the claim for refund.

It is therefore Clarified that insistence on proof of realization of export proceeds for processing of refund claims related to export of goods has not been envisaged in the law and should not be insisted upon.

11. The requirement for furnishing a bond or LUT in case of zero-rated supply of exempted or non-GST goods shall be insisted upon or not?

It is Clarified that in respect of refund claims on account of export of non-GST and exempted goods without payment of Integrated tax; LUT/bond is not required. Such registered persons exporting non-GST goods shall comply with the requirements prescribed under the existing law (i.e. Central Excise Act, 1944 or the VAT law of the respective State) or under the Customs Act, 1962, if any. Further, the exporter would be eligible for refund of unutilized input tax credit of Central tax, State tax, Union Territory tax, Integrated tax and compensation cess in such cases.

12. Whether the refund of transitional credit is allowed?

Refund of unutilized input tax credit is allowed in two scenarios mentioned in sub-section (2) of section 54 of the CGST Act, i.e.

§  zero rated supplies made without payment of tax and

§  inverted tax structure.

In sub-rule (4) and (5) of rule 89 of the CGST Rules, the amount of refund under these scenarios is to be calculated using the formulae given in the said sub-rules.

The formulae use the phrase ‘Net ITC’ and defines the same as “input tax credit availed on inputs and input services during the relevant period other than the input tax credit availed for which refund is claimed under sub-rules (4A) or (4B) or both”.

It is Clarified that as the transitional credit pertains to duties and taxes paid under the existing laws viz., under Central Excise Act, 1944 and Chapter V of the Finance Act, 1994, the same cannot be said to have been availed during the relevant period and thus, cannot be treated as part of ‘Net ITC’ and thus no refund of such unutilized transitional credit is admissible.

13.Whether the GST allow refund of tax paid on input services or capital goods as part of refund of unutilized input tax credit?

Sub- section (59) of section 2 of the CGST Act defines inputs as any goods other than capital goods used or intended to be used by a supplier in the course or furtherance of business. Thus, inputs do not include services or capital goods. Therefore, clearly, the intent of the law is not to allow refund of tax paid on input services or capital goods as part of refund of unutilized input tax credit.

It is Clarified that both the law and the related rules clearly prevent the refund of tax paid on input services and capital goods as part of refund of input tax credit accumulated on account of inverted tax structure

14. It has been reported that, there are instances where taxes so deducted or collected is deposited under the wrong head (e.g. an amount deducted as Central tax is deposited as Integrated tax/State tax), thereby creating excess balance in the cash ledger of the deductor or the collector as the case may be. Doubts have been raised on the fate of this excess balance of TDS/TCS in the cash ledger of the deductor or the collector?

It is Clarified that such excess balance may be claimed by the tax deductor or the collector as the excess balance in electronic cash ledger. In this case, the common portal would debit the amount so claimed as refund. However, in case where tax deducted or collected in excess is also paid while discharging the liability in FORM GSTR 7 or FORM GSTR 8, as the case may be, and the said amount has been credited to the electronic cash ledger of the deductee, the deductee can adjust the same while discharging his output liability or he can claim refund of the same under the category “refund of excess balance in the electronic cash ledger”.

15. Whether supplies for exports at a concessional rate of 0.05% or 0.1% is optional or mandatory provision. Whether the exporter or supplier will be eligible for refund?

Notification No. 40/2017 – Central Tax (Rate) and notification No. 41/2017 – Integrated Tax (Rate) both dated 23.10.2017 provide for supplies for exports at a concessional rate of 0.05% and 0.1% respectively, subject to certain conditions specified in the said notifications.

It is Clarified that the benefit of supplies at concessional rate is subject to certain conditions and the said benefit is optional. The option may or may not be availed by the supplier and / or the recipient and the goods may be procured at the normal applicable tax rate.

It is also Clarified that the exporter will be eligible to take credit of the tax @ 0.05% / 0.1% paid by him. The supplier who supplies goods at the concessional rate is also eligible for refund on account of inverted tax structure as per the provisions of clause (ii) of the first proviso to sub-section (3) of section 54 of the CGST Act. It may also be noted that the exporter of such goods can export the goods only under LUT / bond and cannot export on payment of Integrated tax..

16. Whether the limit of rupees one thousand shall be applied for each tax head separately or cumulatively?

No refund shall be paid to an applicant, if the amount is less than one thousand rupees. In this regard, it is Clarified that the limit of rupees one thousand shall be applied for each tax head separately and not cumulatively.

17. It has been represented that on certain occasions, departmental officers do not consider ITC on stores and spares, packing materials, materials purchased for machinery repairs, printing and stationery items, as part of Net ITC on the grounds that these are not directly consumed in the manufacturing process and therefore, do not qualify as There are also instances where stores and spares charged to revenue are considered as capital goods and therefore the ITC availed on them is not included in Net ITC, even though the value of these goods has not been capitalized in his books of account by the applicant.

It is Clarified that the ITC of the GST paid on inputs, including inward supplies of stores and spares, packing materials etc., shall be available as ITC as long as these inputs are used for the purpose of the business and/or for effecting taxable supplies, including zero-rated supplies, and the ITC for such inputs is not restricted under section 17(5) of the CGST Act. Further, capital goods have been clearly defined in section 2(19) of the CGST Act as goods whose value has been capitalized in the books of account and which are used or intended to be used in the course or furtherance of business. Stores and spares, the expenditure on which has been charged as a revenue expense in the books of account, cannot be held to be capital goods.

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