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GST exemption for exporters extended by six months

Published: Mar 10, 2018

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, MAR 10, 2018: THE GST Council held its 26th meeting today, wherein it decided to extend the GST exemption for exporters for a further period of six months, beyond March 31, 2018, sending a strong positive signal to the exporting community. Thus, exporters presently availing various export promotion schemes can now continue to avail such exemptions on their imports upto 01.10.2018, by which time an e-Wallet scheme is expected to be in place to continue the benefits in future.

In a related development which would benefit the exporters, the Council reviewed the progress in grant of refunds to exports of both IGST and Input Tax Credit. The Council appreciated that the pace of grant of IGST refund has picked up. Thereafter, the Council directed GSTN to expeditiously forward the balance refund claims to the Customs/Central GST/State GST authorities, as the case may be, for their immediate sanction and disbursal.

It may be recalled that in its meeting held on October 06, 2017 the Council had noted that exporters are experiencing difficulties of cash blockage on account of having to upfront pay GST or IGST on the inputs and raw materials, finished goods imported/procured for purposes of exports. An interim solution was found by re-introducing the pre-GST tax exemptions on such imports. Additionally, for merchant exporters a special scheme of payment of GST @ 0.1% on their procured goods was introduced. Also, domestic procurement made under Advance Authorization, EPCG and EOU schemes were recognized as 'deemed exports' with flexibility foreither the suppliers or the exportersbeing able to claim a refund of GST & IGST paid thereon. All these avenues were made available upto March 31, 2018.

The permanent solution agreed to by the Council was to introduce an e-Wallet scheme w.e.f. April 01, 2018. The e-Wallet scheme is basically the creation of electronic e-Wallets, which would be credited with notional or virtual currency by the DGFT. This notional & virtual currency would be used by the exporters to make the payment of GST or IGST on the goods imported or procured by them so their funds are not blocked.

On December 16, 2017, Finance Secretary constituted a Working Group with representatives of Central and State Governments to operationalize the e-Wallet scheme. After reviewing the progress, the Council noted that whereas some preparatory work had been done, more needs to be done to address a large number of technical, legal and administrative issues that have been identified. The Council appreciated that this would require more time. The Council was also unanimous that there should be no disruption that may affect the exports. Accordingly, the Council agreed to defer the implementation of the e-Wallet scheme by 6 months i.e., upto October 01, 2018 and extend the present dispensation in terms of exemptions etc. which is available up to March 31, 2018, for a further 6 months i.e., upto October 10, 2018.