The initial hurdles of GST refund for exporters are now showing some signs of ease. Mahavir Pratap Sharma, Chairman, Carpet Export Promotion Council looks back at the GST regime saying that the first nine months turned out to be a rather trying time. “I think it was the biggest challenge that we could have and, quite honestly, we as exporters were up in arms because of GST being deposited and exports hampered in the process. We took a beating because we had to park our funds and they got stuck,” he rues.
However, brighter days are there now with the process being seamless if all returns are duly filed. “Now, for the GST refund, if one is filing all returns in a perfect manner, if shipping bills are filed, if the shipment is on board and exported, then I think the refunds will take 3-4 days and I think every one is getting their refunds very easily,” adds Sharma.
There is a caveat though. For exports made under Letter of Undertaking (LUT) which is against a customs bond, exporters can claim refunds of an input tax credit on goods and services that aren’t utilized. “In such a situation, the money may be stuck for 3, 4 or even 15 days. So the LUT bit is still cumbersome with the paperwork to a certain extent required to be filed in the local office of the GST or the customs, whichever area that your unit falls under. That might take a few weeks to come by,” highlights Sharma.
There was also buzz about an e-wallet system under the GST last year which would come in handy for exporters facing working capital crunch with delayed GST refunds. However, this is yet to come through. Sharma is of the view that it makes sense for the government to create an online e-wallet which has been in the works since some time. “I think it is probably stuck somewhere in the legalities or the technology behind it and pretty soon the new government that comes in power should implement it. That would be of great help to the MSMEs and small businesses who face a shortage of capital. It is very important that this working capital blockage does not happen and I am sure pretty soon we will have this in place,” he asserts.
Source: Economic Times.