GST refunds by 20 June 2018, commercial tax dept says

AHMEDABAD: In a recent circular issued by the State Commercial Tax Department on June 4, taxpayers have been assured that refunds pending under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will be processed in a fortnight – by June 20.
The announcement comes at a time when industries are reeling under working capital shortage, as their funds have been stuck up, with non-processing of refunds.

According to the data provided by the department, online applications for refunds cumulatively amounting to Rs 1,650 crore, have been received by the department.

“We have received applications for refunds amounting to Rs 1,650 crore. However, several applicants do not get physical verification of their documents done at the commercial tax department. So far, 6,093 applicants have got their documents verified.

These applications amount to a refund worth Rs 1,436 crore, and are in process,” said P D Vaghela, state commercial tax commissioner.

“We have already given sanctions for refund applications that amount to Rs 1,160. The rest will soon be processed. We’ve been closely monitoring applicants who have not got their documents processed and have contacted them on phone to put across an application for their refunds,” he added.

Interestingly, the circular also mentions, “According to Section 54(10) and Section 54(11) of the GST Act, the processing of the refunds will be suspended taking into account, a pending tax payment, if any, under GST regime or the previous tax regime.”

Tax professionals however, have expressed disappointment over such a clause. “Even if the commercial tax department is exercising its power to set-off the pending tax payment of the previous regime into the current one, they must send a notice to the taxpayer notifying this and seeking their consent,” said Varis Isani, president, Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association.

Justifying the decision, Vaghela said, “By law, we have migrated taxpayers from the previous regime to the current GST regime, without asking whether their tax dues were pending. One cannot evade taxes that are pending and as per the provision in the GST Act itself, we will stall refund processing of a taxpayer, if need be.”

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