The worst affected people from the pandemic have been the businessmen. The imposed lockdown has brought several financial and fiscal challenges. However, the Ministry of Finance has constantly endeavoured to support taxpayers by introducing various initiatives that facilitate compliance.
Several measures have been introduced by CBIC including, 24×7 Customs functioning, introducing single window helpdesk, nodal officers at all locations. Recently, CBIC, through a series of notifications, granted exemption from customs duty and IGST on specified COVID-19 material donated from abroad. It also promoted speedy customs clearance for all COVID-19 related imports made by the Red Cross Society.
CBIC had also introduced a distinct drive to prioritise disposal of pending customs refund, IGST refund and customs duty drawback claims through Instructions No.03/2020-Customs and No.2/1/2020-GST, both dated 09.04.2020. CBIC conducted this drive within the time frame of 08.04.2020 to 30.04.2020.
To continue the special drive introduced last year, CBIC has introduced another measure through Instruction No. 10/2021-Customs on 13th May 2021 . It focuses on the speedy disposal of pending GST refunds, including duty drawbacks, with its special focus on MSMEs.
A “Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive” has begun on 15th May 2021 which will continue till 31st May 2021. The Principal Chief Commissioners/ Chief Commissioners are authorised to monitor the drive daily. The ministry will coordinate with export trade and industry associations to obtain requisite documents.
However, one must keep the following things in mind:
- This special drive has been introduced to accelerate only refund claims that were pending as on 14th May 2021.
- One can effectively carry out all communications through email, and all documents can be submitted electronically. Hearings can be attended through video conferencing. One can find their jurisdictional Commissioner’s email id through https://www.cbic.gov.in/.
- All drawback and refund requests must be thoroughly reviewed and processed on merit basis.
- If deficiency memo or acknowledgement is not issued in terms of Para 4C of Circular No. 125/44/2019 – GST, one must submit a request letter to expedite the refund.
- If a deficiency memo is issued due to errors or incomplete documents, one must file a new application along with a request letter to issue a refund.
- One should not compromise and exercise a laid back approach while following any relevant GST provisions, notifications, circulars and instructions.
We can conclude that with the introduction of this drive, the CBIC wants to focus on small taxpayers and MSMEs. Taxpayers are encouraged to take an effective part in this drive to enjoy maximum benefits.