Thursday, October 8, 2015

GST REFUND Forms, Time Period, Supporting Documents, Sanction, Interest, Adjuestement, Recovery

The form should be simple to fill, easy to understand and more importantly, in the context of the technological world, it should be in electronic format. The forms for Refund Claim, Refund order and Reduction / Adjustment summary are enclosed as Annexure –IV to VII to this document.

View or Download GST Forms (Annexure-IV to VII)

TIME PERIOD FOR FILING OF REFUND AND RELEVANT DATE :

It is recommended that a period of one year from the relevant date may be allowed for filing of refund application. Relevant date for filing of each kind of refund needs to be defined separately. The following dates are recommended as relevant dates for different type of refund cases:
  1. Date of payment of GST when the refund arises on account of excess payment of GST due to mistake or inadvertence.
  2. Date on which proper officer under the Custom Act gives an order for export known as “LET EXPORT ORDER ” for the purpose of refund filed on account of export of goods under claim of rebate of GST paid on exported goods or refund of accumulated input credit of GST when goods are exported.
  3. Date of BRC in case of refund on account of export of services under claim of rebate of GST paid on exported services or refund of accumulated input credit of GST when services are exported. 
  4. Date of the finalization order where refund arises on account of finalization of provisional assessment. (May not be required if the GST law does not provide for provisional assessment)
  5. Date of communication of the appellate authority’s order where the refund arises in pursuance of an appellate authority’s order in favor of the taxpayer.
  6. Date of communication of adjudication order or order relating to completion of investigation when refund arises on account of payment of GST during investigation, etc. when no/less liability arose at the time of finalization of investigation proceedings or issuance of adjudication order.
  7. Date of providing of service (normally the date of invoice) where refund arises on account of accumulated credit of GST in case of a liability to pay service tax in partial reverse charge cases.
  8. Date of payment of GST for refund arising out of payment of GST on petroleum products, etc. to Embassies or UN bodies or to CSD canteens, etc. on the basis of applications filed by such persons.
  9. Last day of the financial year in case of refund of accumulated ITC on account of inverted duty structure.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS :

Documents evidencing tax payments required to be enclosed with the refund application should be minimal but adequate so that both the taxpayer and tax authority find it easy to deal with the application. Normally following documents are required to establish the rightful claim of refund:
  1. Copy of TR-6 / GAR-7/ PLA / copy of return evidencing payment of duty. It is recommended that these forms may not be called for as in the proposed GST scenario payment of duty will be in electronic mode and the same will be easily visible to the refund sanctioning authority on screen.
  2. Copy of invoices (in original) (for the purpose of evidencing the supply of goods and the fact that duty is not reflected in the same). It is noted that the IGST Committee has recommended that the taxpayers would upload their invoice details on monthly basis. Once the same is done and the refund sanctioning authority is able to examine and view them on screen then submission of invoices can be dispensed with. It was noted that the field relating to “Quantity” is not captured in the invoice details proposed to be uploaded either before or alongwith the Return. It was further noted that this information would be required in case of refund in relation to exports. The applicant for refund in such cases would submit the copies of the invoices or a statement containing details of quantity along with the refund application. Documents evidencing export. In the proposed GST scenario it is recommended that the ICEGATE and GSTN would be inter linked, and therefore these documents can be verified on line and therefore can be dispensed with.
  3. Documents evidencing that the tax burden has not been passed on to the buyer. Since GST is an Indirect tax, there will be a rebuttable presumption that the tax has been passed on to the ultimate consumer. Therefore there is a need for establishing that principle of “unjust enrichment” does not apply to the refund claim. It is recommended that a Chartered Accountant’s Certificate certifying the fact of non-passing of the GST burden by the taxpayer, being claimed as refund should be called for. The GST Law Drafting Committee may prescribe a threshold amount below which self-certification (instead of CA Certificate) would be sufficient.  
  4. Any other document as prescribed by the refund sanctioning authority. It is recommended that the state and central tax authorities together prescribe the documents that are required for demonstrating the legitimacy and correctness of refund claimed and checklists can be generated for refund sanctioning process.

RECEIPT OF REFUND APPLICATION AND PROCEDURE FOR GENERATING PROOF OF RECEIPT OF APPLICATION FOR REFUND :

It is recommended that the State Tax authorities shall deal with the SGST refund and Central Tax authorities shall deal with refund of CGST and IGST. The following procedure is proposed in this regard:
  1. Applicant may be given the option of filing refund application either through the GSTN portal or through the respective State / Central Tax portal. Filing through GSTN portal may be beneficial for those applicants whose refund relates to CGST / IGST as well as SGST or the refund arises in different State Tax jurisdictions. Instead of filing applications with different tax authorities, the same may be filed with the GSTN portal which will forward it to the respective tax authority.
  2. On filing of the electronic application, a receipt/ acknowledgement number may be generated and communicated to the applicant via SMS and email for future reference. A provision may be made to display the application for refund in dealer's online dashboard when he logs into the system.
  3. The “carry forward input tax credit” in the return and the cash ledger should get reduced automatically, if the application is filed at GSTN portal itself. In case the application is filed at the tax department portal, suitable integration of that portal with GSTN portal should be established to reduce/block the amount before taking up the refund processing.
  4. It should be clearly mentioned / highlighted that generation of this number does not in any way affirm the legality, correctness or completeness of the refund application.
NUMBER OF COPIES OF APPLICATIONS TO BE FILED :
As the filing of the electronic refund application is a preferred mode, filing of multiple copies of applications is not required.

REQUIREMENT FOR TAXPAYER TO KEEP A COPY OF REFUND APPLICATION FOR THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD :
Since the application for refund is expected to be filed electronically, the application form should have a print option along with the option for the applicant to download the same so that he can store the same for future reference and record. This would serve the purpose of record keeping for the applicant.

PROCEDURE AND TIME WITHIN WHICH PRELIMINARY SCRUTINY OF SUBMISSION OF THE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS IS CARRIED OUT :
After the receipt of the application in the jurisdictional officer’s menu, the same should be examined for deficiency, if any. Since the recommendation is to reduce the number of documents that are to be filed along with the application and most of the documents related to refund application will be available online, it is recommended that the preliminary scrutiny may be carried out within 30 common working days and deficiency, if any, should be communicated to the applicant directly from the respective tax portal. (In case refund relates to different jurisdictions or involves both central and state GST levy, then the said deficiency needs to be forwarded to GSTN also which will communicate the same to the corresponding tax authority relating to that refund).

It is recommended that tax authorities should make efforts to ensure that piece meal queries are avoided. Applicant may file his reply through the respective tax authority portal / GSTN. Any further queries should be raised only with the approval of higher authorities so that unnecessary queries are avoided. Once the refund application is found to be complete in all respect, the same may be communicated to applicant via SMS and e mail and the date of communication shall be considered as the relevant date for the purpose of time limit prescribed for sanctioning of refund and initiation of interest clause.

PROCEDURE  FOR  DEALING  WITH  REFUND  THEREAFTER  INCLUDING EXAMINATION OF PRINCIPLE OF  “UNJUST ENRICHMENT ” :

Once the refund application is found to be complete and the fact of completeness has been intimated to the applicant, the jurisdictional tax authority should examine the same in the light of the provisions of the GST Law relating to refund. Important parameters include the timeliness of refund application, tax payment, date of export (if relating to export), reasons for refund etc.

It is recommended that for the sake of uniformity, the state and central laws should have similar provisions.

As GST is an indirect levy, there is always a rebuttable presumption that the tax has been passed on to the ultimate consumer by the applicant. So it is essential that every refund application should be examined in light of the principle of “unjust enrichment” and the appropriate provisions may be incorporated in the GST law. The burden of discharging the obligation under “unjust enrichment” should be on the applicant and documents manifesting the same should be submitted along with the application. As discussed above, a Chartered Accountant’s Certificate certifying the fact of non-passing of the GST burden by the taxpayer, being claimed as refund should be submitted. The GST Law Drafting Committee may prescribe a threshold amount below which self-certification (instead of CA Certificate) would be sufficient.

If the refund is not found to be legal or correct for any reason, then the jurisdictional authority should issue Show Cause Notice (SCN) to the applicant and thereafter the refund will be kept in abeyance in the system till the SCN is adjudicated. In case, the refund application is found to be in order but does not satisfy the test of unjust enrichment, the refund amount, after sanction, would be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund. The GST Law Drafting Committee may examine whether such amount should be credited to Consumer Welfare Fund or to the consolidated fund of State / Union.

MINIMUM AMOUNT BELOW WHICH REFUND SHALL NOT BE GRANTED :

Filing of refund application and processing of the same involves investment of resources, in terms of time, money and manpower, by both the applicant and tax administration. Therefore the amount should not be meager enough to create uneconomical burden on the applicant as well as tax administration. Looking at the rising inflation, it is recommended that an amount in the range of Rs. 500-1000/- may be fixed below which refund shall not be granted. This limit should be uniform for both CGST/IGST and SGST.

SANCTIONING OF REFUND :

To make the process of refund hassle free, it is important that even this last stage of refund processing should be simple and free from human intervention so that the applicant may have a pleasant experience while dealing with tax authorities. Therefore it becomes significant that once the tax authority decides about sanctioning of the refund, the same shall be granted to the applicant promptly. For this it would be essential that the details of the bank account are sought from the applicant at the time of filing of the refund application itself so that the amount of refund can be transferred to the applicant electronically through NEFT /RTGS/ECS.

VERIFICATION AND CONTROL :

Every refund that is sanctioned would need to go through a process of review by higher authorities in order to ensure the correctness of the decision of refund sanctioning authority. So once the refund is sanctioned, the same shall be transferred through the IT system to the menu of the higher authority along with the documents on the basis of which decision was taken by the refund sanctioning authority. Any documents that were sought besides those in the application should also be forwarded manually to the higher authority for taking a decision about review of the order. It is essential that there is simultaneous flow of the refund documents in paper along with the electronic application to the audit section so that the process of post audit can be carried out concurrently.


It is recommended that looking at the higher level of compliance and self regulating mechanism in the form of system based ITC verification, uploading of sales and purchase invoices, reconciliation, compliance rating etc. post audit of refund application (and not of the accounts of the taxpayer)can be dispensed with if so decided by the respective Tax Jurisdiction for refunds upto Rs. One lakh for normal taxpayers and for refund upto Rs. 2 lakhs for certain prescribed categories of applicants (like public sector undertakings, applicants having the AEO Status, etc.) but the process of review of refund may be provided in the GST Law.



Besides this, for refund amounts exceeding a pre-determined amount a provision for pre-audit of refund application (and not of the accounts of the taxpayer) before the sanction of the refund may be provided for. Keeping in view the points mentioned above regarding increased compliance, self-regulation and system based verification, etc., it is recommended that the monetary limit for pre- audit of the refunds sanctioned may be kept at Rs. one crore or as may be decided by the respective Tax Jurisdiction. The procedure for pre- audit will be same as that for the post audit except that the application will have to move to and fro between the refund sanctioning authority and the audit authority before grant of refund. The GST Law may provide that the process of audit should be time bound with clearly defined timeline so that quality of audit does not suffer from insufficiency of time. 



It is recommended that either the review procedure or system of pre-audit & post-audit may be kept in the GST Law. GST Law Drafting Committee may provide for the appropriate provision.


INTEREST :


It is recommended that the GST Law may provide for a prescribed time limit of 90 days from the date of the system generated acknowledgment of refund application within which refund has to be paid. It may also be provided in the GST law that, interest clause will start automatically once the prescribed time limit for sanctioning of refund has been breached.


The issue relating to dealing with the refund cases in which refund application has been filed but the same is found to be incomplete or deficient was discussed. It is recommended that the GST Law may clearly specify that the time limit for payment of interest will start from the date of the electronically generated acknowledgement of the refund application signifying that the application is complete in all respects. The GST Law may also provide for a time limit of 30 days from the date of receipt of refund application for raising queries/ deficiency memos by tax authorities regarding incompleteness of the refund documents. Piecemeal queries must be avoided. Once the applicant files a reply to the deficiency memo and the refund application is found complete as per the prescribed documents, the same should be acknowledged electronically by the refund sanctioning authority and the time limit for interest will start from the date of such electronic acknowledgement.



It is recommended that the rate of interest for delayed payment of refund and that in case of default in payment of GST should be different. The Committee recommends that the rate of interest in case of refund may be around 6% and that in case of default in payment of interest may be around 18%. The GST Law may provide accordingly. The GST Law may also provide that the interest will accrue from the last date when refund should have been sanctioned even when the refund is ordered to be paid by the order of the appellate authority in the appeal filed by the applicant against order of rejection passed by the refund sanctioning authority. This would discourage refund sanctioning authority from rejecting refund claims on frivolous grounds.


ADJUSTMENT :

In some cases, the taxpayer may have outstanding demand under GST Act. The GST Law may provide for adjusting the refund claim against any amount of un -stayed confirmed demand lying beyond the appeal period. The refund order may clearly state the amount so adjusted and particulars of the adjusted demand may also be stated in the annexure to be attached with the order. Format of Application for refund and Refund order can be designed accordingly. Suggested format is enclosed as Annexure-IV to VI to this document.

RECOVERY OF ERRONEUS REFUND :

It is recommended that the GST law may provide for the provisions for recovery of erroneously granted refunds along with interest.
REPORT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS PROCESSES FOR GST
Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers
New Delhi
August 2015

Source:
http://www.cbec.gov.in/index

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