The CBIC has asked field offices to clear all pending refunds of customs and drawback claims by month-end.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the apex decision making body in customs matters, has issued an instruction to all customs Principal Chief Commissioners that a 'Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive' will be conducted with the objective of priority processing and disposal of all pending refund and drawback claims.
However, all such refunds would have to be "considered on merit" following legal provisions. "This Special Drive shall be in place from 15th May 2021 to 31st May 2021. It is expected that during this period all refund and drawback claims that are pending as on 14th May 2021 shall be disposed," it said.
The CBIC also asked field offices to coordinate this refund drive with the major trade and industry associations, especially those that cater to exporters, for their assistance, including submission of required documents. It, however, said that though the decision to process pending refund claims has been taken with a view to provide immediate relief to the taxpayers, officers would have to do due diligence before granting the refunds and drawback.
"For facilitation of exporters, all communication should be done over email, wherever the email id of the applicant is available. "It is urged that in these difficult times all officers concerned make special efforts to liquidate the pending refund and drawback claims by May 31, 2021, and make the Special Drive a grand success," the CBIC added.
AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said this special drive for processing refund claims by customs authority only, needs to be extended to local GST officers also.
"In this Special refund drive, the customs authority is not empowered to process refunds arising on account of Excess payment of tax due to mistake or inadvertence, Excess balance in Electronic Cash Ledger, refund of ITC on account of export under Bond/ LUT, Inverted duty structure, refunds available to diplomats and embassies. Thereby as of now benefit of this drive would be limited to select exporters only," Mohan added.