Industry seeks GST exemption for merchant exporters, easy compliance for small players

NEW DELHI: Industry has sought faster refund of duties on account of Goods and Services Tax (GST), exemption from tax payment for merchant exporters and simpler tax compliance for small exporters from the government.

In a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian, exporters and industry representatives flagged the issues faced by exporters due to GST.

The apex body of exporters, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) pushed for a complete exemption from import charges on inputs used in exports.

“Indian exporters are losing out to their competitors from such countries. Ab-initio exemption from IGST may be provided against such Advance Authorisation/EPCG and EOU Scheme,” FIEO said in its presentation.

Merchant exporters account for over 30% of country’s exports who usually work on razor thin margins of 2-4%. The imposition of GST has made their costing haywire, particularly for products having higher GST rate, as they have to pay GST and seek refund after some time lag, FIEO said as it asked for timely refunds from the government.

“The minister heard our concerns and said that certain issues are still settling down. He said it is too early to say what the impact of GST as two months is a short period of time,” said an official who attended the meeting.

Filing returns is more challenging for small exporters and industry was unanimous on the issue that such exporters be allowed to file returns every quarter though they will pay tax each month.

Representatives from CII and PHD Chambers, GST Suvidha providers, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Institute of Cost accountants of India and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India were also present at the meeting. Officials from accounting software provider Tally Solutions and e-commerce major Amazon too attended the stakeholder consultation ahead of the GST Council meeting on October 6.