CBIC has issued a circular clarifying various issues relating to refund of GST in case of Zero Rated Supplies. One of the major issue was Refund of unutilized ITC of compensation cess availed on inputs in case of Zero rated supplies.
Various doubts have been raised whether an exporter is eligible to claim refund of unutilized input tax credit of compensation cess paid on inputs, where the final product is not leviable to compensation cess. For instance, cess is levied on coal, which is an input for the manufacture of aluminum products, whereas cess is not levied on aluminum products.
Zero Rated Supplies under Bond/LUT
In this regard, section 16(2) of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (IGST Act) states that, subject to the provisions of section 17(5) of the CGST Act, credit of input tax may be availed for making zero rated supplies.
Further, as per section 8 of the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, (Cess Act), all goods and services specified in the Schedule to the Cess Act are leviable to cess under the Cess Act;
Further, as per section 11 (2) of the Cess Act, section 16 of the IGST Act is mutatis mutandis made applicable to inter-State supplies of all such goods and services.
Thus, it implies that all supplies of such goods and services are zero rated under the Cess Act.
Moreover, as section 17(5) of the CGST Act does not restrict the availment of input tax credit of compensation cess on coal.
Thus, it is clarified that a registered person making zero rated supply of aluminum products under bond or LUT may claim refund of unutilized credit including that of compensation cess paid on coal.
Zero Rated Supplies on Payment of IGST
Such registered persons may also make zero-rated supply of aluminum products on payment of integrated tax but they cannot utilize the credit of the compensation cess paid on coal for payment of integrated tax in view of the proviso to section 11(2) of the Cess Act, which allows the utilization of the input tax credit of cess, only for the payment of cess on the outward supplies. Accordingly, they cannot claim refund of compensation cess in case of zero-rated supply on payment of integrated tax.
Issues related to refund of accumulated Input Tax Credit of Compensation Cess:
After the above said circular being issued by CBIC, several representations have been received by it requesting clarifications on certain issues related to refund of accumulated input tax credit of compensation cess on account of zero-rated supplies made under Bond/Letter of Undertaking. These issues have been examined and are clarified as below:
a) Issue: A registered person uses inputs on which compensation cess is leviable (E.g. coal) to export goods on which there is no levy of compensation cess (E.g. aluminum). For the period July, 2017 to May, 2018, no ITC is availed of the compensation cess paid on the inputs received during this period. ITC is only availed of the CGST, SGST/UTGST or IGST charged on the invoices for these inputs. This ITC is utilized for payment of IGST on export of goods. Vide Circular No. 45/19/2018-GST dated 30.05.2018, it was clarified that refund of accumulated ITC of compensation cess on account of zero-rated supplies made under Bond/Letter of Undertaking is available even if the exported product is not subject to levy of cess. After the issuance of this Circular, the registered person decides to start exporting under bond/LUT without payment of tax. He also decides to avail (through the return in FORM GSTR-3B) the ITC of compensation cess, paid on the inputs used in the months of July, 2017 to May, 2018, in the month of July, 2018. The registered person then goes on to file a refund claim for ITC accumulated on account of exports for the month of July, 2018 and includes the said accumulated ITC for the month of July, 2018. How should the amount of compensation cess to be refunded be calculated?
Clarification: In the instant case, refund on account of compensation cess is to be recomputed as if the same was available in the respective months in which the refund of unutilized credit of CGST/SGST/UTGST/IGST was claimed on account of exports made under LUT/Bond.
If the aggregate of these recomputed amounts of refund of compensation cess is less than or equal to the eligible refund of compensation cess calculated in respect of the month in which the same has actually been claimed, then the aggregate of the recomputed refund of compensation cess of the respective months would be admissible.
Further, the recomputed amount of eligible refund (of compensation cess) in respect of past periods, as aforesaid, would not be admissible in respect of consignments exported on payment of IGST. This process would be applicable for application for refund of compensation cess (not claimed earlier) in respect of the past period.
b) Issue: A registered person uses coal for the captive generation of electricity which is further used for the manufacture of goods (say aluminium) which are exported under Bond/Letter of Undertaking without payment of duty. Refund claim is filed for accumulated Input Tax Credit of compensation cess paid on coal. Can the said refund claim be rejected on the ground that coal is used for the generation of electricity which is an intermediate product and not the final product which is exported and since electricity is exempt from GST, the ITC of the tax paid on coal for generation of electricity is not available?
Clarification: There is no distinction between intermediate goods or services and final goods or services under GST. Inputs have been clearly defined to include any goods other than capital goods used or intended to be used by a supplier in the course or furtherance of business. Since coal is an input used in the production of aluminium, albeit indirectly through the captive generation of electricity, which is directly connected with the business of the registered person, input tax credit in relation to the same cannot be denied.
c) Issue: A registered person avails ITC of compensation cess (say, of Rs. 100/-) paid on purchases of coal every month. At the same time, he reverses a certain proportion (say, half i.e. Rs. 50/-) of the ITC of compensation cess so availed on purchases of coal which are used in making zero rated outward supplies. Both these details are entered in the FORM GSTR-3B filed for the month as a result of which an amount of Rs. 50/- only is credited in the electronic credit ledger. The reversed amount (Rs. 50/-) is then shown as a ‘cost’ in the books of accounts of the registered person. However, the registered person declares Rs. 100/- as ‘Net ITC’ and uses the same in calculating the maximum refund amount which works out to be Rs. 50/- (assuming that export turnover is half of total turnover). Since both the balance in the electronic credit ledger at the end of the tax period for which the claim of refund is being filed and the balance in the electronic credit ledger at the time of filing the refund claim is Rs. 50/- (assuming that no other debits/credits have happened), the system will proceed to debit Rs. 50/- from the ledger as the claimed refund amount. The question is whether the proper officer should sanction Rs. 50/- as the refund amount or Rs. 25/- (i.e. half of the ITC availed after adjusting for reversals)?
Clarification: ITC which is reversed cannot be held to have been ‘availed’ in the relevant period. Therefore, the same cannot be part of refund of unutilized ITC on account of zero-rated supplies. Moreover, the reversed ITC has been accounted as a cost which would have reduced the income tax liability of the claimant. Therefore, the same amount cannot, at the same time, be refunded to him/her in the ratio of export turnover to total turnover. However, if the said reversed amount is again availed in a later tax period, subject to the restriction under section 16(4) of the CGST Act, it can be refunded in the ratio of export turnover to total turnover in that tax period subject to the maximum eligible amount for refund. This is subject to the restriction that the accounting entry showing the said ITC as cost is also reversed.
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