Agri Business

Tea exporters voice concern over non-refund of GST claims

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on March 20, 2018

"It is not just non-refund of GST amount, but paper work and documentation that is putting tea traders under pressure. We are in a spot. At this juncture, the situation looks grave," a leading tea exporter told BusinessLine, voicing concern over the mounting claims week after week.

GST refunds due to members of the South India Tea Exporters’ Association is estimated at over Rs 50 crore, as on date. "The dues have been pending since July last. We have paid 5 per cent GST on the value of the tea purchased at auctions and filed refund claims online. So far, we have not received any amount by way of refund. Officials of the state GST and the Central Board of Excise and Customs - at various levels - are demanding multiple sets of hard copies of tax invoices, shipping bills, bill of loading, etc, for verification, defeating the purpose of online filing of GST returns," said Rony Elias Tharakan, Vice-Chairman, South India Tea Exporters' Association.

He further said the exporters had availed of loans from banks and their working capital situation was squeezed at present as the refund amounts had been locked for many months. If this situation continues, a good number of exporters will be forced to slow down export operations or exit from their business. This will have an adverse affect on tea auction sales. Volumes on offer may not be taken up fully for want of funds and competition on the auction floor will go for a toss. The resultant impact would be on price.

When the price drops, it will seriously impact small growers in Tamil Nadu, who depend on the auction system for their livelihood. It is a vicious cycle, Tharakan said, appealing for early settlement of refund claims.

Published on March 20, 2018

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