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Export boost: Govt exempts SEZs from integrated GST

Export boost: Govt exempts   SEZs from integrated GST
Providing relief to SEZs, the government has exempted goods imported by units or developers of special economic zones from integrated goods and services tax (IGST).

"The central government...hereby exempts all goods imported by a unit or a developer in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for authorised operations, from the whole of the integrated tax leviable thereon under...the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 read with section 5 of the Integrated Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017," the Department of Revenue has said in a notification.
An SEZ area is considered to be a foreign territory for trade operations and duties, and is mainly set up for promoting exports.
Exports from SEZs grew by about 12 per cent to Rs 5.24 lakh crore in 2016-17. The shipments from these zones in 2015 -16 were aggregated at Rs 4.68 lakh crore.
Till May 1, the government had approved as many as 421 zones. Out of this, 218 are operational.
Meanwhile, M&M Managing Director Pawan Goenka said on Thursday that the automobile industry will see growth in the short term, driven partly by price reduction and restoration of normal inventory levels at dealerships as the transition to GST has been "surprisingly smooth".
However, with the GST Council firm on high tax rate for hybrid vehicles, auto companies which had big plans for this category will have to rethink their strategy, he added.
Addressing a conference call on GST, Goenka also raised concerns over Maharashtra increasing road tax after GST implementation to negate loss of octroi, saying it could negate gains for customers and it should not become norm for other states to follow.
"Definitely, in the short term I see positive growth, more growth than what we would otherwise have as a result of GST down stocking. Also, price reductions across the board will also drive growth," he said.
In the run up to the Good and Services Tax (GST) implementation from July1, auto firms had reduced inventory level at dealership by about a week in June. Usually dealers keep inventory of four to six weeks. The discounts offered by various companies in June were higher than the industry would usually offer duringthe month.
'CBEC field offices must be one-stop solution for GST'

To facilitate a smooth GST regime, the government has asked field offices of CBEC to turn into "one-stop solution" for taxpayer's needs by hand-holding them to meet compliance requirements.
India ushered in Goods and Services Tax on July 1 which unifies 17 different taxes. It transforms India's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion consumers into a single market.
Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has written to chief commissioners to devote substantial time to ensure that all field formations continue to assist taxpayers.
The CBEC had last week asked all its field offices to set up GST Sewa Kendras to provide all assistance to taxpayers.
"Chief commissioners should ensure that these Sewa Kendras are a one-stop solution for taxpayer's needs.
Taxpayers may be helped through such Sewa Kendras by not only giving clarifications on doubts but also by assisting and hand-holding the needful taxpayers in their compliance requirements such as registrations, returns, etc," CBEC member S Ramesh said in the letter. He said with the rollout of GST, a new era in indirect tax administration has been ushered in. "The next important step is to hand-hold the taxpayers and other stakeholders into this new regime."
GST Network, the company providing IT backbone for the GST, has started call centre service for taxpayers for answering queries on enrolment.
To help businesses, the GST awareness campaign must continue in full swing in the coming days and training of officers and staff should be stepped up.
"It is imperative that chief commissioners conduct more such awareness campaigns and workshops in the ensuing months so as to address the knowledge deficit that is there at present among the taxpayers about the new regime and the compliance requirements expected of them," the letter said.


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