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August 8, 2022

On delayed GST refund interest cannot be denied due to COVID-19

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in GST, Legal Court Judgement

On delayed GST refund interest cannot be denied due to COVID-19

Facts and Issues of the case

The GST refund application was filed by the petitioner on 20.07.2021 and thereafter, albeit in tranches, the refund was remitted to the petitioner. the only reason the respondents/revenue have denied grant of statutory interest to the petitioner, is because Covid-19 was raging and there was delay in processing the petitioner’s refund. It is thus contended, that when the respondents/revenue were doing so, they should have also granted statutory interest in accordance with provisions of Section 56 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Observations by the Court

Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, we are unable to agree with the contentions advanced on behalf of the respondents/revenue.

What has emerged from the record, and something which is not disputed, is that the petitioner did file an application for refund on 20.07.2021, and as noted hereinabove, the principal amount towards refund was released in two tranches; first one amounting to Rs.14,22,482/- was released in and about 04.01.2022, and the second tranche amounting Rs.11,07,462/- was released in and about 22.03.2022. The respondents/revenue ought to have released the amount along with statutory rate of interest, as provided under Section 56 of the Act.

The statutory rate of interest is pegged at 6%. The said interest gets triggered after the expiry of 60 days from the date of receipt of application for refund.

Therefore, in our view, interest is payable to the petitioner. The respondents/revenue are directed to pay to the petitioner at the statutory rate as prescribed in Section 56 of the Act.

Conclusion

The interest on delayed GST refund at 6% has to be paid to the individual claiming refund. The GST department cannot refuse to pay the interest solely due to COVID-19.

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