The Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, Chennai granted the partial refund to SEZ Unit in Service Tax case.
The appellant is a unit functioning in the Special Economic Zone. The appellant had filed a refund claim of service tax for Rs.4,47,132/-. After due process of law, the refund sanctioning authority sanctioned refund of Rs.3,51,921/- and rejected an amount of Rs.10,712/- by stating that the services involved were used exclusively in the SEZ and hence the refund cannot be allowed in terms of Notification No. 15/2009-ST dated 20.5.2009 and further held that an amount of Rs.84,499/- as not eligible for refund as the invoices were not addressed to the appellant’s unit situated at SEZ.
Consultant for the appellant submitted that the short issue to be considered is whether the CENVAT credit can be availed when the factual details were supported by the Bill of Lading.
He submitted that the invoices had an address which was different from the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading carried the address of the unit situated in the MEPZ and was an eligible document based on which credit could be taken.
The division bench of P. Dinesha, Member (Judicial) and M. Ajit Kumar, Member (Technical) opined that substantial relief should not be denied on technical grounds and when the appellant had given evidence that the inputs on which credit was taken were actually received and used in the SEZ unit, although there was an error in the invoice address, the matter should have been verified before taking a final decision.
“Export benefits are special benefits given to exporters by the Government to make goods more competitive in the international market. Verification hence needs to be done in a trade facilitation mode”, the bench said.
The Tribunal partially set aside the impugned order and remanded the refund claim back to the original authority pertaining to the invoices not being addressed to the unit located in SEZ involving a sum of Rs.84,499/-.
It further directed the lower authority to follow the principles of natural justice and afford a reasonable and time bound opportunity to the appellant to state their case both orally and in writing if they so wish, before issuing a speaking order in the matter.
Case title: M/s. Mainetti (India) Pvt. Ltd. v/s Commissioner of GST & Central Excise
Citation: Service Tax Appeal No.41069 of 2014