Accumulation of Input Tax Credit happens when the tax paid on inputs is more than the output tax liability. Such accumulation will have to be carried over to the next financial year till such time as it can be utilised by the registered person for payment of output tax liability. However, the GST Law permits refund of unutilised ITC in two scenarios, namely if such credit accumulation is on account of zero rated supplies or on account of inverted duty structure, subject to certain exceptions.
As per Section 54(3) of the CGST Act, 2017, a registered person may claim refund of unutilised input tax credit at the end of any tax period. A tax period is the period for which return is required to be furnished. Thus, a taxpayer can claim refund of unutilised ITC on monthly basis.
Refund of unutilised input tax credit is allowed only in the following two cases
a) Zero-rated supplies made without payment of tax: As per Section 16(3) of the IGST Act, 2017, a registered person making zero rated supply is eligible to claim refund under either of the following options, namely: –
• Supply of goods or services or both under bond or Letter of Undertaking, subject to such conditions, safeguards and procedure as may be prescribed, without payment of integrated tax and claim refund of unutilised input tax credit; or
• Supply of goods or services or both, subject to such conditions, safeguards and procedure as may be prescribed, on payment of integrated tax and claim refund of such tax paid on goods or services or both supplied.
The first category pertains to refund of unutilised ITC for which the registered person has to supply under Bond/LUT (as prescribed in Rule 96A of CGST Rules)and in the second category supply has been made after payment of Tax (IGST). In both the cases, refund can be applied under Section 54 of the CGST Act, 2017 read with Rule 89 or Rule 96 , as the case may be, of the CGST Rules, 2017.
b) Inverted duty structure: Where the credit has accumulated on account of rate of tax on inputs being higher than the rate of tax on output supplies (other than nil rated or fully exempt supplies), except supplies of goods or services or both as may be notified by the Government on the recommendations of the Council. In such cases also, refund can be applied under Section 54 of the CGST Act, 2017 read with Rule 89 of the CGST Rules, 2017. It should be noted that no refund of unutilised input tax credit is allowed in cases where the goods exported out of India are subjected to export duty. Further, no refund of input tax credit is allowed, if the supplier of goods or services or both avails of drawback in respect of central tax or claims refund of the integrated tax paid on such supplies.