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A Detailed Guide of GST Refund on Exports

25 Apr, 2024

It can be difficult to understand how the Goods and Services Tax (GST) works, especially the GST refund on exports. Businesses that sell goods or services abroad can make much money if they know how to claim GST back. There are different types of refunds under GST, and this guide will discuss them in detail. It will also discuss how an expert can help businesses make the export GST refund process more effortless.

Understanding GST Refund on Exports

GST refund on exports plays a critical role in the financial dynamics of businesses engaged in international trade. Under the GST framework, exports are treated as 'zero-rated supplies,' meaning the goods or services are taxable, but the effective tax rate applied is zero. This setup is designed to alleviate the tax burden on exporters, ensuring they remain competitive in global markets while recovering the GST paid on inputs used in production.

The rationale behind zero-rated supplies is straightforward: by allowing a full refund of GST on exports, the government avoids cascading tax effects that could inflate export prices and dampen market competitiveness. To effectively utilize this provision, businesses must thoroughly understand the conditions and procedures for claiming their refunds. The process involves meticulous documentation and timely filing, and any negligence or errors can lead to delays or denials of the refund, potentially impacting cash flows significantly. As such, having a clear grasp of the operational aspects of the GST refund on exports is indispensable for businesses operating in the export sector.

What are Zero-Rated Supplies?

Zero-rated supplies under the IGST Act of 2017 encompass all exports of goods and services. This classification allows businesses to claim a complete refund of GST on export, thereby ensuring that their pricing strategies can remain aggressive in overseas markets without the burden of added tax costs.

Understanding zero-rated supplies is crucial for businesses to leverage GST regulations' benefits fully. By recognizing what constitutes zero-rated supplies, companies can better plan their tax strategies and documentation procedures to expedite the GST refund process on exports. This knowledge is particularly beneficial for new exporters or businesses expanding into international markets, as it provides a foundational understanding of tax exemptions available under Indian GST laws.

Moreover, zero-rated supplies also permit the recovery of taxes paid on inputs that contribute to producing exported goods and services. It ensures that while the output is exempt, the input tax credit is still recoverable, reducing overall costs and enhancing business efficiency.

Are There Any Privileges for Exporters Under the GST Refund Scheme?

Exporters enjoy specific privileges under the GST refund on exports scheme, significantly enhancing their financial flexibility and operational efficiency. One of the primary advantages is the ability to claim a full refund of GST on export for goods and services, which helps maintain competitive pricing in global markets. Furthermore, under the scheme, exporters can export goods under a bond or LUT (Letter of Undertaking) without paying IGST, which helps conserve cash flow. This benefit is crucial as it allows businesses to utilize their capital more effectively rather than having it tied up in tax payments. Additionally, the swift processing of refunds under the current regulations ensures that businesses avoid capital blockages, which can be critical for maintaining smooth operational cycles in competitive export markets.

Documentation Needed for GST Refund on Exports

Being aware of what paperwork is necessary and ensuring its correct submission is vital for claiming a GST refund on exports. The primary documents required include the shipping bill, which is integral for exports, as it acts as both a customs document and a tax document. Additionally, the Bank Realization Certificate (BRC) or Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate (FIRC) is crucial for service exports, proving that the exporter has received payment in foreign currency, a prerequisite for claiming GST refunds. Moreover, the Export General Manifest (EGM) must be filed correctly and timely to confirm the export of goods, which is essential for the refund process. Ensuring all these documents are accurate and submitted within the stipulated deadlines is crucial for a hassle-free GST refund on the export process.

Key Elements of the Export GST Refund Process

Understanding the export GST refund process involves several critical steps that businesses must follow to reclaim their taxes successfully.

  1. Eligibility for GST Refund: To qualify for a GST refund on export of services and goods, businesses must comply with specific criteria, such as exporting under a Letter of Undertaking (LUT) without paying IGST or exporting after paying IGST and claiming the refund. This step is foundational, as non-compliance can lead to outright denial of the refund claim.
  2. Required Documentation: Essential documents include shipping bills, Bank Realization Certificates (BRC) or Foreign Inward Remittance Certificates (FIRC), and the Export General Manifest (EGM). Each document is critical in substantiating the refund claim and must be submitted accurately and within prescribed timelines.
  3. Filing and Processing: Once all documents are gathered, exporters must file their refund applications through the GST portal within the specified deadlines. These applications must be comprehensive, including all invoices and bank statements. The GST authorities then review these submissions to verify the eligibility of the claims before processing refunds.

How to Correct Errors in GST Filings?

Mistakes in GST filings can delay or jeopardize the refund process. Here's how to correct them:

Amendments in GSTR-1: If there are errors in the initially filed GSTR-1, corrections can be made in Table-9A or Table-6A in the subsequent filing period. These tables allow exporters to amend details related to export invoices or other relevant data. Ensuring accuracy in these filings is critical as it directly impacts the eligibility and calculation of the GST refund on exports.

Corrections in GSTR-3B: Adjustments for any discrepancies in the export tax paid can be declared in subsequent monthly filings under specific tables designed for corrections. This step is vital for rectifying any previous under-reporting or over-reporting of export-related transactions. Accurate reporting in GSTR-3B helps align the tax credits correctly, ensuring that the GST refund on the export process is seamless and free from discrepancies.

These corrective measures are crucial for reclaiming the correct refund amount and maintaining compliance with GST regulations. Regular monitoring and review of GST filings are recommended to identify and rectify errors promptly. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of delayed refunds and potential legal complications arising from inaccurate tax filings.

Types of Refunds under GST

Understanding the types of refunds under GST is essential for exporters. These include:

  • Refund on account of export of goods and services (including zero-rated supplies): This type allows exporters to claim refunds on the GST paid on inputs that were used to manufacture goods or provide services exported.
  • Refund of unutilized input tax credit due to inverted duty structure: This occurs when the GST rate on inputs is higher than on the outputs, allowing businesses to claim a refund of the excess credit.
  • Refund to suppliers on deemed exports: Certain transactions qualify as exports where goods supplied do not leave the country, but the payment is received in convertible foreign exchange.

Each type of refund has specific documentation and procedural requirements that must be meticulously followed to ensure successful processing. Exporters must familiarize themselves with these requirements and prepare their applications accordingly to avoid any issues in the GST refund on the export process.


While obtaining a GST refund on exports might seem intricate, leveraging the expertise of professionals can simplify these complexities. Enlisting the help of a GST expert from The Trade Vision can be invaluable in this context. Our experts can provide guidance on the correct application procedures, help in the proper filing of documents, and offer advice on legal and regulatory updates. Additionally, they can assist in resolving disputes or discrepancies that may arise during the refund process.


Q1. What is the meaning of "refund of GST on export"?

Ans: A "refund of GST on export" refers to the process where exporters can claim back the GST paid on inputs used in producing goods or services that are exported out of the country.

Q2. How does the GST refund process for exports work?

Ans: The export GST refund process involves submitting a refund application and necessary documents such as invoices, shipping bills, and bank statements through the GST portal. GST authorities review the application to verify eligibility before the refund is processed.

Q3. Can you explain the GST refund on the export of services?

Ans: The GST refund on export of services involves claiming a refund for the GST paid on inputs used to render exported services. Like goods, these services must meet specific criteria, such as being provided to recipients outside India.

Q4. What are the different types of refund under GST for exporters?

Ans: The types of refund under GST for exporters include refunds for exports of goods and services as zero-rated supplies, refunds due to the inverted duty structure, and refunds applicable to deemed exports.

Q5. What steps should be taken to ensure a smooth GST refund process for exports?

Ans: To ensure a smooth export GST refund process, exporters should file GST returns accurately and timely, maintain all necessary documentation, and adhere to all specified procedural requirements. Consulting with a GST expert can also help navigate the process's complexities.