The Centre on Monday waived off Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST, which is levied on inter-state movement of goods and imports) till June 30, on import of Covid related relief material. The waiver will also be applicable on those materials which have been donated or received free of cost from other countries for donation purpose.
A Finance Ministry statement said that the Centre had received several representations from charitable organisations, corporate entities, and other bodies from outside India seeking exemption from IGST on the import of Covid-19 relief material, donated or received free of cost from outside India for free distribution.
“Accordingly, the Central Government has granted exemption from IGST on import of such goods received free of cost for free distribution for Covid relief,” the notification said, adding that the exemption would be applicable till June 30.
This exemption would also cover goods already imported but waiting to be cleared at the Customs ports.
The Government has already exempted from customs duty, import of a host of Covid-related relief materials, including Remdesivir injection and its APIs, inflammatory diagnostic (markers) kits, medical grade oxygen, oxygen therapy related equipment such as oxygen concentrators, cryogenic transport tanks as well as Covid vaccines.
The IGST exemption given on Monday would be subject to nodal authorities, appointed by the state governments, authorising any entity, relief agency or statutory body, for free distribution of such relief material.
The said goods can be imported free of cost by a state government or, any entity authorised in this regard for free distribution anywhere in India.
The importer, before clearance of goods from Customs, will have to produce a certificate from the said nodal authorities, saying that goods are meant for free distribution for Covid relief, the order said.
After imports, the importer will have to produce before the Deputy or Assistant Commissioner of Customs at the port, within a period of six months from the date of importation or within such extended period not exceeding nine months, a statement containing details of goods imported and distributed free of cost.
This statement shall be certified by the said nodal authority of the state government.
“This exemption shall thus enable import of the Covid relief supply imported free of cost for free distribution without payment of IGST (up to the 30th June, 2021). As customs duty is already exempt, these imports will not attract any customs duty or IGST,” the ministry added.
Last week, the government slashed IGST rate on import of oxygen concentrators for personal use to 12 per cent, from 28 per cent, for two months till June 30.
Under Goods and Services Tax (GST), the tax levied on consumption of goods or rendering of service is divided equally between the Centre and the states. Such tax is known as Central GST or CGST and State GST or SGST.
On inter-state movement of goods as well as imports, IGST is levied, which accrues to the Centre.