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ST – Refund submitted after 07.07.2009 for exports prior to this date denied on ground that same not filed within 6 months – Board clarified that Notf 17/2009 does not bar applicability to exports done prior to clarification – claim has to be considered under notfn. 17/2009-ST only – matter remanded: CESTAT

By TIOL News Service

AHMEDABAD, SEPT 10, 2012: THE refund claim filed by the appellant in respect of service tax paid on terminal handling charges has been rejected on the ground that terminal handling charges was not one of the services mentioned in Notification No. 41/2007-ST. Another ground taken for rejecting the claim is that it has been fixed beyond the six months period prescribed under the impugned notification.

Before the CESTAT the appellant submitted that in their own case the Bench had vide Order No.A/324-330/WZB/AHD/2012 dated 19.03.12 held that refund of service tax paid on terminal handling charges would be available. In the matter of limitation, reliance is placed on the Trade Notice issued by Commissioner of Central Excise & Service Tax, Dibrugarh No.07/2010 dated 04.03.2010 where it is mentioned that when the benefit was available under notification No. 17/2009-S.T., the same should have been extended especially when it was claimed in reply to the show cause notice and before the Commissioner (Appeals) in appeal.

The Bench observed -

"3.... In paragraph 5 of the order of this Tribunal cited by the ld. counsel in their own case, it was held that refund of service tax paid on terminal handling charges in case of exports is admissible. As regards limitation, I find that the Commissioner of Central Excise and Service Tax, Dibrugarh in trade notice cited by the ld. counsel has taken a view that claim submitted after 07.07.09 have to be considered under notification No. 17/2009 only. Para 2 of the trade notice which is relevant is reproduced below;

"2. The matter has been examined by the Board. In this regard, I am directed to state that though Notification No. 17/2009-S.T., dated 7-7-2009 simplifies the refund scheme, the nature of benefit given to the exporters remains as it was under Notification No. 41/2007-ST. Further, the new notification does not bar its applicability to exports that have taken place prior to its issuance. Therefore, the scheme prescribed under Notification No. 17/2007-S.T. would be applicable even for such exports subject to conditions that (a) refund claim are filed within the stipulated period of one year; and (b) no previous refund claim has already been filed under the previous notification. [Authority: Board's Letter F.No.354/256/2009-TRU, Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Tax Research Unit, New Delhi, dated the 1st January, 2010]"

4. Since the department itself has taken the view that claim submitted after 07.07.09 have to be considered under Notification No. 17/2009-ST, the submission of the ld. counsel has to be accepted. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed and the matter remanded to the original adjudicating authority for fresh consideration of the claim in terms of the orders of the Tribunal on the appeal filed by the Revenue, Commissioner (Appeals) and this order so far as they are applicable to the issue."

(See 2012-TIOL-1185-CESTAT-AHM)