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Govt waives IGST on import of COVID-relief material received as donation for free distribution

Govt waives IGST on import of COVID-relief material received as donation for free distribution

The government has exempted imports of Covid-related relief material, including remdesivir injections, vaccines and oxygen concentrators, from the Integrated Goods and Services Tax till June 30.

Exemption will be given on goods received free of cost for free distribution for Covid relief and would also cover goods already imported but lying uncleared on the date of its issuance of exemption, the finance ministry said in a notification on Monday.

The government had last month exempted these products from customs duty, thus enabling their free imports now.

“This exemption shall thus enable import of the Covid relief supply imported free of cost for free distribution without payment of IGST up to June 30, 2021. As customs duty is already exempted, these imports will not attract any customs duty or IGST,” the notification said.

The exemption will apply to remdesivir injection, API and Beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBCD), inflammatory diagnostic (markers) kits, medical grade oxygen, oxygen therapy-related equipment such as oxygen concentrators, cryogenic transport tanks, etc, and Covid-19 vaccines.

As per the notification, the central government had received a number of representations from charitable organisations, corporate entities and other associations and entities 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. This exemption “would also cover goods already imported but lying uncleared on the date of its issuance of exemption”.

To avail the exemption, the state governments will have to appoint a nodal authority who shall authorise any entity, relief agency or statutory body for free distribution of such Covid relief material. However, the importer shall before clearance of goods from customs produce a certificate from the said nodal authorities that goods are meant for free distribution for Covid relief.

Thereafter, the importer will have to make a customs declaration within six months or within such extended period not exceeding nine months containing details of goods imported and distributed free of cost. “This statement shall be certified by the said nodal authority of the state government,” it said.

In a high-level meeting, revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj and CBIC chairman Ajit Kumar briefed chief secretaries of states/UTs on the ad hoc exemption from customs duty and IGST on specified Covid-19 relief material and urged them to speedily utilise the facility.

( Originally published on May 03, 2021 )

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