With effect from 1st April, 2008 the Central Government amended the area based excise duty exemptions applicable to units located in Jammu & Kashmir, North-East, Sikkim and Kutch District of Gujarat so as to allow refund of excise duty based upon the value addition made by the unit. Based on representations received from the industry, Ministry of Finance has made some further modifications in these exemption schemes. The highlights of these amendments are explained below :-
(i) In respect of iron & steel, cement, starch & coco-butter a uniform rate of 75% of the total duty payable has been specified for computing the refund amount, when these are manufactured starting from specified inputs in the same factory.
(ii) Some relaxation has also been made in the provisions relating to determination of special rate. Prior to the amendment, a manufacturer was permitted to file an application for fixation of special rate not later than 60 days from the beginning of a financial year. This time limit has now been relaxed and manufacturers have been permitted to file such applications by the 30th of September of a financial year, so that they are in a position to make a claim on the basis of the finalized accounts for the previous financial year. New units commencing production on or after the 1st of April, 2008, have also been permitted to make an application for special rate. They will now be entitled to claim refund at a special rate from the date of commencement of commercial production. Finally, the condition that a manufacturer would be entitled to apply for a special rate only if his actual value addition is more than 25% of the prescribed rate has also been relaxed. Under the revised provision, he would be entitled to apply if the actual value addition exceeds the prescribed rate by 15%.
(iii) There is condition in the notification that the refund paid to a manufacturer will be restricted to the total duty paid by him in cash during a month. It has been represented that manufacturers purchasing raw materials in bulk are at a disadvantage because of this provision. This grievance has been considered and the comparison of the refund payable as per value addition with duty paid in cash has now been permitted on annual basis.
Notification Nos. 31 to 38/2008-CE all dated 10th June, 2008 have been issued to give effect to these changes immediately.