India has designated certain geographical regions as Special Economic Zones (SEZ) with the mission of boosting exports and attracting foreign investment. There are more than 250 SEZs in India containing thousands of units. A comprehensive policy package extending several incentives and exemptions has been implemented for the businesses operating in SEZs. A thorough understanding of how SEZs operate is sine qua non for businesses to maximize benefits. To set up businesses in, and operate from, these tax-free zones, SEZ developers undertake feasibility study for SEZ, development of business plan, preparing tax efficient financial model, preparing Project Report, filing of application with Board of Approval, filing of application to State Government for SEZ approval, getting approval of Authorized Operations, earmarking of Processing & Non Processing Area and getting approval of Goods & Services for Authorized Operations.
Units in SEZ also operate in a regulatory framework and like developers they are also required to comply with a host of procedures like getting Letter of Permission from Development Commissioner, obtaining registration from various government authorities, obtaining necessary exemption certificates, documentation of export and clearance to DTA including EOU/EHTP for the SEZ units, maintaining statutory registers besides careful scrutiny of entitlement so as to claim export incentives, preparation and filing of necessary documents in respect of duty-free imports.