• CCI AD FROM 5th April 2021

CBIC issues clarifications on Faceless Assessment at Customs on the Issues raised by Stakeholders

Circular No : ES/392/2020-21                                                                        December 28, 2020    

To : Members of the Council

Sub: CBIC issues clarifications on Faceless Assessment at Customs on the Issues raised by Stakeholders

Dear Member, 

This is to inform you that CBIC vide Circular No.55/2020-Customs dated 17th December, 2020 has issued clarifications on Faceless Assessment at Customs on the Issues raised by Stakeholders.

To further enhance the efficiency of the process involved in Faceless Assessment, CBIC has identified certain key areas, which requires immediate attention and issued following instructions/ guidelines to smoothen the process of Faceless Assessment by the field formations –

a)    Re-assessment in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice: It has been observed that importers are not given an opportunity of being heard before re-assessment of the goods. It is felt that such a practice is not in conformity with the provisions of law and needs to be discontinued, immediately. In order to streamline this process, the procedure to be adopted by the Face Assessment Groups (FAGs) for carrying out re-assessment, wherever required, is outlined as follows:

(i)            During verification of assessment, if self-assessment is not done correctly, or additional details are required to complete the verification, necessary clarifications should be sought from the importer/Customs Broker through the query module of ICES.

(ii)           While raising the query, all additional information required for finalisation should be covered and clearly worded, multiple queries needs to be avoided and all the information may be solicited in one-go and not in a piece-meal manner. Further, if the officer concerned requires to raise more queries on the same Bill of Entry, approval shall be taken from the respective Addl. Commissioner/Jt. Commissioner, with full justification. Minimal queries needs to be raised by the concerned FAGs and may devise their own mechanism to regularly monitor the same, without delaying assessments.

(iii)          Based on the reply to the query, the FAG may either accept the self-assessment or proceed to re-assess the Bill of Entry.

(iv)         While re-assessing the Bill of Entry, it must be ensure that the importer is given an opportunity to justify the self-assessment either in writing or in person through Video Conferencing. The importer, can, if he so desires, waive off this requirement in writing. No re-assessment, which would lead to change in classification, valuation and/or applicability of notification etc, should be carried out, unless an opportunity is provided to the importer for presenting his/her viewpoint.

(v)          Where the assessing officer re-assesses the Bill of Entry and where the importer does not accept the change in assessment in writing, through the query module in ICES, the officer concerned shall mandatorily issue a speaking order without delay.

b)    Complete description of imported goods: CBIC has noticed that the main reason for the raising a query is that importers do not give complete description of the imported goods, while filing the Bill of Entry and thereby causing delay in the verification process of the assessment by the FAG. In this context, importers are requested to refer to the following fields that are available in the electronic Bill of Entry format:

i. Generic Description : Exact description needs to be provided. The duty exemptions that are claimed/levied i.e (ADD)/IGST, as applicable.

ii. Specific Description: Description related to the product such as given in the invoice, trade name or specific product details to be provided (Brand name or model details may be avoided-same needs to be provided separately).

iii. Model and Brand Name: Model details and Brand Name may be provided and if the imported goods are unbranded, the text “UNBRANDED” may be used.

iv. Supplier and Manufacturer Details : In cases where duty applicability is based on manufacturers such as Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD), Safeguard Duty (SD) etc, the details of manufacturer may be provided. In case of products attracting ADD, these details would be required to be mandatorily provided.

v. Item Qualifiers: Some imported items may have specific distinguishing characteristics or have industry specific names (e.g. scientific names, IUPAC names etc.). These item names or qualifiers may be declared, as applicable.

The illustrative list of such item qualifiers are at Annexure A.

DG Systems, CBIC would shortly issue a detailed advisory for guidance of the trade, in this regard.

vi. Previous Bills of Entry : The Bill(s) of Entry details of previous import may be mentioned, if available.

c)    Document codes for regular documents to be uploaded in e-Sanchit: Queries are raised since importers/Customs Brokers do not upload all the required supporting documents to justify their claim of a duty exemption notification or fulfilment of a CCR requirement etc. along with the Bills of Entry. Earlier importers/Customs Brokers produced documents directly to the assessing officers, as these documents were essential for carrying out verification of self-assessment by the FAG and their non-submission at the stage of filing the Bill of Entry delayed the verification/assessment process. Board has decided that w.e.f. 15.01.2021, these supporting documents shall be mandatorily required to be uploaded in e-Sanchit by the importers/Customs Brokers, in such situations.

The illustrative list of the required documents along with their document code and description is at Annexure B.

DG Systems, CBIC would shortly issue a detailed advisory for guidance of the trade, in this regard.

d)    Enhancement in the monetary limit for assessment by the Appraising Officer:

  • All B/Es with an assessable value of up to Rs. 1 lakh are assessed only by the Appraising Officers.
  • All B/Es beyond the above threshold, are subjected to a two-step scrutiny, first by the Appraising Officer and then by the Deputy/Asst. Commissioner of Customs.
  • To expedite the assessment process, it has been decided that an enhancement in these long standing prescribed monetary limits would speed-up the assessment process. Accordingly, the Board has decided to enhance the monetary limit of assessment of Bills of Entry by the Appraising Officers.
  • All B/Es with an assessable value of up to Rs. 5 lakh shall be accordingly finally assessed only by the Appraising Officers, w.e.f 21.12.2020.
  • However, the re-assessments of B/Es would continue to be done with the approval of the Assistant/Deputy Commissioner, as is the present practice.
  • In order to assess the impact of this change, Board has also decided that 10% of the B/Es that are now entrusted to the Appraising Officers would be subjected to transactional PCA.
  • A fortnightly report on the outcome of the transactional PCA would be submitted to Joint Secretary (Customs), CBIC with first report being due on 05.01.2021. The Pr. Commissioners/Commissioners concerned would also monitor the outcome of this change and immediately inform the Board, if any correction is required.

Members may make a note of the above. For more details you may refer the Circular.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,