26 November 2011

CBEC Issues Customs Manual on Self Assessment

CBEC Issues Customs Manual on Self Assessment
CBEC has issued a Customs Manual on Self Assessment. The Manual covers (a) standard operating procedures, (b) compulsory compliance requirements (CCR) and (c) key aspects of Customs requirements such as classification, valuation, exemption notifications etc. for correct Self-Assessment of duty on goods imported or exported.
MC Thakur, Member, Customs, CBEC, says, "Self-Assessment is expected to usher in a new era of trust based Customs-Trade partnership leading to greater facilitation of compliant traders. Therefore, it is important that the trade takes its responsibility for making correct Self-Assessment seriously. Of course, the Departmental officials shall be readily available to resolve any doubts that the trade may have".
He adds a disclaimer, "However, it should be noted that the purpose of this Manual is to serve as a guide or advisory and it is neither exhaustive nor legally binding. Importers and exporters are advised to peruse the statutes, Rules and Regulations as well as Board's Circulars for ascertaining the correct legal provisions".
Why can't they issue a manual that is legally binding?
Filing and Processing of Bill of Entry (B/E)
++ Filing of B/E through Service Centre: The data pertaining to B/E is filed in a prescribed format at the Service Centre and a checklist is generated. While filing the B/E, the correctness of the information given therein has to be certified by the importer in the form of a declaration at its foot and any mis-declaration/incorrect details has legal consequences. The ICES system would accept Annexure for B/E only if it finds that the IGM No. and Bill of Lading (B/L) No. match the corresponding line number of the IGM. The system will accept only one declaration against a line number. If the declaration is not accepted, CHA (includes the importer) should verify the particulars The importer / CHA has to submit duly filled-in Annexure along with one copy of Invoice to the Service Centre . The Service Centre staff enters the data into the ICES system and generates Check List to be verified by the importer / CHA for correctness. On verification, if the data are found to be correctly recorded, the importer / CHA will sign the Check List and return it to the Service Centre, signalling final submission.
++ Filing of B/E through ICEGATE: The importer / CHA can file B/E remotely through ICEGATE. In this case, the ICES application validates the data and in case of errors, a negative acknowledgment mentioning the error description is sent back to the importer / CHA. In case there is no error, B/E Number is assigned to the document and an acknowledgment is sent to the importer / CHA. Thereafter, the importer / CHA can print the Check List in their premises.
++ Processing of B/E not facilitated through RMS: ICES system automatically marks the B/E to the Appraising Group for processing by Appraising Officer (AO). B/Es with assessable value of more than Rs.1 Lac are marked to Group Assistant Commissioner (AC) while others are marked directly for payment of duty. After the assessment is approved by the AC concerned, the following process takes place:
i. Assessed Copy of the B/E with examination instructions and TR-6 challan is printed at the Service Center for payment of duty. AO has the option to change tariff classification / notification / declared value etc., and raise queries for clarification. The queries raised by AO are marked to Group AC for approval.
ii. Processing status of the document can be enquired through Service Centre. In case of query, reply can be given through the Service Center. The duty is to be paid through designated banks or through e-payment mode. On receipt of duty payment message from Bank, the B/E is marked to the Appraiser (Docks). The importer / CHA should present a copy of the B/E along with duty paid challan and other documents including invoice, packing list etc. at the time of examination of the goods.
iii. Inspector / EO examines the goods and enters the examination report and in case of discrepancy, the same is reported to the Appraising Group with comments of the SA. Thereafter, the Group may revise the assessment. Otherwise, the B/E is marked to Shed Appraiser (SA) for "out-of-charge". After out-of-charge, the system generates two copies of B/E (importer's copy and the Exchange Control Copy).

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