Customs to roll out faceless assessment across India

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on February 20, 2020 Published on February 20, 2020

CBIC releases concept paper, seeks comments from stakeholders by March 3

The Customs Department is set to launch faceless assessment facilities across the country. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes has issued a concept paper as part of its Turant Customs initiatives to this end.

“CBIC has decided to introduce Faceless Assessment to bring anonymity in assessment and cut down the physical interface between the Assessing Officer and the importer/broker to the extent technologically feasible, ensure uniformity in assessments across the country, promote sector-specific approach and functional specialisation and improve workload balance amongst various field formations for efficient utilisation of the resources,” it said.

The CBIC had initiated a pilot project on faceless assessment at different Customs stations, which it now plans to implement across the country.

Proposed restructuring plan

The concept paper has proposed restructuring the existing Commissionerates into two distinct categories of National Assessment Commissionerates (NACs) and Jurisdictional Port Commissionerates (JPCs).

The NACs would be virtual Commissionerates. Each NAC would have an all-India jurisdiction, and it would comprise of a cluster of “Faceless Assessment Groups” (FAGs), the CBIC has suggested.

The officers of each FAG would be able to assess any Bill of Entry assigned to them by the Customs Automated System, irrespective of the port the goods had arrived.

The NACs would monitor the assessment practice followed by the FAGs assigned to their NAC, and ensure uniformity of classification, valuation, exemption benefit and enforcing import policy conditions.

Meanwhile, the JPCs would continue to have one Port Assessment Group (PAG) to cater to the assessment in cases where a reference is made by FAG to the port of import for any reason.

Additionally, the JPC would continue to have the regular contingent of officers to handle examination and inspection of goods and all other functions other than Assessment.

The JPC would also set up a Turant Suvidha Kendra for facilitating Customs clearances, the CBIC has proposed.

Faceless assessment

For faceless assessment of Bills of Entry, the importer will file the bill on the Customs Automated System electronically, and upload supporting documents.

The selection of a Bill of Entry for assessment in a NAC shall be done only by the Customs Automated System.

The Turant Suvidha Kendra will have additional functions like accepting Bond or Bank Guarantee, generating test memo and forwarding the samples and also carry out technical function referred by the FAGs.

The CBIC has sought all comments by March 3 from stakeholders.

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Published on February 20, 2020
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