CBIC has issued a detailed circular no. F. No.450/26/2019-Cus IV(Pt.) dated 4th September 2020 stating that by 31st October 2020 the faceless assessment process will be implemented in all the custom ports under the next generational Turant Customs programme. It had already implemented it through its earlier circulars No.28/2020-Customs, dated 05.06.2020 and No. 34/2020-Customs, dated 30.07.2020 in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai custom ports on trial bases.
The main features of this program are that it is faceless, contactless, and anonymous. National Assessment centers (total 11) will be set up across India. These NACs will do the assessment of BOEs filed by importers online. It is expected to reduce customs clearance time, reduced interface with custom officials, and automated thereby achieving the objective of improving ease of doing the business.
Responsibilities of NAC:
The NACs have a critical role in the successful implementation of the Faceless Assessment. The NACs need to work in a coordinated manner to ensure that all assessments are carried out in a timely manner and there is no delay or hold up of the Bills of Entry. The NACs would also examine the assessment practices of imported goods across Customs stations to bring about uniformity and enhanced quality of assessments.
The important responsibilities of the NACs shall include the following:
1. Monitor the assessment practice for enhancing uniformity of classification, valuation, exemption benefit, and compliance with import policy conditions.
2. Study audit objections and take corrective actions regarding assessments, wherever necessary and provide inputs to the concerned ports of import.
3. Analyze the RMS facilitated Bills of Entry pertaining to Chapters falling under their purview and advise the DGARM regarding possible interventions or review of risk parameters.
4. Interact with sectoral trade and industry for inputs, and on issues relating to assessment.
5. Function as a knowledge hub or repository for that particular Chapter(s);
6. Examine the orders/appellate orders in relation to assessment practices pertaining to goods assigned to each Faceless Assessment Group and provide inputs to the Commissionerates for uniformity of assessment orders before legal fora.
7. Any other matter relevant to timely and uniform assessment, as may be
Impacts of Faceless Assessments:
- The role of CHAs will get reduced substantially.
- The assessments will be anonymous and jurisdiction less for example- BOE filed by the important in Mumbai port may be assessed by NAC of Delhi.
- Uniformity will improve w.r.t. classification, valuation, exemption, concessions etc. across custom ports in India.
- Assessments will be team-based and will not be based on the opinion of one officer.
- Faster custom clearances
- Things like harassment and corruption will reduce.
For Importers the recording of transactions correctly and maintenance of records and documents will be extremely important. They will also need to reply to any queries/clarifications sought by NACs
Disclaimer: The views in this article are personal of the writer and must not be construed as an advice.
The writer is a member of ICAI and having Indutry experience of 30 years in leadership position with reputed MNCs.