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Customs dept to roll out pan-India faceless assessment by Dec 31; starts in Chennai, Bengaluru

The customs department will roll out pan-India faceless assessment by December 31 in a phased manner, starting with Chennai and Bengaluru beginning Monday, the CBIC has said.

In a circular, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said since faceless assessment (commonly known as anonymised or virtual assessment) is a complete departure from the existing manner of customs assessment, it is being introduced in a phased manner to give trade and stakeholders time to adapt to the changed scenario without disruption of work.

Thus the board has decided to begin faceless assessment in phases beginning with customs stations which already have the experience of the pilot programmes, it said.

The first phase would begin from June 8, 2020, at Bengaluru and Chennai, for items of imports primarily covered by Chapter 84, 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The phased roll out plan envisages that faceless assessment shall be the norm pan-India by December 31, 2020.

Chapter 84, 85 relates to certain machines and electrical equipments.

The CBIC has conducted pilots for this at customs stations in Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Gujarat and Visakhapatnam.

Faceless assessment enables an assessing officer, who is physically located in a particular jurisdiction, to assess a bill of entry pertaining to imports made at a different customs station, whenever such a bill of entry has been assigned to him in the customs automated system.

To ensure speedy and uniform assessment, the CBIC has nominated principal commissioner or commissioner customs, including in airports, to monitor the same.

This arrangement would pave the path to establish National Assessment Commissionerates (NAC) with the mandate to examine the assessment practices of imported articles across customs stations and suggest measures to bring about uniformity and enhanced quality of assessments.

The NACs would be put in place as and when faceless assessment is rolled out in phases across the country, the CBIC said.

It said “Turant Suvidha Kendras” would be set up in every customs station for trade facilitation in the new regime, including accepting Bonds or bank guarantees, carrying out verification, among others.

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