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Customs to begin faceless assessment of imports across India - (04 Sep 2020)


In a step forward to ease of doing business module, the Customs Department will soon initiate pan-India faceless assessment for all imported goods by October 31. Initially, the faceless assessment for import of certain goods was already rolled out in Bengaluru and Chennai ports on June 8, and it was further extended to Delhi and Mumbai on August 3. In fact, the phased launch of the Turant Customs programme in select ports of import was aimed at testing in a real-life environment, the IT capabilities as well as the responsiveness of the trade and Customs officers to various initiatives. Now, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and customs (CBIC) has said in its Circular that, Board has decided to roll out the Faceless Assessment at an all India level in all ports of import and for all imported goods by October 31, 2020. The Board claims that, the results have been reviewed and confirmed that, the stated objectives are being met and the stage is now set for extending the Turant Customs programme across all Customs ports pan India and thereby ushering in a more modern, efficient, and professional Customs administration with resultant benefits for trade and industry.

The benefit of Faceless assessment is that, an assessing officer, who is physically located in a particular jurisdiction, can 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 through an automated system. The Board has constituted 11 National Assessment Centres (NACs), consisting of the Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners of Customs. The Board further stated that, 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 faceless assessment will reduce harassment faced by assesses and will pave the way for exponentially faster clearance of goods, reduced interface between trade and Customs officers and enhanced ease of doing business.

The Central Board has also assured that, to ensure smooth implementation of Faceless Assessment and to sensitize both the departmental officers and the trade, Directorate General of Taxpayer Services (DGTS) in co-ordination with Customs Policy Wing shall organize extensive outreaches via online webinars/promotional videos etc,". This would enable seamless functioning while reducing friction between the departments. In this regard, the NAC would have to co-ordinate with Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI), Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management (DGARM) and other Directorates to enhance risk assessment.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs claims that, the key elements of the 'Turant Customs' programme are faceless, contactless and paperless Customs clearance processes and also faceless or anonymised assessment, self-registration of goods by importers, automated clearances of bills of entry, digitisation of Customs documents, among others. By bringing this revolutionary change, the Customs will surely make ‘ease of doing business’ matra a reality.


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