New Delhi: The Customs Department will roll out pan-India faceless assessment for all imported goods by October 31, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has said. While faceless assessment for import of certain goods was already rolled out in Bengaluru and Chennai ports on June 8, it was extended to Delhi and Mumbai Customs on August 3.
This will now be extended in phases to all ports across the country by December 31. ”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 CBIC said in a circular.
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 through an automated system. The CBIC has constituted 11 National Assessment Centres (NACs), consisting of the Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners of Customs.
”…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 CBIC said. The NAC would have to coordinate 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.
“To ensure smooth implementation of Faceless Assessment & to sensitize both the departmental officers and the trade, Directorate General of Taxpayer Services (DGTS) in coordination with Customs Policy Wing shall organize extensive outreaches via online webinars/promotional videos etc," the CBIC said. The CBIC said the key elements of the ‘Turant Customs’ programme are faceless, contactless and paperless Customs clearance processes. This includes faceless or anonymised assessment, self-registration of goods by importers, automated clearances of bills of entry, digitisation of Customs documents, among others.
The objectives sought to be achieved are exponentially faster clearance of goods, reduced interface between trade and Customs officers and enhanced ease of doing business. 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.
”The results have been reviewed and these have confirmed that the stated objectives are being met. 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 CBIC said in the circular. The CBIC had originally planned to introduce pan-India faceless assessment of imported goods by January 1, 2021.