The tax department has asked officials to start an outreach programme with stakeholders and make systemic changes to implement proposed modifications in the Customs Act aimed at de-cluttering ports and enhancing revenue.
The Finance Bill 2017 proposes to modify the Customs Act for filing of bill of entry the same day on which the vessel, aircraft or vehicle carrying the goods arrives at a customs station. Changes have also been proposed relating to the payment of duty and interest. Major Operation "Clean Money" Drive At Income Tax Department
In a communication to chief commissioners of Customs and Central Excise, CBEC Member and Special Secretary Ananya Ray said the proposals are of far-reaching impact and would take the force of law upon the enactment of the Finance Bill.
"...it is opportune that the time available is used to understand the provisions, make an outreach to the various stakeholders and also undertake systemic changes wherever needed so that the provisions are implemented smoothly on their due date," the communication said.
Tax experts said the earlier practice of importers to file bill of entry as per their convenience was causing administrative issues at customs stations.
"This is a laudable move as it will ease traffic at customs stations," said Rakesh Bhargava, director at Taxmann.
Also, now importers would also need to make payment of customs duty on the same day when bill of entry is filed, otherwise they would be liable to pay interest for delay.
"This would enable government to collect customs duty in due time and ensure high tax compliance," said Mr Bhargava.
PwC partner (indirect tax) Pratik Jain said that by advancing the time limit for filing the bill of entry and customs duty payout, an attempt has been made to declutter the ports faster, which is a step in the right direction.
"It is however important the government machinery on the ground is geared up for this change," he said.
This will necessitate some realignment in the supply chain processes of importers, Mr Jain added. Most of the bigger companies may explore the option of filing advance bill of entries, he opined.