Faceless Assessment under Customs

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Faceless Assessment under Customs

After a successful pilot program of Faceless Assessment, recently, on 8th June 2020, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs launched the first phase of the Faceless Assessment. The main objective of Faceless Assessment is the adoption of speedy clearance of goods and uniform assessment across the country.

The present article briefs the background and phase-wise introduction of Faceless Assessment and highlights the working pattern thereon.

Background and phase-wise introduction of Faceless Assessment

The first pilot program of Faceless Assessment began in Chennai on 14th August 2019 for articles falling under Chapter 84 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. Later on, a similar pilot program began in Delhi, Gujarat, Bengaluru, and Vishakhapatnam for articles falling under Chapter 39, 50, 71, 72, 83, 85, 86, and 92.

The Board prepared for launching the Faceless Assessment based on the lesson learned from the pilot program. Since the Faceless Assessment is an entirely new system, adaptation of the same will obviously require some time for the trade, customs officers, and other stakeholders.

To simplify the implementation process, the Board has decided to introduce/ launch the Faceless Assessment in different phases. The first phase of Faceless Assessment was recently introduced on 8th June 2020 at Chennai and Bengaluru for import of article/ goods covered under Chapter 84 and Chapter 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.

As per the Board’s scheming, the Faceless Assessment is likely to be fully introduced by 31st December 2020.

System/section/group handling the Faceless Assessment

For understanding the Faceless Assessment working, it is important to understand some section/ system/ group handling the same-

System/ section/ group Description
Faceless Assessment Group It consists of Superintendent, Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner and will assess the bill of entry.
Turant Suvidha Kendra

It will cater to the following functions and roles-

·       Accept Bond or Bank Guarantee.

·       Disfiguring of documents or permits licenses.

·       The debit of documents or permits licenses.

·       Undertake verification, as referred by the Faceless Assessment Group.

·       Any other functions to facilitate the trade as directed/ determined by the Commissioner.

Port Assessment Group It would be the appraising group located at each port of import for verification of assessment and other relevant functions.
Customs Automated System It is a fully automated customs clearance system that enables the functioning of custom clearance efficient and transparent.
e-Sanchit It is a system introduced by the Customs to import the Cargo to reduce the physical interface between clearing agents and customs.

Highlighting the working pattern under the Faceless Assessment

Firstly, the importer shall present a bill of entry on the Customs Automated System (i.e., ICEGATE). The bill of entry is to be submitted with the following supporting documents-

  • List of mandatory documents-
    • Invoice,
    • Packing List and
    • Bill of Lading.
  • List of documents to be submitted, if required-
    • License/ permission/ authorization.
    • BIS or other registration.
    • Scrips.
    • Equipment type approval.
    • Certificate of Origin.
    • Certificate for claiming duty exemption.

After submission of the bill of entry, the Customs Automated System will assign the same to an officer of the relevant Faceless Assessment Group, after carrying on the verification process, the Faceless Assessment Group may-

  1. Conclude the verification and return the bill of entry to the importer for duty payment; or
  2. Seek additional information/ documents, or
  3. Get examination or testing of the goods for proper verification of assessment.

In case the Faceless Assessment Group seeks additional information/ documents, the Group has to raise queries electronically, through ICEGATE portal to the importer. In response, the importer should reply to the query and submit additional information/ document through e-Sanchit.

Further, in case the Faceless Assessment Group requires examination or testing of goods, the Group has to order for first check examination/ testing of goods with specific direction/ testing parameters to the shed officer at the port of import. The shed officer shall send the samples to the appropriate laboratory and, thereafter forward the test report to the Faceless Assessment Group.

During the pending verification at Faceless Assessment Group, if required, the importer can request the storage of the imported goods in warehouse.

Dealing with certain exceptional circumstances under Faceless Assessment

The Faceless Assessment Group during the pending verification may transfer the bill of entry to the Port Assessment Group in any of the following exceptional circumstances-

  1. In case the Faceless Assessment Group believe that imported goods are liable for confiscation.
  2. In case of related party transactions warranting investigation by Special Valuation Branch for further investigation.
  3. In case the Faceless Assessment Group is not able to complete the verification for want of additional information/ documents.

Post by poonamgandhi

CA Poonam Gandhi is a Chartered Accountant and a Lawyer. With a wide practice experience and deep understanding of different laws and taxes, she has been an independent professional writer in the field of taxation, finance and laws.