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Faceless Assessment under Customs


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, a similar pilot program began in Delhi, Gujarat, Bengaluru, and Vishakhapatnam for articles falling under Chapters 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 require some time for the trade, customs officers, and other stakeholders.

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

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

System/section/group handling the Faceless Assessment

To understand the Faceless Assessment works, it is essential to understand some sections/systems/groups 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 assessment verification and other relevant functions.
Customs Automated System It is a fully automated customs clearance system that enables the functioning of custom clearance to be efficient and transparent.
e-Sanchit It is a system introduced by Customs to import 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.

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

Further, suppose the Faceless Assessment Group requires the examination or testing of goods. In that case, 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 forward the test report to the Faceless Assessment Group.

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

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 special circumstances-

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