As a part of special measures / relaxations drive from various departmental authorities, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued Instructions and Circulars to clarify on various aspect including Special Refund Drive, e Bill of Entry and Clearance without Bond. We have encapsulated important aspects from the clarifications for your reference:

Instruction No. 03/2020 – Customs dated 9 April 2020: Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive:

As we all are aware, CBIC has taken a number of measures to mitigate the hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the trade and industry. Continuing with these trade facilitation measures, it has now been decided that all pending Customs refund and drawback claims shall be expeditiously processed in order to provide immediate relief to the business entities, especially MSMEs, in these difficult times.

It is hereby instructed that starting with immediate effect there shall be a “Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive” with the objective of priority processing and disposal of all pending refund and drawback claims.

This Special Drive shall be in place till 30 April 2020. It is expected that during this period all refund and drawback claims that are pending as on 07 April 2020 shall be disposed;

All communication should be done over email, wherever email id of the applicant is available; and

All deficiency memos may be reviewed and refund / drawback may be considered on merit

Circular No. 17/2020 – Customs dated 3 April 2020: Relaxation in issuance of Boand | Measure to facilitate trade during the lockdown period:

In light of the unprecedented situation caused due to COVID-19 pandemic, CBIC has decided to take certain measures for a temporary period in terms of section 143AA of the Customs Act, 1962 with a view to expedite Customs clearance of goods and for maintaining balance between Customs control and facilitation of legitimate trade. In this regard, Board has approved relaxation of the requirement to submit bonds prescribed under section 18, section 59 and section 143 upto 30 April 2020 subject to compliance of conditions as listed below:

– Customs field formations may accept request for submission of an undertaking from below specified categories of importer/exporter in lieu of a bond:

Government/Public Sector Undertakings (Central/State/UT Govts. or Administrations and their undertakings);

Manufacturer/Actual User importer;

Authorised Economic Operators;

Status holder; and

All importers availing warehouse facility in terms of section 59 of the Customs Act, 1962

– Each such relaxation, where requested, should comply with the conditions as provided in given circular.

Circular No. 19/2020 – Customs dated 13 April 2020: Electronic Communication of Gatepass and OOC Copy of Bill of Entry (BoE):

CBIC notifies that the specific measures that reduce interface between the Customs authorities and the importers/exporters/Customs Brokers are especially relevant in these challenging times, to tackle the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic.

In this direction, CBIC has now decided to enable electronic communication of PDF based Final eOoC (electronic Out of Charge) copy of BoE and eGatepass to the importers / Customs Brokers. This electronic communication would reduce interface between the Customs authorities and the importers/Customs Brokers and also do away with the requirement of taking bulky printouts from the Service Centre or maintenance of voluminous physical dockets in the Customs Houses. The Final eOoC copy of BoE and eGatepass copy will be emailed to the concerned Customs Broker and/or importer, if registered, once the Out of Charge is granted. The eGatepass copy will be used by the Gate Officer or the Custodian to allow physical exit of the imported goods from the Customs area. Salient features of the secure electronic communication has been provided in captioned Circular.

The electronic communication of the Final eOoC copy of BoE and eGatepass copy is expected to bring immense benefits in terms of time and cost of compliance and reduction in interface for the trade, while providing enhanced security features for verification of authenticity and validity of the electronic documents. This measure has been made effective from 15 April 2020.

We have linked respective update in its subject line. Humble request to all our connect to please do not consider these measures with as such applicability and implication. Rather, this should be considered as time to revisit on such relaxation and measures and comply or be prepared with required information / documentation for any emergency / quick use of these benefits.

Feel free to connect if you require any additional information / clarification in this regard.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: A ALWANI & CO
Location: Gujarat, IN
Member Since: 10 Nov 2018 | Total Posts: 13
Amrin has over 6 years experience in the field of Indirect Tax advisory and compliance including working with KPMG before she commenced her journey as an entrepreneur. In her new role from May 2017, she has been providing Business and Tax Advisory Services to various organisations. Her skill sets View Full Profile

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