The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has directed its field formations to expedite “non-duty-related measures” for augmenting revenue. To this effect, CBEC members held meetings last week. Officials said the priority was revenue maximisation to take care of the fiscal deficit. While duty cuts have dampened indirect tax collection, the emphasis is now on non-duty measures like arrears and duty from existing goods.

The customs department has written to port authorities all over India to evacuate cargo and release the duty payment as soon as possible before March 31. The ports have been further directed that if the goods remain unclaimed even after the expiry of deadline for storage in the port, they could auction it and release the payments due to the customs department. The directions have been issued both for ordinary goods for which duty is paid once it is released from the port and also for warehouse goods.

‘Warehouse goods’ are supported by bank guarantees and duty is paid in the form of a guarantee once the goods leave the port. In both categories, port authorities have been directed to auction goods as much as they can and as soon as possible to garner revenues.

Similarly, for arrear demands or demand pending in litigation, the CBEC has directed its field formations across the country to open all cases, irrespective of year and amount involved, where it had raised a demand but this has been stayed by courts, otherwise known as call-book cases.

The department proposes to scrutinise all fresh proposals for availing duty benefits, both in export or import, and refund claims before releasing it. Certificates given by importers and those who had availed the duty cut benefits announced as part of the stimulus measures last year will be also put under scrutiny. “The scrutiny is meant to check the end-use of the funds availed under the stimulus measures,” said an official.

MONEY MATTERS
* Revenue maximisation would be aimed at taking care of the fiscal deficit
* The emphasis now is on non-duty measures like arrears and duty from existing goods
* The customs department has written to port authorities to evacuate cargo and release the duty payment as soon as possible, before March 31
* The ports have been directed that if the goods remain unclaimed even after the expiry of deadline, they could auction it and release the payments due to the customs department
* For arrear demands or demand pending in litigation, CBEC has directed its field formations across the country to open all cases, irrespective of year and amount involved, where it had raised a demand but this has been stayed by courts
* The department proposes to scrutinise all fresh proposals for availing duty benefits, both in export or import, and refund claims before releasing it
* The board has also proposed an amendment to the customs law for tightening the provisions of the Duty Exemption Entitlement Scheme

The board has also proposed an amendment to the customs law for tightening the provisions of the Duty Exemption Entitlement Scheme (DEEC). Under DEEC, an export gets duty benefit while importing goods related to the goods it exports. If the exporter does not import goods, it can sell these duty benefit certificates to another imports.

In several cases, while there is no genuine export, the exporter has got the duty benefits through a certificate and sold these duty benefit certificates to other importers. In such cases, the department has asked for an amendment in the DEEC scheme whereby the duty can be recovered by the original exporter in case of fraudulent exports in case the certificate has been sold to another importer. Under the current law, the onus of recovery of the duty is on the importer who has purchased these certificates and availed the benefits. However, it amounts to loss on both sides for the importer who purchases these certificates because he pays for buying the certificates and also pays the duty in case the benefit is denied.

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