Centre to restructure customs duty to boost trading

New Delhi: After launching GST, the biggest tax reform that unified all indirect taxes, the NDA Government is set to reform the customs duty architecture to accelerate country’s trading procedures and ease of running businesses.

The recommended changes aim to reduce physical meetings with tax officials through digitization. The release of goods will be automated, and the consignments can be traced electronically. These features will significantly bring down red-tape and facilitate quick transfer of merchandise.

Faceless assessment will be new territory for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. The board will discuss with the trade to check if any legal or constitutional changes are needed. The main goal is to strive towards getting listed in one of the top 50 countries by World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business.

It is ideal that goods are landed and assessed in different locations, according to the experts from the World Customs Organization, this practice can enhance clearance speed.

After the change in customs duty architecture gets implemented, a distributor in Cochin can get his cargo assessed in Vishakhapatnam without having to contact the local customs. The faceless interface can be utilised for a computerised release of the shipment, enabling an importer or a distributor to get SMS and/or email notifying that the goods are ready to be collected – without any interaction with customs officer(s).

As for facilitating ease of doing business, the department has formulated virtual groups to brainstorm. The customs recommends expanding the E-Sanchit feature that lets traders do all paperwork online. This feature will be rolled out in 2-3 months. In addition, Port IT systems will be integrated for the same.

In short, the board is doing its best to meet the indirect tax target (of Rs. 30,000 crores) for the fiscal and improve revenue collection from individual states.

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