CBIC issues Urgent Measures to sensitise trade in light of proposed changes to Section 46 of the Customs Act, 1962 [Read Circular]

CBIC - Urgent Measures to sensitise trade - Section 46 of the Customs Act - taxscan

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) issued the urgent measures to sensitise trade in light of proposed changes to Section 46 of the Customs Act, 1962.

The changes in Section 46 would facilitate pre-arrival processing and assessment of Bills of Entry (BE) by mandating their advance filing thus leading to significant decrease in the Customs clearance time.

The amended Section 46 would require an importer to file a BE before the end of the day (including holidays) preceding the day of arrival of the vessel/aircraft/vehicle carrying the imported goods at a Customs port/station at which such goods are to be cleared for home consumption or warehousing.

The proposed amendments in Section 46 also empower the Board to prescribe different time limits for filing of BE in certain cases, but not later than the end of the day of arrival of the vessel/aircraft/vehicle at the Customs port/station.

Trade has represented for a relaxation so as to prescribe a different timeline for filing of Bills of Entry in respect of imports at Land Customs Stations and airports, imports consigned from neighbouring countries, which arrive by short-haul vessels citing practical difficulties that may arise in filing of the BE before the end of the day (including holiday) preceding the day of arrival of the vessel or aircraft or vehicle carrying the imported goods at a Customs port/station. Board is considering the same.

However, any relaxation that is found merited can be notified only after the proposed amendment to Section 46 comes into effect.

It is noteworthy that the changes would be a distinct departure from the present legal provision that allows the filing of a BE even after the arrival of the vessel/aircraft/vehicle.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the trade/Customs Brokers etc. are alerted to be ready for the change, which would come into force shortly with the enactment of the Finance Bill, 2021. Hence, the Board requests all the field formations to issue suitable Public Notices/Trade Notices urgently to sensitize the trade so as to avoid inconvenience and disruptions.

As per the Instructions, the Board would shortly issue a detailed clarificatory circular on the subject, once the Finance Bill, 2021 is enacted.

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