Concessional Rate of Basic Customs Duty of 7.5% payable on Smart Plugs: AAR [Read Order]

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The Customs Authority of Advance Ruling (AAR) ruled that the concessional rate of basic customs duty of 7.5% payable on smart plugs.

The applicant, M/s. Amazon Seller Services Private Limited proposes to import a device called smart plug, having model no. C2YY3N.

The application of advance ruling, seeking the classification of the said device and eligibility for the benefit of serial number 490 of notification no. 50/2017-Cus., dated 30.06.2017 was received in the secretariat of the erstwhile Authority for Advance Rulings (Central Excise, Customs and Service Tax), New Delhi on 17.08.2020.

However, since no ruling was issued by the said authority, the pending application was transferred to the Customs Authority for Advance Rulings, Mumbai in February, 2021. Communications were sent to the applicant from the secretariat of the CAAR, Mumbai to inform whether they are still desirous of receiving the advance rulings in respect of the pending application. The applicant, vide their communication informed that they are still interested in receiving the advance rulings and also that they will submit the application in the revised format in due course. Thereafter, the application was e-mailed by the applicant in July, 2021, which was followed by physical submission of the application in August, 2021.

The smart plug is described by the applicant as a handsfree Alexa enabled device that has multiple built-in elements, i.e., a plug, a socket, a switch and a button. The smart plug can be plugged into standard wall sockets. On the other side of it, a normal plug can be plugged into the smart plug. Such normal plug can be for any appliance like a table fan or a table lamp or refrigerator or any other connected appliance. It supports Wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity. With such connectivity, the smart plug acts in its capacity as a smart switch_ The smart plug gets paired with the Alexa application on the user’s phone. After such pairing, the user can control the flow of electricity to the connected appliances through the smart plug using the Alexa application on his phone, without having to manually reach for the switch. The button on the smart plug enables its users to reset it to manual set up mode or factory setting or to change the network. The user gets a clear, visual indication from the LED that the smart plug has successfully reverted back to the manufacturer’s default state.

The coram of Manoj Kumar Hessa ruled that Smart plugs of model no. C2YY3N are rightly classifiable under sub-heading 85371000 of the first schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The said smart plugs would be eligible to claim the benefit of serial number 490 of notification no. 50/2017-Cus., dated 30.06.2017.

“The relevant entry in the said notification provides for a concessional rate of basic customs duty of 7.5% for all goods other than those suitable for use in, motor vehicles falling under heading 8702 or 8704, motor cars falling under heading 8703, or motorcycles falling under heading 8711. Since smart plugs have been held classifiable under heading 8537 and do not fall under listed exclusions, they would be eligible for the concessional rate of duty under the said notification,” the AAR observed.

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