Grievance procedures against the decision of Customs Authority in Bangladesh

How to file an appeal before the Commissioner (Appeal) and Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal?

Disputes in relation to H.S. Code, transaction value and penalty imposed for inaccurate or false declaration by the importer

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In case a good is imported for home-consumption, the customs duty and taxes will be assessed upon presentation of bill of entry as per section 80 of the Customs Act, 1969. The customs authority may examine or test the good in presence of the owner or his agent prior to assessment of duty. 

If the goods are not cleared within 30 days from the date of unloading thereof at the port, the customs authority has the power under section 82 of the Act to sell the imported good in auction after providing due notice to the importer. If the importer learns about the auction, he may file a writ petition under Article 102 of the Constitution before the High Court Division for staying the auction process and obtain release of the goods upon payment of duty and taxes in accordance with law. A writ may also be filed where there is an inordinate delay in releasing of the imported goods or withholding of imported goods by the customs authority in violation of any provision of law.

Provisional assessment of duty and taxes

When the imported good require chemical test or other examination, an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Customs may order that the duty payable on such goods be provisionally assessed pursuant to section 81 of the Customs Act, 1969. The importer will be required to furnish a bank guarantee for the additional sum that may be payable upon final assessment. When an imported good has been cleared upon provisional assessment of duty, the final assessment shall be completed within a period of 120 working days from the date of provisional assessment. 

Disputes regarding H.S. Code and inaccurate declaration

The customs authority may proceed with assessment of duty and taxes on the basis of a different H.S. Code than that stated in the bill of entry. In case of disagreement with the H.S. Code or description of goods in the Bill of Entry, the most appropriate course for the importer is to apply to the customs authority for testing or examination of the imported goods by an expert. The importer in the meantime can make a request for provisional assessment of duty. If an order for provisional assessment is made, the importer will have to pay duty and taxes as per the declared H.S. Code and furnish bank guarantee for any additional sum demanded by the customs authority.

Filing an appeal to the Commissioner (Appeal)

If an officer below the rank of Commissioner of Customs conducts assessment of duty and taxes on the basis of a H.S. Code which the importer believes to be inaccurate, the importer may appeal to the Commissioner (Appeal) within three months from the date of communication to him of such decision or order. The importer is required to make a deposit of 50% of the duty demanded and/or 50% of the penalty imposed prior to consideration of the appeal unless a ground of undue hardship can be made out in which case the appellate authority may dispense with such deposit.

When an importer is entitled to file an appeal to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal?

Any person aggrieved by a decision or order of the Commissioner (appeal) or Commissioner of Customs may prefer an appeal to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal. A statutory deposit of 50% is required as aforesaid if it is not paid earlier at the time of filing of appeal under section 193 of the Act. The Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal shall dispose of the appeal within four years otherwise the appeal will be deemed to have been allowed.

Appeal to the High Court Division

A person can file a customs appeal to the Hon'ble High Court Division under section 196D of the Customs Act, 1969 against the order passed by the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal within three months from the date of communication of such order. A customs appeal is heard by a Division Bench of the Hon'ble High Court Division having jurisdiction to hear an appeal under section 196D of the Act. 

Invoice Value vs. Transaction Value

In case the customs authority disregards the invoice value of the imported goods and conducts assessment of duty and taxes on the basis of a loaded value or database value, the authority shall have to comply with শুল্ক মূল্যায়ন (আমদানি পন্যের মূল্য নির্ধারণ) বিধিমালা, ২০০০ (hereinafter referred to as ‘Customs Valuation Rules, 2000’). According to the Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of GATT (“the GATT valuation code”) and section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969, the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation is the transaction value. The invoice value of the imported good shall be the transaction value as per Rule 3 of the Valuation Rules, 2000. If the invoice value cannot be considered as the transaction value, then the customs authority may sequentially follow Rules 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in determining the transaction value of the imported goods. Rule 9(2)(Kha) of the Customs Valuation Rules, 2000 provides that, notwithstanding anything contained in the rules, in ascertaining the price of the imported good the highest value for any identical good shall not be considered as the value of the imported good. Furthermore, Rule 5(4) provides that if there is different transaction value for identical goods, the price of the imported good shall be ascertained based on the lowest of the said value.

Clean Report of Finding (CRF) Certificate issued by the certified Pre-Shipment Inspection Agency

Section 25A of the Customs Act, 1969 states that the customs classification of any goods verified and certified by the PSI agency shall be accepted as the basis for assessment. The PSI agency appointed by the Government has the authority to inspect the goods prior to shipment and provide a CRF certificate in accordance with the Pre-shipment Inspection Rules, 2002. If the importer is aggrieved by the decision of the PSI agency, the importer may file a review before the Commissioner (Appeal). 

Amendment of Assessment

The customs authority is entitled to amend any assessment made even after clearance of the imported goods. However, the amount of assessment cannot be increased after three years from the date of original assessment.

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