The Financial Express

Decrees issued to stop taxmen’s misdeeds

Decrees issued to stop taxmen’s misdeeds

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has detected irregularities in customs assessment by a section of revenue officers (ROs) and assistant revenue officers (AROs) using Asycuda World system.

The NBR Customs Wing has expressed its deep concern over the issue, as the responsibilities of an assigned revenue official to conduct a particular assessment of bill of entry are being conducted by other ARO or RO without specifying valid reason.

The wing has found the scenario after scrutinising data of such assessments of the customs houses across the country.

Officials said there is a risk of duty evasion through deviation of the rules of customs assessment.

In the Asycuda World (AW) system, bill of entry of each importer is assigned to a particular officer, who is liable to carry out all responsibilities regarding payment of duties and taxes on the basis of his assessment of imported goods.

However, the NBR has found other revenue officials (than the assigned officer) are conducting the customs assessment without specifying any reason.

Subsequently, the Customs Wing has issued a set of instructions on Sunday to the customs houses across the country.

It has instructed the customs houses not to allow other revenue officials, except the assigned one, to conduct assessment without any valid reason.

NBR Member (Customs policy and ICT) Syed Golam Kibria said the wing issued the order to ensure transparency in using AW system.

"The instruction will help to check scopes of tax evasion by following a prescribed process on reassignment of AROs and ROs."

The Customs Wing has found almost all of the customs houses have the practice of reassigning bill of entry without approval, he added.

Customs officials said the government may loss its due revenue in this process in case of connivance between importers and AROs/ROs.

In some cases, an importer may take the advantage of personal connection with a particular RO by insisting him to conduct assessment of his imported goods, they noted.

"The issue has been ignored since inception of AW in 2013, as none of the customs houses brings this issue so far to the NBR's notice," the instruction mentioned.

In case of utmost necessity to reassign a revenue official, the official concerned will need to take prior approval in written form from the assistant or deputy commissioner of the customs house concerned, explaining logical reason, the instruction said.

However, it will have to be documented in the Inspection Act or information page of Asycuda World.

Reassigning the ARO or RO without taking proper approval or customs assessment by other officials, expect the reassigned one, without any logical reason, will be considered 'misconduct' by the customs authority.

All the customs assessment officer, approval providing officer and supervising officer will be held responsible, personally and officially, if the government loses any revenue due to reassignment of officials without approval, the instruction added.

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