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Unlawful assessment: FTO rues customs appraisers’ performance

Unlawful assessment: FTO rues customs appraisers’ performance

ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Abdur Rauf Chaudhry has expressed serious concern over the performance of customs appraisers and questioned that if the Appraisers cannot detect non-application of a Valuation Ruling in a Goods Declaration, how can they detect evaders indulged in avoidance of Valuation Rulings. The FTO remarked while deciding a complaint against the Customs authorities at Karachi for maladministration in passing an allegedly unlawful assessment order.

The complaint was filed under Section 10(1) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000 against the Customs authorities at Karachi for maladministration in passing an allegedly unlawful assessment order dated January 16, 2010 and failing to accept the Complainant’s request to reopen the Order-in-Original (O-in-O) No 276/2013 dated April 4, 2013 under which a short levy of Rs48,476 was adjudged against the complainant.

The FTO observed that non-application of Valuation Ruling at the time of appraisement was another failure of the appraisement staff. The appraisement system followed by the Appraisement Collectorates is based on self-assessment which is cross-checked by the Customs experts known as “Appraisers” to point out any deficiency in declarations made by the importers/clearing agents to forestall post-clearance disputes of short-levies as one is involved in this case. Application of Valuation Rulings is therefore as much the obligation of importers/clearing agents as that of the Appraisement Staff. If the Appraises cannot detect non-application of a Valuation Ruling in a Goods Declaration, how can the Appraisement staff detect evaders indulged in avoidance of Valuation Rulings?

Following the FTO’s directives, the FBR has directed Collector of Customs, MCC Appraisement (East) to reopen the case to examine the propriety and legality of the O-in-O No 276/2013 dated April 4, 2013; provide opportunity of hearing to the complainant and decide the matter as per law and report compliance within 45 days.