NBR in a fix over its order on packaging material duty

Jasim Uddin | Published: 00:05, Feb 01,2018

 
 

A file photo shows different imported and local products are being displayed at a superstore in Dhaka. NBR has initiated a move to review its two recent orders which imposed customs duty on packet and packaging materials of imported goods as the orders created problems in field level customs offices. — New Age photo

The National Board of Revenue has initiated a move to review its two recent orders which imposed customs duty on packet and packaging materials of imported goods as the orders created problems in field level customs offices.
Officials of the revenue board said that the orders have created ambiguity among the field level customs officials regarding its applicability on different types of products causing inconsistency in practices by different officials at different customs houses.
Some importers were also not taking their goods from Chittagong ports as the duty of the items increased significantly after the Chittagong Customs House assessed the duty in line with the orders, they said.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate of the revenue board also found that the decision of imposing duty on the materials might put adverse impact on prices of goods in local market and hamper the objective of the customs authority of ensuring business-friendly environment in the country, they said.
The decision has also created repercussions among business community particularly importers.
CIID has recommended the NBR to postpone the orders immediately and take next decision after obtaining opinion of stakeholders including customs officials.
Customs wing of the NBR on October 9 asked the customs houses to determine the customs duty of imported goods by adding the prices of packets and packaging materials if the price of those materials of products like cosmetics, perfume, shampoo, toys, chocolate and biscuit were not included in the import prices.
The orders are applicable for products which are placed to customs authorities as single item without separating the goods and packaging materials and sold to consumers intact in the same way. Latter on October 29, the customs issued another order with explanations of previous order.
In this context, the revenue board on Thursday sought opinion from members of the customs wing and commissioners of customs houses, customs and VAT Commissionarates and other field offices.
They were asked to provide their opinion and recommendations whether there was any necessity to bring any amendment or change in the orders, on the methods of customs assessment before and after the issuance of the orders and challenges the field offices were facing to implement the orders within three working days.
According to an investigation report of the CIID, customs houses are following different practices in conducting customs valuation of imported goods with packets and packaging materials.
Even different practices are followed by different officials at the same customs houses, it said.
For example, an officer assesses the duty of a product considering the gross weight as net weight while another officer does the reverse.
Some are explaining the orders in one way while others are explaining it differently, CIID observed.
The customs intelligence also expressed apprehension of increasing the incidences of misdeclaration of imported goods at customs houses and customs stations.
Officials on Monday told New Age that the customs wing took the decision in line with the best global practices observing that local importers were evading duties by not including the prices of packaging materials in the assessable value of imported goods.
Now the NBR would take next steps after getting opinion from the field offices as well as high-ups of the board, they said.  

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