Government evaluates easing of import duty payment timelines


New Delhi: The government is evaluating relaxation of payment timelines of import duties so that many importers can hold on to their authorised economic operator, or AEO, status, a government official told ET.

A delay in payment of the duties leads to higher interest, penalties and possibility of cancellation of the AEO certification.

Now, AEOs typically get facilities of direct port delivery of imported containers, direct port entry of their export containers, high level of facilitation in customs clearance of their consignments thereby ensuring shorter cargo release time, exemption from bank guarantees, and priority for refund, rebate or duty drawback.

With many importers across industries unable to stick to their payment timelines due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are at risk of losing their AEO status which would impact their operations.

“Some representations have been made to give more time for clearing of duty payments,” said the official cited earlier. Changes to the existing rules, if done, may be unveiled during the Union budget, the person said.

The industry has called for a simplified structure for payment timelines.

At present, duties for goods imported in the first half of a month need to be paid on the 17th of that month while the date for paying duties for imports in the second half is the 3rd day of next month.

Representations have been made by industry at large led by importers of electronics, component makers and capital goods to permit deferment of duty payments by a week for the first 15 days of the month. The additional time, they have said, will enable accurate calculation of duties and could reduce compliance to once a month.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) is also considering providing additional benefits, like further reduction in bank guarantee requirements for small and medium sized importers, the official said.

The board had recently relaxed criteria for MSMEs for becoming AEOs.

Easing of Import Duty Payment Timelines Likely





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