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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will not impose any penalty on importers in cases of non-placement of original invoices/ packing lists inside the import containers or consignments.

This major import-related facilitative measure has been announced through the Finance Bill 2023.

Under the Finance Bill 2023, the penalty on documents not found inside the consignment has been abolished. The pitch of penalty on documents not uploaded electronically with the goods declaration is being rationalised to facilitate trade.

Earlier, the FBR had issued a new list of hundreds of items where importers must place original invoices and packing lists inside the containers to be imported into Pakistan. Under the SRO 567(I)/2022, all imported cargo entered into Customs area for clearance were required to be accompanied with a copy of packing list and invoice in the specified manner. “The list of items where placement of original invoice and packing list was mandatory was placed at Annex-A of the revised customs rules”.

Now for redressing grievances of trade, it has been proposed that penalties leviable in connection with non-placement of invoices/ packing lists inside the import container or consignment are abolished.

Import/export cargoes: FBR tightens procedures for tracking, monitoring

Also, the penalty imposed on account of failure to attach or electronically upload mandatory documents with Goods Declarations (ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs250,000), has been proposed to be restricted to Rs50,000.

At present, penalties with respect to the various offences, including those listed, have been made leviable on the basis of value of goods, without prescription of any minimum threshold: Smuggling of essential commodities; contravention of import/ export restrictions; possessing, carrying, removing, depositing, harbouring, keeping concealing, retailing or in any manner dealing with smuggled goods; or dealing with goods which have been unlawfully removed from a warehouse and evasion of duty/ taxes thereon.

In this regard, a minimum threshold of penalty is now proposed to be introduced at an amount not less than the value of goods in order to make these penal provisions more stringent, a tax expert said. The FBR has also added Provincial Levies and Khasadar Force in the list of government agencies mandated to assist Customs department in anti-smuggling operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Through Finance Bill 2023, the FBR has taken a number of measures to check smuggling across the country.

Under the Finance Bill 2023, the definition of smuggling is being proposed to be rephrased to enable Customs to conduct anti-smuggling operations within the territorial limits of the country.

The Provincial Levies and Khasadar Force have been proposed to be added in the list of government agencies mandated to assist Customs in anti-smuggling operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Moreover, the penal provisions for offence of smuggling of essential commodities are proposed to be made more stringent. In this regard, the penal provisions for the offence of smuggling of banned and contra-banned goods are being proposed to be made more stringent.

To ease out congestion at border customs stations, the mandatory time for filing of goods declaration after arrival of goods in the border customs station is proposed to be reduced.

In order to facilitate the trade, the warehousing period for perishable items has been proposed to be enhanced from one month to three months. Under the Finance Bill 2023-24, the penalty on documents not found inside the consignment is abolished.

The pitch of penalty on documents not uploaded electronically with the goods declaration is being rationalised to facilitate trade. In order to reduce the clearance time and to eliminate human interaction, option is being provided to the respondent to go for adjudication through Customs computerised system.

To facilitate the passengers travelling as a group who cannot file their own baggage declarations, the representative of the group of passengers is being allowed to file baggage declaration on behalf of the group members.

To check revenue loss, penal provisions for any attempt to evade duty and taxes in breach of laws and procedures are being proposed to be made more stringent, the Finance Bill 2023 added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Shamsi Jun 11, 2023 03:59pm
We are interested in projector business for pakistan please send dealership details and min ordering Regards
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Jani Walker Jun 11, 2023 04:57pm
More facility for smugglers and import cheats. I wonder why they and the Boots do not stop the rampant and open smuggling from Iran?
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