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COVID-19: CBIC allowed submission of undertaking in lieu of bond for export and import

Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) to provide relief to industries and to facilitate trade during the lockdown period due to coronavirus pandemic has allowed submission of undertaking instead of bond to a certain category of exporter and importer. This relaxation will be available up to 30.04.2020.

In Circular No 17/2020 – Customs dated 03.04.2020, CBIC stated that the board had received various representations from field formations, regarding the non-availability of notarized stamp paper due to the nationwide lockdown implemented to stop the outbreak of coronavirus, for furnishing bond at the time of assessment and clearance of goods.

Because of the above-unprecedented situation, the board has decided to give relaxation in the requirement to submit bonds as required under section 18, section 59, section 143 and notifications issued in terms of section 25 of Customs Act, 1962. However, this relaxation is subject to compliance with some conditions.

Further importers or exporters availing the above facility are required to submit a duly executed bond in place of the above-furnished undertaking on or before 07.02.2020. Further customs field authorities are also required to maintain a record of all cases of relaxation allowed by them.

Categories of the importers or exporters to whom above relaxation applied:-

a. Government/Public Sector Undertakings (Central/State/Union Territory Government or Administrations and their undertakings)

b. Manufacturer/Actual User importer

c. Authorised Economic Operators

d. Status Holder

e. All importers availing warehouse facility in terms of section 59 of the Customs Act, 1962.

Conditions to be fulfilled by importers or exporters availing above relaxation:-

a. The content of the undertaking should, to the extent possible, be same as the content of the prescribed bond.

b. The undertaking should be duly signed by the IEC holder concerned on their business letterhead and submitted by the registered email ID of the IEC holder or their authorised Customs Broker.

c. The undertaking should include a commitment from the IEC holder to submit the proper bond in prescribed format on notarised stamp paper etc. on or before 07.05.2020.

d. The undertaking will not be treated as a substitute for security, wherever mandated.

e. The security, where required, shall be furnished in the nature and manner as deemed fit by the proper officer. Board’s instructions issued from time to time regarding such security in specific cases should be kept in view in this regard.

f. In case of warehoused goods, any subsequent movement of goods to another warehouse under section 67 of the Customs Act, 1962, shall be allowed only to manufacturer/actual user importer or AEO or Status holders. For requests related to change of ownership after warehousing, the facility shall be considered only in cases where the prospective buyer is manufacturer/actual user importer or AEO or Status holder.

Further jurisdictional commissioner may also grant the above relaxation to any other importers or exporters who request for the same but not mentioned in circular. These requests may be considered on case to case basis after ensuring compliance of statutory provisions and safeguard of revenue.

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