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Valuation Rules and PSI Obligations

Citizen cannot be taxed whimsically

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(To be continued)
11. Though the Tribunal observed that CRF certified price is not tallied with the contemporary price of identical goods but did not elaborate its observation by referring any particular case. From the valuation report supplied by the customs authority contained in the paper book it appears that price of the LAPTOP BAG ADDEL: ACB-CB27 released through bill of entry dated 5-10-2010 was US$ 2.86 per price and in the same valuation report price of the 'LAPTOP BAG' NYLON ASSORTED SIZE B325, 382 released through bill of entry dated 6-12-2010 was US$ 0.73 per price.
12. National Board of Revenue under Section 219 read with Section 25A of the Custom Act made 'Valuation rules' to determine value of the imported goods subject to condition specified in the rules.”এই বিধির অধীন অভিন্ন পন্যের একাধিক বিনিময় মূল্য পাওয়া গেলে উহাদের মধ্যে সর্বাপেক্ষা কম বিনিময় মূল্যের ভিত্তিতে আমদানিকৃত পণ্যের মূল্য নির্ধারণ করিতে হইবে ।”
১৪. অমধরহ, জঁষব ৯(২) ড়ভ ঃযব ঠধষঁধঃরড়হ জঁষবং ঢ়ৎড়ারফবং ঃযধঃ,
৯ (২) এই আইনে যাহা কিছুই থাকুক না কেন, নিম্নবর্ণিত যে কোন বিষয়ের ভিত্তিতে কোন আমদানিকৃত পণ্যের মূল্য নির্ধারণ করা যাইবে না, যথাঃ-
(ক)  --------------------------------------------------------
(খ)  মূল্য নির্ধারণের উদ্দেশ্যে দুইটি বিকল্প মূল্যের মধ্যে সর্বো"চ মূল্য।
15. Commercial description of the imported goods described in the CRF certificate is 'LAPTOP BAG, NYLON ASSORTED SIZE 832, 92 DOZ'. Which is almost identical with the description of the goods described in the valuation report released through bill of entry dated 6-12- 2010 at a price of US$ 0.73 per piece.
16.  Learned Deputy Attorney-General emphasis much on Rule 22(3) of the PSI Rules which is as follows:
’’ ২২ । প্রত্যায়নপত্রের ব্যবহার
(৩) প্রাপ্ত সুস্পষ্ট তথ্য প্রমাণের ভিত্তিতে শুল্কায়নকালে যদি এমর্মে নিশ্চিৎ হওয়া  যায় যে, পরিদর্শন সং¯'া কর্ত"ক প্রত্যায়িত মূল্য পণ্যের বিনিময় মূল্য নয়, তাহলে মূল্যায়ন বিধিমালা অনুযায়ী সহকারী কমিশনারের নিম্নে নহেন এমন কর্মকর্তার অনুমোদন সাপেক্ষে যথাযথ বিনিময় মূল্য নির্ধারণ পূর্বক শুল্কায়ন করতে হবে।”    
17. Above provision clearly states that before ignoring price certified by the PSI agency, the Customs Authority must arrive at a clear finding on the basis of definite information based on authentic evidence that the value certified by the PSI agency is not the actual transaction value.
18. The Government appoints pre-shipment inspection agencies under Section 25A of the Customs Act. Sub-Section (2) of Section 25A clearly provides that:
"The Government may, by notification in the official gazette, declare that the quality, quantity, price, description and customs classification of any goods verified and certified in the prescribed manner by a reshipment inspection agency shall be accepted as the basis for assessment."
19. Again, Sub-Section (3) of Section 25A provides that:
"For the purposes of this Section, "price" means value of the goods determined in accordance with sub-Section (l) and (2) of Section 25.
20. From the above, it is clear that Section 25A in an unequivocal language declares that the price certified by the PSI agency shall be accepted as the basis for assessment and Sub-Section (2) of Section 25A provides that the price of the goods is to be determined in accordance with the rule made in this behalf.
21. In appointing pre-shipment agencies, the Government divided the globe in six parts and nominated one PSI agency of its choice for each part and thereby compelled the importer to collect certificate from the PSI agency nominated by the Government. The importer has no choice/option but to collect the CRF certificate from the Government nominated only PSI agency for that part of the globe from where the importer intends to import. In consideration of the same, Subsection (2) of Section 25A mandate that the price certified by the PSI agency shall be basis for the assessment and Section 25(2) provides that in respect of imported goods price of the goods shall be determined in accordance with the valuation rules made by the National Board of Revenue.
22. From the provisions of rule 5 and 9 of the valuation rules it is clear that if there is more than one value of an identical good than the lowest value shall be the basis for assessment and rule 22(3) of the PSI rules mandate that to ignore the price certified by the PSI agency it is incumbent upon the customs authority to prove that the CRF certified price is not the actual transaction value. From the note sheet supplied by the learned Deputy Attorney-General at the time of hearing without filing any affidavit, it is evident that the customs authority determined value of the imported goods on the basis evaluation report as quoted above but there is nothing in the note sheet that the customs authority had definite information based on authentic evidence that the value certified by the PSI agency is not the actual transaction value.
23. To discard PSI certified value, the customs authority must prove with authentic evidence that the value certified by the PSI agency is in connivance with the importer to evade revenue but it appears from the valuation report supplied by the customs authority as well as from the order of the Review Committee that the customs authority determined value of the goods ignoring CRF certificate by taking the recourse of pick and choose, in other words at the whims of the concern assessing officials with an ulterior motive which is also apparent from the valuation report supplied by the customs authority contained in the paper book; On plain recording of Section 25A with Section 25 of the Customs Act along with valuation rules and PSI rules, we find no earthly reason to discard the price certified by the PSI agency if customs authority cannot prove with sufficient evidence that the value determined by the PSI agency is not the actual transaction value and such burden of prove lies upon the custom authority. The importer under the PSI scheme has no obligation to prove authenticity of the actual transaction value when PSI agency certified the price under, Section 25A of the Customs Act. The customs authority should be refrained from assessing the PSI certified goods on pick and choose basis at the whims of assessing officials rather it is incumbent upon the authority to strictly follow the valuation rules and PSI rules if it is proved with sufficient and authentic evidence that the PSI certified price is not the actual transaction value.
24. A citizen of the country cannot be taxed on the whims of a section of unscrupulous assessing officials. We believe that most of the officials are honest and perform their duties diligently in accordance with law.
25. Under the facts and circumstances of the case and for the reasons stated above, we are inclined to allow the appeal.
26. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.
27. Judgment and order dated 5-5-2013 passed by the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal, Dhaka, under Nothi No. CEVT/Case (Cus)-473/2011 is set aside and the order dated 8-3-2011 passed by the Review Committee is hereby restored.
28. The respondent No. 2 Commissioner of Customs (import), Customs House, Chittagong, is directed to assess the goods on the basis of CRF certified price and, refund the Bank Guarantee No. I of 2011 dated 10-1-2011 issued by the NCC Bank, Agrabad Branch, Chittagong, to the appellant within 45 days from the date of receipt of this order.
29. Send down records to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal, Dhaka, along with a copy of this judgment at once.

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