Declared value of imported goods cannot be enhanced merely on the basis of NIDB data

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Dear Professional Colleague,

We are sharing with you an important judgment of Hon’ble CESTAT, Chennai, in the case of Topsia Estates Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Customs, Chennai [(2015) 53 taxmann.com 345 (Chennai – CESTAT)] on the following issue:

Issue:

Whether the Declared value of imported goods can be enhanced merely on the basis of NIDB data?

Facts & background:

Topsia Estates (“the Appellant” or “the Company”) imported PU Coated Fabrics (“impugned goods”) of various thicknesses from China and filed 24 Bills of Entry during the period from November, 2012 to July, 2013. The Assessing Officer enhanced the declared value of impugned goods based on National Import Data Base (“NIDB”) data under Rule 9 of the Customs Valuation Rules, 2007 (“the Valuation Rules”). The Appellant paid duty under-protest. On appeal being filed to the Ld. Commissioner (Appeals), the same was rejected. Being aggrieved, the Appellant preferred an appeal before the Hon’ble CESTAT, Chennai. Before the Hon’ble CESTAT, Chennai, the Appellant submitted as under:

The Company have been importing impugned goods from various ports such as Chennai, Kolkata etc., and the value of impugned goods depends on the country of origin, quality, size, quantity etc;

In another case, the Company imported impugned goods from Kolkata Port for which the Adjudicating Authority enhanced the declared value and when the Commissioner (Appeals) set aside the Adjudication Order, no appeal was filed by the Department. Even the Company have also got the refund;

In present case, the Adjudicating Authority has wrongly enhanced the value of the impugned goods as it is well-settled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Tribunal that the Transaction value cannot be rejected merely on the basis of NIDB data and Rule 9 of Valuation Rules cannot be invoked.

On the other hand, the Revenue contented that the value of PU Coated Fabrics is a contentious issue for a long time. The declared value of impugned goods is on the lower side in comparison to NIDB data relating to the goods of same description, same country of origin and similar quality.

Held:

The Hon’ble CESTAT, Chennai relying upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in case of Eicher Tractors Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Customs [2000 taxmann.com 53 (SC)] which was followed by the Tribunal in various decisions, held that since there was no evidence of higher value of contemporaneous import from same sources and no allegation of mis-declaration of impugned goods, declared value cannot be enhanced merely on the basis of NIDB data. In the present case, Rule 9 of the Valuation Rules cannot be invoked.

Hope the information will assist you in your Professional endeavors. In case of any query/ information, please do not hesitate to write back to us.

Thanks & Best Regards,

Bimal Jain                   
FCA, FCS, LLB, B.Com (Hons)
 
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