INDIA: Identity Checks Mandatory for First-Time Importers/Exporters
03 May 2021
It is now mandatory for first-time importers, exporters and customs brokers to have their identities officially verified. The move was announced by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) as part of its Customs (Verification of Identity and Compliance) Regulations (2021) initiative. In specific terms, the new regulations oblige all relevant parties to complete the process of verification within 30 days of first engaging in import/export activity by furnishing the customs authorities with the required documents via the Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE).
The new regulations also have implications for individuals/businesses already engaged in import/export activity. All such operators, at the discretion of the customs authorities, may now be called on to submit the specified identify verification documents at 15 days’ notice.
Among the materials likely to be requested are company incorporation documents, proof of appointment of authorised signatories, Permanent Account Number, GST identification numbers, Aadhaar numbers, bank statements, income tax returns and other proofs of a satisfactory financial standing. Once submitted, the customs authorities will then verify the address stated as the principal business location within 45 days, while also assessing the operator’s overall financial standing.
Non-compliance with any of the requirements may result in a penalty of up to INR50,000 (US$676), as well as the possible withdrawal of specified customs benefits.
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