KARACHI: The Customs Appellate Tribunal, Karachi has struck down conversion of provisional determination of Customs values of PVC flex banners sheets into final determination of duty, as it was made after expiry of stipulated time period.

Brief facts of case are that certain importers imported consignment of rolls of flex banner for banners manufacturing industry from China and sought clearance declaring unit price at the rate of $0.7250/Kg chargeable to 20 percent customs duty.

The importers provided necessary documents to customs authorities for their satisfaction in terms of Section 25 of the Customs Act, l969, coupled with Customs Valuation Rules vide SRO 450(I)/2001. However, the Customs authorities refused to accept the value declared.

The appellants approached FBR requesting FBR’s intercession for provisional release of goods. FBR ordered for securing provisional assessment (differential amount) in shape of post dated cheques, the consignments were processed. Later, Customs converted provisional determination into final determination.

Aggrieved, the importers approached the Collector of Customs (Appeals), who upheld the assessment and noted that the correct assessment value determined applies squarely since the department followed an old, time tested, fair and +established procedure regarding settlement of valuation/assessment disputes. The price quoted by the importers was deemed to be too low and the case was sent to the Valuation Department for expert advice. The Valuation Department in turn issued a Valuation Ruling No.420/2012 specifying the correct assessment value for the impugned imported goods i.e. PVC Flex Banners Sheets of China origin at $ 1.52/kg. The importers had quoted a lower value of $ 0.7236/kg.

The importers impugned the judgment of Collector Appeals before the Appellate Tribunal.

After observing facts and hearing both sides, the Tribunal observed that is no dispute on the fact that the period of six months from the date of provisional assessment had expired and there was no order extending the period of final assessment by 90 days by the Collector of Customs. Thus all the provisional assessment orders attained finality. Hence, the Tribunal held the final determination of duty and taxes in these cases as time barred and set aside the judgment of Collector Appeals.