Finance Minister Namgay Tshering

False-declaration of import consignment is criminal by nature and will not merit any appeal

The ministry of finance has issued a public notification on 24th of December cautioning all importers and exporters against repetitive offense of under-valuation, mis-declaration and non-declaration of the imported and export consignment.

“If there is willful violation of the provisions, the ministry can easily detect that and punish the offenders accordingly. The notice nothing new but basically reinforcement of the existing income tax laws,”said Finance Minister Namgay Tshering.

 The Finance Minister also said that he there has been an increasing number cases of false declaration of export and import consignment apprehended from time to time from Thailand, India and third countries.

“I receive about three to four appeals everyday on my table on such cases apprehended for non-compliance of import and export tax regulations and at times it is really hard to grant them any appeal since I am also not above the law. The notice is just a gentle reminder to the public to refrain from such practices or face the harsh consequences as per the law,” the Finance Minister added.

In line with instruction of south covid 19 task force, the DRC has initiated zero contact of imports where consignments were cleared at minimum intervention. However there had been increasing number of importers that had taken undue advantage of the process in place. And according to notice from the ministry, the compliance of the importers has not improved despite the downward revision of customs duty to a flat rate of 10% on all consumable items. This prompted the ministry to enforce following stringent measures to curb the occurrence of such offenses; mis-declaration, under-valuation and non-declaration of imports to be considered criminal offense as per section 146 of Customs Duty Act of Bhutan 2017 under willful act or omission to pay customs duty. All offences, since categorized as criminal offence, shall not merit appeal at any level and a person committing such offences will be dealt with strictly according to the Penal Code of Bhutan.

The ministry in collaboration with relevant agencies has initiated investigation to establish the modus operandi of such offenses and intervene when necessary.

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