Importers evading tax by submitting bogus billsImporters have been found to be avoiding paying import duty by submitting different sets of bills for the same shipment to Nepali and Indian customs offices in Birgunj and Raxaul respectively.
Importers have been found to be avoiding paying import duty by submitting different sets of bills for the same shipment to Nepali and Indian customs offices in Birgunj and Raxaul respectively.
Goods imported under the local import mechanism, for which payment need not be made with a letter of credit, are being undervalued and cleared through Nepali customs without a bill of exports issued by Indian cus2toms which shows actual prices.
Importers have been submitting fake handwritten bills showing lower prices and paying much less customs duty. Textiles, hardware and electronic goods are being imported under the local import mechanism.
“As Indian traders get excise duty refunds for exports, the actual bill is presented to Indian customs while another bill is submitted to Nepali customs to evade tax,” said an importer. Indian exporters get a refund of 4 percent excise duty.
Shewantak Pokhrel, chief of Birgunj Customs, said that such anomalies could be avoided if the banking system was used to make payments for local imports too. “It will also help to find out whether the goods meant for Nepal entered the country or not,” he said.
According to him, traders don’t submit the bill of exports issued by the Indian Customs Office. “We ask traders to produce it if we have suspicions,” he said.
An official of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry said there was a trend of undervaluing imported goods and sending the actual bill to exporters through ‘hundi’.
A source at the customs office said that tax evasion could be controlled to a certain level if importers are asked to produce a bill of exports. “But customs officials also get a commission for accepting handwritten bills and they are continuing the tradition of accepting such fake bills,” said the source.