The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (hereinafter referred to as the ‘CBEC’), has published the Pre-notice Consultation Regulations, 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “Consultation Regulations”) on April 2, 2018, vide Notification No. 29 /2018- Customs (N.T.). The said rules shall come into effect on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

Consultation as per Consultation Regulations means communication of the grounds known to the proper officer for issuance of notice to the person chargeable with duty or interest in order to elicit the response of the person and consideration of the representation of the said person.

The Consultation Regulations also provides the manner of conducting pre-notice consultation. The procedure of conducting pre-consultation notice is as under:

  1. Before the issuance of notice, the proper officer shall inform the person chargeable with duty or interest of the intention to issue the notice specifying the grounds on which the said notice is being issued and the said pre notice consultation should be initiated at least two months before the expiry of the time limit mentioned in section 28(3) of the Customs Act, 1962.
  2. If the person chargeable with duty or interest fails to respond within fifteen days from the date of communication of pre-consultation notice, the proper officer shall proceed to issue the notice to the said person without any further communication. Further the person chargeable with duty or interest should clearly indicate in the submissions whether he/ she desires to be heard in person by the proper officer.
  3. The proper officer may schedule a hearing within 10 days of receipt of submissions from the person chargeable with duty or interest. Further no adjournment for any reason shall be granted in respect of the hearing allowed under the Consultation Regulations.
  4. If the proper officer, after consultation, decides not to proceed with the notice, the proper officer shall issue a simple letter intimating the person concerned.
  5. The consultation process shall be concluded within 60 days from date of communication of grounds.
  6. Where the proposed show cause notice was served but for different period or documents has been issued after such consultation, proper officer may proceed to issue the notice for subsequent periods without any further consultation.