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International Customs Day Celebration (26 Jan-2015)

Customs administrations around the world celebrate 26th January as the International Customs Day with a dedicated theme under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. The theme for 2015 is “Coordinated Border Management – An inclusive approach for connecting stakeholders”.
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The Department of Revenue and Customs with effect from 2014 joined the global Customs community in formally celebrating this day. Regional Revenue and Customs office around the country are celebrating the day with the main event this year being organized in Phuentsholing and graced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. On this day, the Department of Revenue and Customs awards WCO Merit Certificates to the best performing Customs officials as a recognition and appreciation for their hard work, dedication and integrity. The Department of Revenue and Customs also recognises those taxpayers who have good compliance record and best performing business entity by awarding certificate of appreciation on this day.

Considering the theme for 2015, the relevant stakeholders, border enforcement agencies and cross-border Customs officials of India, Nepal and Bangladesh also joined the celebration.

The Department also scheduled to launch Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) manual publication on this day. The ODS manual is published in collaboration with National Environment Commission (NEC) under the financial assistance of UNEP and UNDP Multilateral Fund. ODS manual will facilitate and assist Customs officials as first hand reference in controlling illegitimate trade mainly focusing on controlling ODS import into the country.

Background
Bhutan became the member of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in February 2002 and currently has 179 member states. Internationally, 26th January is celebrated as “International Customs Day” under the auspices of WCO since the Convention establishing the Customs Co-operation Council was officially inaugurated in Brussels on 26th January 1953. In 1994 the Customs Co-operation Council adopted a new name – World Customs Organization. Subsequently, the Customs administrations of member States of the WCO organize various national events during the International Customs Day. The WCO on its part dedicates an annual theme that is officially declared on the International Customs Day entailing Customs administrations to devote their focus for that year on a particular topic.

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Excise Duty Refund for the Year 2013

At the invitation of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB), a delegation led by Mr.P.K Mohanty, Director General of Inspection, Customs and Central Excise, Government of India (GoI) visited Bhutan for verification and finalization of the Excise Duty Refund claim of RGoB for the years 2013 from 21st to 29th November, 2014. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Mr. Yonten Namgyel, Director, Department of Revenue and Customs.

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A meeting between the delegates of RGoB and GoI to discuss and finalize the Excise Duty Refund amount was held on 28th November 2014. The total excise duty refund agreed for the year 2013 is Nu.1, 756,296,502 (One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Six Million, Two Hundred Ninety Six Thousand, Five Hundred Two)

The Royal Government of Bhutan, with the help from Indian Embassy in Bhutan received Nu. 2,038,535,819.00 (Two Thousand, Thirty Eight Million, Five Hundred Thirty Five Thousand, Eight Hundred Nineteen) from GoI in May 2014 as the Excise Duty Refund Claim for the year 2010.

The decrease of Nu. 282,239,317 in the Excise Duty Refund Claim for the year 2013 as compared to that of EDR Claim for the year 2012 was mainly due to the ban of imports. However improvement of proper record keeping attributed to significant increase in the claim over the years.

The refund of excise duty is made only on excisable commodities imported from India. Although most of the commodities are subject to levy of excise duty in India, however, there are specific exemptions issued by way of notifications by GoI on goods of special interests. Furthermore, since imports made by Hydro Power Projects in Bhutan are exempted from excise duty at source, no excise duty refund claims are made for the imports made by these projects.

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