Electronic Cash Ledger

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Section 51A was inserted in Customs Act, 1962 (‘Act’ for short) vide Finance Act, 2018.  The newly inserted Section 51A requires every assessee to maintain electronic cash ledger in the customs portal.  Every deposit made towards duty, interest, penalty, fee or any other sum payable by a person under the provisions of this Act or under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 or under any other law for the time being in force or the rules and regulations made thereunder, using authorized mode of payment shall, subject to such conditions and restrictions, be credited to the electronic cash ledger of such person.

The amount available in the electronic cash ledger may be used for making any payment towards duty, interest, penalty, fees or any other sum payable under the provisions of this Act or under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 or under any other law for the time being in force or the rules and regulations made there under in such manner and subject to such conditions and within such time as may be prescribed.   The balance in the electronic cash ledger, after payment of duty, interest, penalty, fee or any other amount payable, may be refunded to the assessee.

If the Board is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, it may, by notification, exempt the deposits made by such class of persons or with respect to such categories of goods, as may be specified in the notification, from all or any of the provisions of this section.

Regulation

Section 157(ja) gives powers to the Board to make regulations relating to the manner of maintaining electronic duty credit ledger, making payment from such ledger, transfer of duty credit from ledger of one person to the ledger of another and the conditions, restrictions and time limit relating thereto.

By virtue of the above said powers the Board made ‘The Customs (Electronic Cash Ledger) Regulations, 2022 (‘Regulations’ for short) through Notification No. GSR 232 (E), dated 30.03.2022.  These regulations shall come into effect from 01.06.2022.

Definition

The expression ‘electronic credit ledger’ is defined under Regulation 2(c) as the ledger in the customs automated system relating to a person who deposits the amount in the said ledger in accordance with section 51A of the Act.

Maintaining Electronic Credit Ledger

The electronic cash ledger shall be maintained in FORM ECL-1 on the common portal for each person.  The said form contains the following information-

  • Type of entity;
  • Entity Code/Temporary Id – The Entity Code shall be
  • The Import and Export Code (IEC) for importers/exporters;
  • Permanent Account Number (PAN) for Customs brokers, authorized carriers and custodians;
  • Goods and Services Taxes Identification Number (GSTIN) for others; if it is not available temporary id may be furnished.
  • Payment details-
  • Sl. No.;
  • Date of deposit/debit;
  • Time of deposit;
  • Reporting date by bank;
  • Reference No. – it includes Bank Reference Number (BRN), debit entry No., Order No., if any and aknowledgement number of the document.
  • Type/Document No./Date, if applicable –  otherwise it will be blank;
  • Description-
  • Challan Identification Number (CIN) of the challan against which deposit has been made, and type of liability for which any debit has been made will also recorded under this head;
  • Application no., if any, Show Cause Notice Number, Demand ID, pre-deposit for appeal or any other liability for which payment is being made will also be recorded under this head;
  • Type of transaction – Debit/Credit;
  • Amount debited/credited (Total);
  • Balance (Total).

Deposit in Electronic Credit Ledger

Every deposit made towards duty, interest, penalty, fee or any other sum payable by the person under the provisions of the Act or under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, or the rules and regulations made there under or any duties of customs, including cesses and surcharges levied as duties of customs under any other law for the time being in force, for the purpose of crediting the deposit.

Any deposit into the electronic cash ledger shall be made by a person by generating a deposit challan in Form ECL-2 on the common portal.   The deposit shall be made through any of the following authorized modes,-

  • internet banking through an authorized bank;
  • National Electronic Fund Transfer or Real Time Gross Settlement from any bank;
  • over the counter payment through an authorized bank –
  • the limit of the over the counter payment, in case of a person, shall not exceed ten thousand rupees in a day;
  • the said limit of ten thousand rupees shall not apply to deposit made by the Government Department or where the Jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs authorizes a higher amount to be deposited.           

If the deposit is made through an authorized mode other than the internet banking through an authorized bank, a mandate form shall be generated along with the deposit challan on the common portal and the same shall be submitted to the bank from where the deposit is being made.  The mandate form shall be valid for a period of fifteen days from the date of generation of the deposit challan.  On successful credit of the amount to the concerned government account maintained in the authorized bank, a Challan Identification Number shall be generated by the collecting bank and the same shall be indicated in the deposit challan as generated in ECL – 2.  Then the said amount shall be credited to the electronic cash ledger of the person on whose behalf the deposit has been made and the common portal shall make available a receipt to this effect.

If the bank account of the person concerned or the person making the deposit on his behalf, is debited but no Challan Identification Number is generated or such number is generated but not communicated to the common portal, the said person may represent electronically through the common portal to the bank or electronic gateway through which the deposit was initiated.

It is to be noted that the deposit made in the electronic cash ledger shall not accrue any interest.  A unique identification number shall be generated at the common portal when a credit or debit, as the case may be, is made to the electronic cash ledger.  The unique identification number relating to such debit or credit shall be indicated in the relevant Customs declaration.

Making payment

The assessee may use the amount available in the electronic cash ledger for making payment towards-

  • duty, interest, penalty, fee, or any other sum payable by such person under the provisions of the Act or under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975;  or
  •  the rules and regulations made there under; or
  •  any duties of customs, including cesses and surcharges levied as duties of customs under any other law for the time being in force.         

The payment shall be made through   the challan – Form ECL – 3 generated-

  • by the customs automated system in accordance with provisions of the Act, rules or regulations made there under; or
  • by the person on the basis of his own ascertainment of the amount of duty or sum payable by such person.

The assessee shall select the payment challan so generated on the common portal for debit of the amount shown in the payment challan from electronic cash ledger of such person.   The amount shown in the payment challan shall be automatically debited from the electronic cash ledger by the customs automated system-

  • In the case where consent for auto-debit of specified amount has been provided in the customs declaration by the person; and
  • The amount available in the electronic cash ledger is sufficient for the payment of the entire amount of the payment challan.

Electronic Duty Payment Ledger

The debit made shall be visible on electronic cash ledger and the credit shall be shown in the Electronic Duty Payment Ledger (Cash) maintained in Form ECL-4.

Refund

The balance in the electronic cash ledger, after payment of duty, interest, penalty, fee or any other amount payable, may be applied for refund by the person on the common portal in Form ECL-5.  The grounds for refund claims are as below-

  • End of the financial year;
  • Close of the business;
  • Others, if any, to be specified.

On receipt of application for refund the amount applied for from the balance shall no longer be available for use by the person. The refund shall be decided within thirty days from the date of application on the common portal. The amount to be refunded shall thereafter be credited to the bank account of the person registered with customs automated system.

Discrepancy

A registered person shall, upon noticing any discrepancy in his electronic cash ledger, communicate the same on the common portal.

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