CBIC introduces auto-renewal for tier 1 AEO license holders

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has done away with renewal of authorised economic operator (AEO) certification after every three years for Tier 1 or T1 level entities, it said in a notification issued Saturday.

From August 1, all such entities certified on or after April 1, 2019 shall be auto renewed in the system, without any end date, the Board said.

“Taking into account the reported difficulties faced by the AEO-TI (including MSME AEO-TI) entities in seeking renewal and with a view to reduce their compliance burden, the Board has decided to allow the facility of continuous AEO certification/auto renewal for AEO-TI entities. Thus, these entities would no longer be required to seek periodic renewal of their AEO-TI certification,” the Board said in a circular issued to all field units.

AEOs are importers or exporters involved in international movement of goods that opt for the AEO certification programme. The certification is internationally recognised and gives such companies benefit of reduced time of clearance, lower costs and minimal disruption in cargo flow through customs, as they’re considered secure and reliable trading partners.

T1 AEO is the basic level certification given under the programme, but it enables high level of facilitation at ports and through customs, along with other benefits such as 24/7 clearing of goods and 50% less bank guarantee payment compared to non-AEOs, needed for clearance.

Auto-renewal will greatly ease compliance for such companies and lower time and costs involved.

The Board said that facility of continuous AEO certification or auto renewal for such entities will be subject to submission of annual self-declaration between October 1 and December 31 each year, and review.

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At present validity of AEO T1 certificate is three years and renewal requires an application to be made a month prior to expiration. The status is reviewed every three years.

The Board said it reviewed the AEO programme in the background of reported difficulties being faced by tier one entities in renewal of their certification especially during the on-going pandemic.

Some checks to the auto-renewal process have been put in place. In cases where any change in compliance as per self-declaration is noticed or any adverse input is received from any field formation or investigation agency, the zonal AEO Programme Manager can revoke certification following a comprehensive compliance review basis at least two annual self-declarations filed after issuance of AEO Tl certificate or from the date of last auto renewal.

Only in case of adverse findings the entity would be informed, and once revoked, a new certificate would be granted only through fresh application.

The AEO entities certified between 1st January to 31 st December of each year shall be exempted from filing the annual declaration for that year. Accordingly, AEO-TI entities certified on or after January 1, 2021 for the present year will not be required to submit annual self-declaration for the present year.



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