CUSTOMS ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Management

2. Appointment of officers.

3. Persons employed by Customs deemed officers for such service.

4. Officer taking any fee or reward on account of anything done by him relating to his office shall be dismissed. Penalty for offering fee.

5. Officers of Customs not liable to serve in other local offices.

6. Minister to determine hours of attendance.

6A. Payment for special service or attendance.

6B. Persons to provide accommodation and shelter for officers of Customs.

7. Director-General authorised to administer oaths.

8. Director-General may examine witnesses on oath. False oath deemed false evidence.

8A. How Judge to deal with witness who makes a contradictory statement.

9. Power of Director-General to call for documents or samples of articles.

9A. Service of notice.

9B. Presumption as to documents in certain cases.

9C. Translation in the official language, National language, or English language to be produced.

PART II

Levying of Customs Duties

10. Duties to be levied and power of Parliament to modify duties.

10A. Surcharge to be levied on imported goods, where expedient.

11. Provision for imposition of export duty at varying rates.

12. Prohibitions and restrictions and power of Parliament to add thereto.

13. Goods in warehouse to be liable to the duties imposed by this Ordinance.

14. Goods in warehouse to be liable to increased or new duties.

15. Power to charge warehouse rent.

16. Definition of time of an importation and of an exportation, and of an arrival; and of a departure.

17. Duties to be paid in Sri Lanka currency according to units of measurements for sri lanka produce of customes to be paid into the Treasury.

18. Duties, dues and charges paid in excess to be refunded.

18A. Proceedings for recovery of duties, dues or other charges short levied, before a Magistrate.

19. Power of Minister to exempt Diplomatic personnel from payment of Customs duties subject to certain conditions.

19A. Exemption of goods imported by certain persons from import duties.

20. Imports by President of the Republic exempt from import duties of Customs.

21. Certificate from Naval or Military or Air Force officer required for exemption or payment of rebate.

22. Drawbacks on re-exportation.

22A. Importation without payment of duty.

PART III

Port Dues

23. Port dues.

24. Power of Director-General to summarily enforce payment of dues, rates, buoy rent, charges, and penalties.

25. Composition for dues.

26. Tonnage of ship how ascertained.

PART IV

Regulations Inwards

27. No goods to be landed nor bulk broken before report.

28. Ship and cargo to be reported within twenty-four hours of arrival of ship. Particulars of report.

29. Master to deliver manifest, and, if required, bill of lading, or copy. Penalty on failure.

30. Officers to board ships may seal or secure goods and open locks. Goods concealed forfeited. If seal broken, master to forfeit one hundred thousand rupees.

31. Officers may be stationed in ships within the limits of any port.

32. Penalty on master not having clearance and if cargo do not correspond with ship's papers, or if goods sent out of vessels be not landed at the appointed places.

33. Goods unshipped from the importing vessel, or landed contrary to the regulations of the Director-General, forfeited. Penalty on persons concerned.

34. Provision with respect to unlading goods, depositing and removing of the same from the warehouse of the Republic, and penalties for failure to remove within prescribed time.

35. No goods to be unladen except during the legal hours and days of business.

36. Cargo in ships of 150 tons to be landed within ten days, and exceeding 150 tons within twenty-five days after arrival of such ship. In default Director-General may land and convey goods to warehouse of the Republic. Duties to be paid within one month, or goods to be sold.

37. Goods in transit and goods trans-shipped allowed without payment of duty.

38. Boat-notes to accompany goods unladen from any ship.

39. Ship's stores.

40. Goods to be landed and examined at the expense of importer.

41. Goods in warehouse must be properly stowed and re-piled.

42. Penalty for neglect or refusal.

43. Prohibitions and restrictions.

44. Goods exported contrary to the prohibitions and restrictions in Schedule B to be forfeited.

45. Repealed.

46. Abatement of duty on damaged goods.

47. Importer to deliver bill of entry together with other documents.

48. Delivery of goods prior to entry.

49. Entry by bill of sight. Perfect entry to be made within three days. In default goods to be sold after one month.

50. Entry to agree with manifest. Goods not duly entered forfeited.

50A. Action applicable to goods exempted from Customs duties and other dues conditionally.

51. Value of goods for the purpose of ad valorem duties.

51A. When officer in doubt he may call for further information.

51B. Importer to keep records for three years.

51C. Confidentially to be strictly maintained.

52. Forfeiture for non-compliance or false declaration. Forfeiture of value where goods not recoverable.

52A. Penalty failing to keep destroying or altering records.

PART V

Entry of Goods Re-imported

53. Entry of re-imported, goods by bill of stores.

54. Bill of store may be issued by the proper officer. Agent to declare name of employer. Consignee to declare who is proprietor. Proprietor to declare to identity and proprietor unchanged. The entry by bill of store to be granted. Conditions for grant of will of store.

PART VI

Removal of Goods by Sea or Inland Carriage

55. Goods may be removed by land, or from one sea port to another in Sri Lanka.

PART VII

Regulations Outwards

56. Ship to be entered and goods cleared before shipment.

57. Exporter to deliver bill of entry.

58. Exportation prior to the presentation of the bill of entry.

59. Boat-notes to accompany goods laden for export.

59A. Goods to be examined at expenses of exporter.

60. Stiffening order.

61. Stores.

62. Director-General may grant general sufferance for the shipping of goods.

63. Master to deliver content answer questions, and produce bills of lading Certificate of clearance.

64. Officers may board vessels after clearance.

PART VIII

Trade by Vessels of Less Than 15 Tons Burthen

65. No goods to be imported or exported in vessel of less than 15 tons.

PART IX

Regulations Coastwise

66. Coastwise trade.

67. What goods shall be carried coastwise.

PART X

Regulation of Movements of Ships under 250 Tons Tonnage

68. Regulation of movements of ships under 250 tons tonnage.

PART XI

Warehousing of Goods

69. Power to appoint warehouses for warehousing of goods.

70. Warehouse Keeper to give security as required by the Director-General.

71. Importer under certain restrictions may warehouse the goods.

72. Entry for the warehouse. Particulars. Warrant for warehousing. Bond upon entry of goods for the warehouse.

73. Power of lessee of Customs premises in certain cases to cause warehousing entry to be passed for goods.

74. Goods warehoused to be marked and numbered Storage of goods warehoused. Penalty. Locking and opening warehouses. Carrying goods to and from warehouses.

75. Goods not duly warehoused or fraudulently concealed or removed, forfeited.

76. Warehouse keeper neglecting to produce goods deposited, when required, to forfeit one hundred rupees.

77. Importer or proprietor clandestinely gaining access to warehoused goods to forfeit one hundred thousand rupees.

78. Duty on goods taken out of warehouse without entry to be paid by warehouse keeper. Persons taking out of or destroying goods in warehouse to be deemed guilty of an offence. Importer or consignee defrauded by officers to be indemnified.

79. Director-General may remit duties on warehoused, goods lost or destroyed.

80. Landing account to be taken of goods for the warehouse. Contents to be marked on packages and in landing book.

81. Goods to be entered and duties paid according to landing account.

82. Goods to be cleared within two years. Duties to be paid upon deficiencies.

83. Goods not cleared or re-warehoused or duties paid on deficiencies after two years to be sold. Proceeds of sale how to be applied. Goods not worth the duty same may be exported or destroyed.

84. Goods in warehouse may be repacked. Damaged parts may be destroyed.

84A. Processing including manufacture or assembly of goods in warehouses.

84B. Manufacturer permitted to sub-contract under certain conditions.

85. Entry for exportation re-warehousing or home use.

86. Bill of entry for warehoused goods delivered for home use. Duties to be paid according to landing account, except in certain cases when duties are to be charged on ascertained quantity on delivery, unless deficiency has been caused by improper means.

87. Value of goods for allowance on deficiencies to be estimated by officers of Customs.

88. Deficiencies on goods exported not to be charged with duty unless fraudulent.

89. On entry outward, bond for due shipment and landing to be given when required.

90. General bond for warehoused goods exported.

91. Minister may close bonded warehouse.

92. Director-General may issue warrants.

93. Goods transferable by endorsement and deliverable to the holders of warrants.

94. Warrants by private warehouse keepers.

95. No goods warehoused in Government or bonded warehouses to be delivered save on surrender of the warrant, and no warrant once surrendered to be reissued.

96. Penalty on infringement of section 95.

97. Stamp duty on warehouse warrants fixed at fifty cents.

98. State when liable to make compensation for loss in any warehouse of the Republic.

99. Goods otherwise liable to Customs laws and regulations.

100. Penalties.

100A. Warehousing of duty paid goods and goods of local origin.

PART XII

General Regulations

101. Regulations.

102. Goods of dangerous quality.

103. Special regulations for ships.

103A. Container Freight Stations or Inland Clearing Depots for Customs clearance of cargo.

103B. Regulation of the movement of containers, containerised cargo, cargo intended for containerisation and security to be furnished.

104. Transport of goods overland under band.

105. Goods lodged in warehouse of the Republic liable to claims for freight.

106. Bonds to be taken by Director-General.

107. Goods being moved out of any ship or to any ship or out of any warehouse if not duly entered to be forfeited.

107A. Regulation of passengers baggage inwards and outwards.

108. Goods in any warehouse to be at risk of the owner.

109. Power to sell goods not cleared within thirty days.

110. Director-General to order removal of goods from one warehouse or Customs premises to another warehouse or place.

111. Government may appoint ports and quays and alter or annul the same. Existing ports to continue.

112. Director-General to appoint wharves.

113. Officers may refuse any person to do any act as master of ship, unless his name is endorsed on registry.

114. When ship's agent may act for master.

115. Director-General to grant licences to Customs House Agents.

115A. Importers and exporters to be registered with Customs.

116. No vessel to be hauled on shore without permission. Boat to be removed from wharf when directed Penalty.

117. No timber to be left on wharf for more than one day.

118. Officers may board ships hovering within territorial waters and bring them into port.

119. Making false declaration. Signing false documents and untruly answering questions. Counterfeiting and using false documents.

120. Bond entered into with the Director-General for the due performance of anything relating to the Customs, to be valid in law.

121. Export of Naval, Military, and air stores may be prohibited.

122. Unauthorised persons not permitted to make entries.

123. Samples.

123A. Drawing of samples on goods cleared out of Customs control.

124. Director-General may refuse clearance.

PART XIII

Smuggling, Seizures, and Prosecutions Generally

125. Smuggling, seizures, and prosecutions generally. Forfeiture of ship to include tackle.

125A. Inclusion of prohibited goods in Schedule B of Customs Ordinance.

125B. Suspension of certain goods by Customs Authorities.

126. Stoppage, inspection, and search of vehicles suspected to be transporting smuggled goods.

127. Arrest of persons reasonably suspected of an offence under the Ordinance.

127A. Persons arrested to be produced before a Magistrate under certain circumstances.

127B. Access to persons in custody for purpose of investigations.

127C. Power to release on bail to be vested in High Court.

128. Power to enter and search certain premises and seize certain goods and documents.

128A. Power to enter for the purpose of audit or examination or records.

129. Persons concerned in importing prohibited or restricted goods, whether unshipped or not, and persons unshipping, harbouring or having custody of such goods, to forfeit treble the value, or one hundred thousand rupees.

130. Persons concerned in exporting prohibited or restricted goods.

131. Forfeited ships.

132. If goods removed prior to examination, penalty upon parties concerned in the removal.

133. Persons assisting in unshipping or harbouring such goods liable to treble the value or one hundred thousand rupees.

134. How value to be ascertained.

135. Goods, vessels liable to forfeiture may be seized by officers. Persons resisting officers or rescuing or destroying goods to prevent seizure, to forfeit one hundred thousand rupees.

136. Goods stopped or taken by Police Officer.

137. Officers making collusive seizures, or taking bribes, and persons giving bribes, subjected to penalties.

138. Officers may search persons on board or on shore in certain cases.

139. Prohibition against the throwing overboard of goods.

140. Before such search the person may require to be taken before a Magistrate or a superior officer of the Customs.

141. Penalty on officers for misconduct with respect to search.

142. Penalty on persons on board falsely denying having foreign goods about them.

143. Power to fire at vessels failing to bring to when required.

144. Goods not to be passed if incurred penalty is not paid.

145. Recovery of penalties.

146. Persons liable to forfeiture or penalty under any section of the Ordinance to be guilty of an offence.

147. Prosecutions for offences and application of fines.

147A. Magistrates to have jurisdiction to impose any punishment prescribed for offences under this Ordinance.

148. Averment of offence.

149. Several persons concerned in the same offence jointly and severally liable to the penalty, and may be sued either by one or by separate informations.

150. Goods not specified in boat-note when found concealed in any boat to be presumed to have been stolen or unlawfully received by tindal and boatmen of such boat.

151. Goods not mentioned in boat-note when found in possession of any tindal or boatmen when on board of boat or on wharves to be presumed to have been stolen.

152. Onus probandi to be on the party.

153. Disbursement of forfeitures and penalties recovered under this Ordinance.

153A. Purposes to which the Fund may be applied.

154. Seized goods, if unclaimed for a month, to be condemned and dealt with accordingly.

155. Claim to thing seized to be entered in the name of the owner.

156. Notice to be given to officers.

157. Actions to be brought within two months of the cause of them.

158. Officer may tender amends.

159. Judge may certify probable cause of seizure.

160. Repealed.

161. Persons employed for the protection of the revenue to be deemed to be duly employed.

162. Vessels and goods seized and condemned may be disposed of as the Director-General shall direct.

163. Director-General in certain cases may mitigate forfeiture or penalty.

164. Restoration of seized goods, ships.

165. The Minister may restore seizures, and mitigate or remit punishments and penalties.

166. Possession of articles suspected to have been stolen.

166A. Where the offence is concerned with goods, the value of which exceeds five hundred thousand rupees such offence to be deemed a non-bailable offence.

166B. Guidelines for imposing penalty or ordering forfeiture.

PART XIV

Interpretation of Terms used in this Ordinance

167. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

17 of 1869,

1 of 1871,

21 of 1873,

1 of 1875,

22 of 1877,

3 of 1883,

12 of 1884,

4 of 1886,

18 of 1896,

20 of 1898,

13 of 1900,

7 of 1901,

2 of 1903,

9 of 1904,

3 of 1906,

40 of 1908,

5 of 1909,

29 of 1909,

5 of 1910,

9 of 1910,

5 of 1914,

14 of 1914,

21 of 1916,

10 of 1917,

17 of 1922,

3 of 1927,

17 of 1928,

23 of 1929,

6 of 1938,

3 of 1939,

32 of 1941,

54 of 1941,

8 of 1944,

17 of 1946,

43 of 1946,

35 of 1974,

6 of 1948,

9 of 1949,

10 of 1950,

27 of 1951,

29 of 1952,

25 of 1958,

29 of 1966,

34 of 1966,

23 of 1968,

10 of 1983,

83 of 1988,

24 of 1991,

2 of 2003,

36 of 2003,

9 of 2013.

AN ORDINANCE for the general regulation of Customs in Sri Lanka.

[Date of Commencement: 1st January, 1870]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Customs Ordinance.

PART I

Management

2. Appointment of officers.

There may be appointed a Director-General of Customs (hereinafter referred to as the "Director-General”) and other officers and servants for the management and collection of the Customs, and the performance of all duties connected therewith; on such salaries and allowances as may be provided in that behalf, and there may be required of every person now employed or who shall hereafter be employed in the service of the Customs, such securities for his good conduct as the Minister may deem necessary, and the Director-General shall, throughout Sri Lanka, have the general superintendence of all matters relating to the Customs.

[S 2 am by Sch of Act 83 of 1988.]

3. Persons employed by Customs deemed officers for such services.

Every person employed on any duty or service relating to the Customs within Sri Lanka, by the orders or with the concurrence of the Minister or the Director-General whether previously or subsequently expressed, shall be deemed to be the officer for that duty or service, and every act, matter, or thing required by any law at any time in force to be done or performed by, to, or with any particular officer nominated in such law for such purpose, being done or performed by, to, or with any person appointed by the Minister or the Director-General to act for or in the behalf of such particular officer, shall be deemed to be done or performed by, to, or with such particular officer; and every act, matter, or thing required by any law at any time in force to be done or performed at any particular place within any port, being done or performed at any place within such port appointed by the Minister for such purpose, shall be deemed to be done or performed at the particular place so required.

4. Officer taking any fee or reward on account of anything done by him relating to his office shall be dismissed. Penalty for offering fee.

If any officer or other person acting in any office or employment in or belonging to the Customs shall take or receive any fee, perquisite, gratuity, or reward, whether pecuniary or of any other sort or description whatsoever, directly or indirectly from any person (not being a person duly appointed to some office in the Customs) on account of anything done, to be done, or omitted to be done by him in any way relating to his said office or employment, except such as he shall receive under any order or permission of the Minister or Director-General, such officer or other person so offending shall, on proof thereof, be dismissed from his office, and he shall be deemed guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees; and if any person, not being a person duly appointed to some office in the Customs, shall give, offer, or promise to give any such fee, perquisite, gratuity, or reward, such person shall for every such offence forfeit a sum not exceeding ten thousand rupees.

[S 4 am by s 2 of Act 83 of 1988.]

5. Officers of Customs not liable to serve in other local offices.

No officer of Customs, nor person employed in the collection or management of or accounting for the revenue of Customs, or any part thereof, nor any other person acting under him, shall, during the time of his acting as such officer, or of his being so employed as aforesaid, be compelled to serve in any other public office or employment or to serve on any jury or inquest, any law, usage, or Custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

6. Minister to determine hours of attendance.

(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister to determine in consultation with the Minister in charge of the subject of Public Administration the hours of general attendance and hours of special attendance of officers of Customs and other persons employed in the service of Customs at their proper offices and places of employment.

(2) The Director-General shall determine the proper offices and places of employment of officers of Customs and such other persons referred to in subsection (1):

Provided however that within a specified Port, as defined in the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act, No. 51 of 1979, or an airport, proper offices and places of employment of officers of Customs and such other persons referred to in subsection (1) shall be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the authority in charge of such port or airport.

[S 6 subs by s 3 of Act 83 of 1988.]

6A. Payment for special service or attendance.

Where any person requires—

(a) any service which is determined by the Minister as a special service; or

(b) the attendance of any officer of Customs at any office or place other than his proper office or place of employment,

payment shall be made for such service or attendance, as the case may be, to the Director-General by such person at such rates as may be specified by the Director-General.

[S 6A ins by s 4 of Act 83 of 1988.]

6B. Persons to provide accommodation and shelter for officers of Customs.

Notwithstanding anything in any other law, it shall be the duty of every authority of any Port or of every person in charge of any place or warehouse which requires the attendance or services of officers of Customs or any person employed in the service of Customs, to provide suitable shelter and accommodation in such Port, warehouse or place, as the case may be, for the use of the Customs.

[S 6B ins by s 4 of Act 83 of 1988.]

7. Director-General authorised to administer oaths.

In all cases wherein proof on oath shall be required by any law, or shall be necessary in any matter relating to the Customs, the same may be made before the Director-General or other principal officer of Customs, or before the persons acting for them respectively, who are hereby authorised and empowered to administer the same.

8. Director-General may examine witnesses on oath. False oath deemed false evidence.

(1) Upon examinations and inquiries made by the Director-General, or other principal officer of the Customs, or other persons appointed to make such examinations and inquiries, for ascertaining the truth of statements made relative to the Customs, or the conduct of officers or persons employed therein, any person examined before him or them as a witness shall deliver his testimony on oath, to be administered by such Director-General or other principal officer, or such other persons as shall examine any such witness, who are hereby authorised to administer such oath; and if such person shall be convicted of giving false evidence on his examination on oath before such Director-General or other principal officer of Customs, or such other person in conformity to the directions of this Ordinance, every such person so convicted as aforesaid shall be deemed guilty of the offence of giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding, and shall be liable to the fines and penalties to which persons are liable for intentionally giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding.

(2) A person making an inquiry under subsection (1) may summon as a witness any other person whose evidence is necessary for the purposes of the inquiry; and a person who is summoned under this subsection shall, if he does not comply with the summons or refuses to be sworn or affirmed or to give evidence, be guilty of an offence of and liable to a fine not exceeding twenty five thousand rupees.

[S 8(2) am by s 5 of Act 83 1988.]

8A. How Judge to deal with witness who makes a contradictory statement.

(1) If in the course of a trial for an offence under this Ordinance any witness shall on any material point contradict either expressly or by necessary implication a statement previously made and signed by him, before any officer of Customs or person referred to in section 8, in the course of any investigation into such offence under this Ordinance, it shall be lawful for the presiding Judge if he considers it safe and just in all the circumstances—

(a) to act upon the statement given by the witness in the course of the investigation, if such statement is corroborated in material particulars by evidence from an independent source; and

(b) to have such witness at the conclusion of such trial arraigned and tried on an indictment which shall be prepared and signed by the Registrar of such court, for intentionally, giving false evidence in a stage of a judicial proceeding.

(2) At any trial under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) it shall be sufficient to prove that the accused made the contradictory statements alleged in the indictment and it shall not be necessary to prove which of such statements is false.

(3) The presiding Judge may, if he considers it expedient, adjourn the trial of any witness under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) for such period as he may think fit and in any such case the accused shall be remanded until the conclusion of such trial.

[S 8A ins by s 6 of Act 83 of 1988.]

9. Power of Director-General to call for documents or samples of articles.

(1) The Director-General or any officer of Customs authorised in that behalf by him may for the purpose of ascertaining or verifying any matter relative to the Customs or with regard to any matter into which it is his duty to inquire under this Ordinance, by written order require any person to give information or produce for examination such books and documents or samples of any article with regard to any matter relative to the Customs or the subject of inquiry which are in such person's power to give or produce at such place and within such period as may be specified in such order and allow such officer to examine, take extracts and copies of such books, documents and samples of articles, as the case may be.

(2) Any person who is required, for purposes of this section, to answer any question put to him by any officer of Customs, or to give any information which may be required of him by such officer and which it is in his power to give and who—

(a) refuses to answer such question;

(b) wilfully makes a thereto false answer;

(c) refuses to give such information;

(d) furnishes any information which he knows or has reason to believe to be false; or

(e) without reasonable cause fails to comply with any order issued under subsection (1),

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty five thousand rupees or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

[S 9 subs by s 7 of Act 83 of 1988.]

9A. Service of notice.

Any notice, order or other document required to be served on any person under this Ordinance or any regulations made there under may be served by post under registered cover, and if so served, shall be (deemed) to have been served at the time when the letter containing the same would be delivered in the ordinary course of post, and in proving such service, it shall be sufficient to prove that the notice, order or other document was properly addressed and put into the post.

[S 9A ins by s 8 of Act 83 of 1988.]

9B. Presumption as to documents in certain cases.

When a document which appears to have been made in the ordinary course of business having regard to the nature of such business and is not otherwise open to suspicion by reason of alterations or other circumstances—

(i) is produced by any person or has been seized from the custody or control of any person, under this Ordinance; or

(ii) has been received from any place outside Sri Lanka in the course of investigation of any offence alleged to have been committed by any person under this Ordinance,

and such document is tendered in evidence, the court shall, unless the contrary is proved—

(a) presume, that the signature and every other part of such document which purports to be in the hand writing of any particular person or which the court may reasonably assume to have been signed by, or to be in the hand writing of any particular person, is in the handwriting of that person and in the case of a document executed or attested, that it was executed or attested, by the person by whom it purports to have been executed or attested; and

(b) as regards a document referred to in paragraph (i), presume the truth of the contents of such documents.

[S 9B ins by s 8 of Act 83 of 1988.]

9C. Translation in the official language, National language, or English language to be produced.

(1) Where any document required for the purpose of this Ordinance is written in a language other than the official language, National language or the English language, the person producing or using such document may be required to produce therewith a correct translation thereof in the official language, National language or the English language.

To produce copies of documents as required.

(2) Where any person is required to produce any document for the purposes of this Ordinance, the Customs officer may require such person to produce as many copies thereof as the Customs officer may deem necessary for the purposes of this Ordinance.

(3) Where a Customs officer requires any invoice and/or any other document to be produced for any goods which have been imported, exported, entered for export or entered in transit, he may require such invoice and/or document to be submitted in original and may require him to submit as many copies thereof as may be necessary for the purposes of this Ordinance and he may retain such copies.

[S 9C ins by s 8 of Act 83 of 1988.]

PART II

Levying of Customs Duties

10. Duties to be levied and power of Parliament to modify duties.

(1) The several duties of Customs, as the same are respectively inserted, described, and set forth in figures in the table of duties (Schedule A)1 shall be levied and paid upon all goods, wares, and merchandise imported into or exported from Sri Lanka: Provided that—

(a) Parliament may from time to time, by means of a resolution duly passed at any public session, increase, reduce, abolish, or otherwise alter the Customs duty leviable on any goods imported into or exported from Sri Lanka or into or from any specified port therein, or subject to such terms or conditions, if any, as may be expressed in the said resolution, may impose Customs duty upon any goods so imported or exported whereon Customs duty at the time when such resolution is passed is not leviable, or may add other goods to the goods enumerated in the said Schedule as exempt from Customs duty; or may add to, rescind, or vary any of the conditions, exceptions, or provisions of the said Schedule with regard to the payment of Customs duty; or may amend or alter the provisions of the said Schedule by the deletion of references to goods stated therein to be exempt from import duty, or by specifying that goods of any class or description shall, subject to such terms and conditions as may be expressed in the resolution, be exempt from export duty, or by adding to, deleting from or in any manner varying the classification or description of goods specified in the said Schedule or any provision contained therein relating to any such goods, whether or not the duty on such goods is varied, imposed or abolished by the resolution;

(b) no such resolution shall take effect unless it shall have been notified in the Gazette;

(c) express reference in the said Schedule to any Customs duty leviable on any goods imported into or exported from Sri Lanka shall not affect or be deemed to affect any royalty, cess or duty, by whatsoever name called, which is leviable or payable on the importation or exportation of such goods under any written law other than this Ordinance.

[S 10 re-numbered as s 10(1) by Sch of Act 10 of 1983.]

(1A) Where there is a dispute relating to the imposition or exemption of customs duty on any goods, any condition or exception to the payment of customs duty on any goods or clarification or description of the goods, imported into or exported from Sri Lanka, the importer or exporter of such goods as the case may be may make an application forthwith to the Director-General for determination.

[S 10(1A) ins by s 2 of Act 9 of 2013.]

 

(1B) The Director-General shall, within ninety days from the date of receipt of such application determine any application made to him under subsection (1A).

[S 10(1B) ins by s 2 of Act 9 of 2013.]

(1C) —

(a) Where the Director-General fails to intimate the determination within the time period specified in subsection (1B) to the importer or exporter as the case may be; or

(b) Any person who is aggrieved by such determination,

may, within thirty days from the expiration of the time period specified in subsection (1B) or from the date of receipt of such determination as the case may be, appeal to the Tax Appeals Commission established under the provisions of the Tax Appeals Commission Act, No. 23 of 2011.

[S 10(1C) ins by s 2 of Act 9 of 2013.]

(2) every duty altered or imposed on the basis of any measurement unit under the proviso to subsection (1), shall be according to the Inter National System of Units as defined in section 5 of the Weights and Measures Ordinance.

[S 10(2) ins by Sch of Act 10 of 1983.]

10A. Surcharge to be levied on imported goods, where expedient.

(1) In addition to any duties leviable under this Ordinance, the Minister may, with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers, by Order published in the Gazette, levy a surcharge on the Customs duty payable on such imported goods as are specified in such Order, at such rates and for such periods as are specified in such Order, if he deems it expedient in the interest of the National economy to do so.

(2) Every Order made by the Minister under subsection (1) shall come into force on the date of such Order. Every such Order shall be published in the Gazette and shall, as soon as may be after its publication in the Gazette be tabled in Parliament. Parliament may by resolution revoke any Order made by the Minister under this section within sixty days of the publication of such Order in the Gazette, and in the computation of such period of sixty days no account shall be taken of any period during which Parliament stands prorogued or dissolved. Where any such Order is revoked any sum paid in pursuance of such order shall be refunded.

[S 10A ins by s 9 of Act 83 of 1988.]

11. Provision for imposition of export duty at varying rates.

(1) Any resolution under section 10 imposing export duty—

(a) may impose upon any goods duty at rates varying in accordance with fluctuations in the world market price of the goods; and

(b) may provide for the estimation from time to time by the Director-General of the amount which shall be deemed for the purposes of the application of the resolution, to be the world market price of the goods to which it applies.

[S 11(1) subs by s 3(1) of Law 35 of 1974.]

(2) Where in terms of subsection (1) of this section export duty on any goods is imposed by any resolution at rates differing in accordance with fluctuations in the world market price of the goods, the following provisions shall have effect in relation to contracts for the exportation of such goods entered into by a seller in Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as "the exporter”) and a buyer overseas:

(a) the exporter may make application to the Director-General for the registration of the contract, specifying in the application—

(i) the total quantity of the goods covered by the contract;

(ii) the period within which the goods are required by the terms of the contract to be exported (hereinafter referred to as the "proposed period of exportation”); and

(iii) such other particulars as the Director-General may require;

(b) any such contract may be registered by the Director-General subject, however, to the provisions of subsections (3) and (4);

(c) where any such contract is registered, then notwithstanding anything in the resolution imposing export duty upon such goods,

export duty shall be charged, levied and paid, on all goods proved to the satisfaction of the Director-General to be exported during the proposed period of exportation in fulfillment of the contract, at the rate which would have been applicable if the goods had been exported on the date of the application for the registration of the contract.

[S 11(2) subs by s 3(1) of Law 35 of 1974.]

(3) No contract shall be registered as provided in subsection (2), if the proposed period of exportation of the goods to which the contract relates is a period ending later than six months after the date of the application for registration of the contract:

Provided that the aforesaid term of six months may, by regulation made under subsection (12), be increased or reduced whether in relation to contracts generally or to contracts of any specified description.

(4) No contract shall be registered as provided in subsection (2) unless the exporter under that contract, either—

(a) deposits with the Director-General a sum of money equal to one-fourth of the amount which would be payable as export duty upon the total quantity of goods covered by the contract if such total quantity were being exported on the date of the application for the registration of the contract; or

(b) the exporter has furnished to the Director-General a bond in such form, and executed by any such bank, as may be approved by the Director-General, whereby the bank undertakes to pay to the Director-General on demand any sum which may be declared by order of the Director-General under subsection (5) to be payable by the bank in relation to that contract, so however that the maximum sum so undertaken to be paid shall be one-fourth of the amount which would be payable as export duty upon the total quantity of goods covered by the contract, if such total quantity were being exported on the date of the application for the registration of the contract.

(5) In any case where a contract has been registered as provided in subsection (2) and it is found on the date of the expiration of the proposed period of exportation that the contract remains wholly or partly unfulfilled, then, if the lowest rate of duty which prevailed during the proposed period of exportation under the resolution passed in terms of subsection (1) (hereinafter referred to as the "new rate”) is lower than the rate which prevailed thereunder on the date of the application for the registration of the contract (hereinafter referred to as the ”old rate”)—

(a) the Director-General shall make an assessment of the amount which would have been payable as export duty at the old rate on the quantity of the goods in respect of which the contract remains unfulfilled and an assessment of the amount which would be payable as export duty at the new rate on the said quantity; and

(b) the Director-General shall make order declaring that a sum representing the difference between the two amounts so assessed shall be made good out of the deposit made by the exporter under subsection (4) in respect of the contract, or, as the case may be, be paid by the bank by which the bond was executed in terms of that subsection in respect of the contract.

If the sum ordered to be paid under the preceding provisions of this subsection in respect of any contract shall exceed the total sum deposited under subsection (4) in respect of that contract or, as the case may be, the total sum specified in the bond executed in terms of that subsection in respect of that contract, the Director-General shall make further order declaring that the sum representing the difference between the amount so ordered to be paid, and the amount furnished as deposit or for the payment of which the exporter has furnished to the Director-General a bond executed in terms of the same subsection shall be paid by the exporter within the period stipulated in that order; and it shall be lawful for the officers of Customs to refuse to pass any goods belonging to the exporter until the said sum is paid.

Upon an order being made by the Director-General under this subsection declaring that any sum shall be paid by a bank, the bank shall be bound forthwith on demand made by the Director-General to pay such sum to the Director-General.

[S 11(5) subs by s 3(2) of Law 35 of 1974.]

(6) In any case where the Director-General is satisfied that any contract registered under this section remains wholly or partly unfulfilled owing to causes beyond the control of the exporter, then notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this section the Director-General may in his discretion—

(a) extend the proposed period of exportation and direct that such extended period shall be deemed for the purposes of paragraph (c) of subsection (2) and of subsections (5) and (10) to be the proposed period of exportation; or

(b) make order directing that the provisions of subsection (5) shall not apply in relation to the contract; or

(c) make order directing that for the purposes of subsection (5) the contract shall be deemed to remain unfulfilled only in relation to such part of the total quantity of goods covered by the contract as may be specified in the order.

(7) All sums ordered under subsection (5) to be made good out of any deposit and all sums paid by any bank in compliance with an order under subsection (5) shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

(8) In any case where a contract has been registered under the preceding provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the exporter, whenever any goods are being exported in fulfillment of the contract, to make a declaration to that effect in the bill of entry relating to the goods and in the specification furnished in respect of the shipment of such goods; and—

(a) where no goods have been so declared by the exporter to be goods exported in fulfillment of the contract, the Director-General shall, for the purposes of subsection (5)
be entitled to presume, unless the contrary is proved to his satisfaction, that the contract remains wholly unfulfilled; or

(b) where the quantity of goods so declared by the exporter to be goods exported in fulfillment of the contract is less than the total quantity covered by the contract, the Director-General shall, for the purposes of subsection (5), be entitled to presume, unless the contrary is proved to his satisfaction, that the contract remains unfulfilled in respect of the outstanding part of such total quantity.

(9) The Minister may by order provide for the payment of interest on deposits made under this section, at such rate, and in such circumstances, and subject to such conditions, as may be specified in the order.

(10) The amount of any deposit made under subsection (4) by any exporter in respect of any contract shall, subject to the operation of any order made under subsection (5), be returned to the exporter as soon as convenient after the exportation in fulfillment of the contract of the total quantity of goods covered thereby or the expiration of the proposed period of exportation, whichever time is the earlier:

Provided, however, that the Director-General may in his discretion make order directing the return of any part of any such deposit at any time after the contract has been substantially fulfilled.

(11) No sum constituting or forming part of any deposit made under subsection (4) by any exporter shall be liable at any time to be seized or sequestered in execution of any decree or order of any court, if the Director-General certifies that the exporter is not at that time entitled to the return of that sum under subsection (10) of this section.

(12) The Minister may make such regulations as he may consider necessary for carrying into effect the preceding provisions of this section.

(13) In each of the preceding subsections—

.

["Director-General” omitted by s 3 of Law 35 of 1974.]

"the date of the application for registration of the contract” means the date on which the application for registration is received by the Director-General.

(14) .

[S 11(14) rep by s 3(4) of Law 35 of 1974.]

(15) .

[S 11(15) rep by s 3(4) of Law 35 of 1974.]

12. Prohibitions and restrictions and power of Parliament to add thereto.

(1) The goods enumerated in the table of prohibitions and restrictions in Schedule B2 shall not be imported or brought into or exported or taken out of Sri Lanka save in accordance with the conditions expressed in the said Schedule.

(2) Parliament may from time to time, by means of a resolution duly passed at any public session, amend Schedule B2 by the addition thereto of any goods other than those enumerated therein or by the omission therefrom of any goods enumerated therein or otherwise, and regulate the conditions subject to which the importation or bringing into or the exportation or taking out of Sri Lanka of any goods enumerated in the said Schedule2 is prohibited or restricted.

13. Goods in warehouse to be liable to the duties imposed by this Ordinance.

All goods whatsoever which shall have been warehoused without payment of duty upon the first importation thereof, and which shall be in the warehouse when this Ordinance comes into force, shall become liable to the duties imposed by this Ordinance, in lieu of all former duties.

14. Goods in warehouse to be liable to increased or new duties.

When any variation is made in any of the provisions of Schedule A2, whether by the amendment of this Ordinance or by the exercise of any power given by this Ordinance or any other enactment, any goods that shall have been warehoused without payment of duty upon the first importation thereof, and which shall be in the warehouse at the time when the said variation comes into force, shall be subject to duty or exempt from duty, as the case may be, in accordance with the said variation.

15. Power to charge warehouse rent.

On all goods lodged in any warehouse of the Republic, warehouse, or place of deposit provided by Government, it shall be lawful for the Director-General to charge, demand, and receive warehouse rent for all such time as the same shall remain in such warehouse, at such rates and under such regulations as may from time to time be fixed by the Minister, as warehouse rent payable on goods so lodged, and no goods upon which warehouse rent may be due shall be removed until the same be paid.

16. Definition of time of an importation and of an exportation, and of an arrival and of a departure.

If upon the first levying or repealing of any duty, or upon the first permitting or prohibiting of any importation or whether inwards, outwards, or exportation; coastwise in Sri Lanka, it shall become necessary to determine the precise time at which an importation or exportation of any goods made and completed shall be deemed to have had effect, such time, in respect of importation, shall be deemed to be the time at which the ship importing such goods had actually come within the limits of the port at which such ship shall in due course be reported and such goods be discharged; and such time, in respect of exportation, shall be deemed to be the time at which the goods had been shipped on board the ship in which they had been exported; and if such question shall arise upon the arrival or departure of any ship, in respect of any charge or allowance upon such ship, exclusive of any cargo, the time of such arrival shall be deemed to be the time at which the report of such ship shall have been or ought to have been made; and the time of such departure shall be deemed to be the time of the last clearance of such ship with the Director-General for the voyage upon which ship had departed.

17. Duties to be paid in Sri Lanka currency according to units of measurements for sri lanka produce of customes to be paid into the Treasury.

(1) All duties of Customes, as well as all penalties and forfeitures incurred under this Ordinance, shall be paid and received in the currency of the Republic of Sri Lanka and according to the units of measurement of the Republic.

[S 17(1) subs by s 10 of Act 83 of 1988.]

(2) Conversion of foreign currency values of the Republic.

For the purpose of subsection (1) conversion of foreign currency values to the currency values of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be made in accordance with such rates of exchange determined by the Director-General and published in the Gazette, as were prevailing on the date of presentation of the bill of entry relating to the goods on which the duty is payable.

[S 17(2) subs by s 2 of Act 24 of 1991.]

(3) Produce of Customs duties to be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

The produce of all duties of Customs shall be paid by the Director-General into the Consolidated Fund of the Republic of Sri Lanka.

[S 17(3) subs by s 10 of Act 83 of 1988.]

18. Duties, dues and charges paid in excess to be refunded.

(1) If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Director-General by any claim duly made in writing that any person has paid on goods imported or exported by him, any duties, dues or charges in excess of the amount with which he was properly chargeable thereon, such person shall be entitled to have refunded the amount so paid in excess, if such claim is made within twenty-four months from the date of such payment.

(2) When any duties, dues or charges on any goods, imported or exported, have been short levied or where any such duties, dues or charges after having been levied, have been erroneously refunded, the persons chargeable with the duties, dues or charges so short levied or to whom such refund has erroneously been made shall pay the deficiency or repay the amount so erroneously refunded, if the payment of the amount short levied or erroneously refunded shall be demanded within twenty- four months from the date of such short levy or refund.

(3) If the amount so demanded to be paid in terms of subsection (2) is not paid by the person from whom the payment is demanded by the Director-General, it shall be lawful for the officers of Customs to refuse to pass any goods which that person imports or brings into or is seeking to export or take out of Sri Lanka until that amount is paid.

[S 18 subs by s 4 of Law 35 of 1974; s 18(3) proviso rep by s 11 of Act 83 of 1988.]

18A. Proceedings for recovery of duties, dues or other charges short levied before a Magistrate.

(1) Where the Director-General is of opinion in any case that recovery under section 18, of any duties, dues or other charges omitted to be levied, short levied, erroneously refunded or rebated or paid on a fraudulent claim, is impracticable or index pediment, he may issue a certificate containing particulars of such duties, dues or other charges as contained in the demand under subsection (2) of section 18, and the name and last known place of business or residence of the defaulter to a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the division in which such place is situate. The Magistrate shall thereupon summon such defaulter before him to show cause why further proceedings for the recovery of the duties, dues or other charges should not be taken against him, and in default of sufficient cause being shown, such duties, dues or other charges shall be deemed to be a fine imposed by a sentence of the Magistrate on such defaulter for an offence punishable with fine only or not punishable with imprisonment, and the provisions of subsection (1) of section 291 (except paragraphs (a), (d) and (i) thereof) of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979, relating to default of payment of a fine imposed for such an offence shall thereupon apply and the Magistrate may make any direction which, by the provisions of that subsection, he could have made at the time of imposing such sentence.

(2) The correctness of any statement in a certificate issued by the Director-General for the purposes of subsection (1) shall not be called in question or examined by the Magistrate in any proceeding under this section and accordingly, nothing in that subsection shall be read and construed as authorising a Magistrate to consider, or decide, the correctness of any statement in such certificate.

(3) Nothing in subsections (2) to (5) of section 291 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979, shall apply in any case referred to in subsection (1) of this section.

(4) In any case referred to in subsection (1) in which the defaulter is sentenced to imprisonment in default of payment of the fine deemed by that subsection to have been imposed on him, the Magistrate may allow time for the payment of the amount of that fine or direct payment of that amount to be made in installments.

(5) The Court may require bail to be given as a condition precedent to allowing time under subsection (1) for showing cause as therein provided or under subsection (4) for the payment of the fine; and the provisions of Chapter XXXIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979, shall apply where the defaulter is so required to give bail.

(6) Where a Magistrate directs under subsection (4), that a payment be made in installments and default is made in the payment of any one installment, proceedings may be taken as if default had been made in payment of all the installments then remaining unpaid.

(7) In any proceedings under subsection (1), the Director-General's certificate shall be sufficient evidence that the duties, dues or other charges are in default, and any plea that such duties, dues or other charges are incorrect shall not be entertained.

[S 18A ins by s 12 of Act 83 of 1988.]

19. Power of Minister to exempt Diplomatic personnel from payment of Customs duties subject to certain conditions.

(1) The Minister may from time to time, by Order published in the Gazette, exempt goods consigned to, or imported or cleared out of bond by or for the use of the representative in Sri Lanka (by whatsoever name, title or designation called) of the Government of any foreign State, the Trade Commissioner in Sri Lanka of any such Government, and persons on the staff of any such representative or Commissioner named in such Order and the representatives of the United Nations or its affiliates and such other inter-national organisations, institutions or bodies from payment of Customs duty.

(2) The Minister may, in his discretion, by such Order—

(a) prescribe the conditions, if any, subject to which the exemption is allowed;

(b) extend such exemption to goods consigned to, or imported by or for the use of the families and suites of such officers;

(c) limit the exemption to a grade or class of persons referred to in subsection (1) of any specified country or organisation and to articles of any specified description.

(3) Any Order under the preceding provisions of this section shall, if so expressed be deemed to have had effect from such date prior to the making of the order as may be specified therein.

(4) The Minister may at his discretion, by Order published in the Gazette, withdraw or modify any exemption granted under this section, or vary the conditions subject to which the exemption is allowed.

(5) No Order made under this section shall have effect unless it has been approved by Parliament, by resolution.

(6) Notwithstanding anything in any Order under the preceding provisions of this section, no goods to which such Order applies may be sold or otherwise disposed of, without the prior permission of the Director-General and unless the duties payable on such goods as determined in accordance with the value of such goods and rates of duty applicable at the time of such sale or disposal, are paid to the Director-General. Any goods sold or disposed of in contravention of the preceding provisions of this subsection shall be liable to be forfeited.

[S 19 subs by s 13 of Act 83 of 1988.]

19A. Exemption of goods imported by certain persons from import duties.

(1) The Minister may, if he deems it expedient in the public interest so to do, by Order exempt any goods imported by, or consigned to, any person specified in the Order from the whole or any part of the duties of Customs leviable thereon, subject to such conditions (to be fulfilled before or after clearance) as may be specified in the Order.

(2) Every Order made by the Minister under subsection (1) shall come into force on the date of such Order. Every such Order shall be published in the Gazette and shall, as soon as may be after its publication in the Gazette, be tabled in Parliament. Parliament may by resolution revoke any Order made by the Minister under this section within sixty days of the publication of such Order in the Gazette, and in the computation of such period of sixty days no account shall be taken of any period during which Parliament stands prorogued or dissolved. Where any such Order is so revoked, the duties of Customs payable on the exempted goods shall be paid by the importer of such goods or the person to whom such goods were consigned, to the Director-General of Customs, and such duties may be recovered under the provisions of section 145.

(3) Where any goods specified in an Order made under subsection (1) are subsequently sold or disposed of contrary to the conditions of such Order, such goods shall be liable to the same duty of Customs as may by law be levied on like goods which are subject to duties of Customs and the importer or person by whom or on whose behalf the goods are sold or disposed of shall prior to such sale or disposal obtain the permission of the Director-General of Customs and pay the duties payable on such goods at the time of such sale or disposal to the Director-General. Any goods sold or disposed of in contravention of such section shall be liable to be forfeited.

[S 19A ins by s 6 of Law 35 of 1974.]

20. Imports by President of the Republic exempt from import duties of Customs.

Articles of every description imported or bearded from bond for the official use of the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall not be liable to the payment of import duties.

[S 20 subs by s 14 of Act 83 of 1988.]

21. Certificate from Naval or Military or Air Force officer required for exemption or payment of rebate.

(1) Upon the production of a certificate from such Naval, Military, or Air Force officer, or such other person as the Minister may from time to time authorise by notification in the Gazette to issue the same, the Director-General of Customs shall pass free from duty the articles hereinbefore exempted, or, in the event of the duty having been paid, he shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (2), allow a rebate of such duty:

Provided that if such articles are not required for the use for which they were imported or purchased or exported as aforesaid, no such articles may be sold or otherwise disposed of without the prior permission of the Director-General and unless the duties payable on such articles at the time of such sale or disposal are paid to the Director-General; and any articles sold or disposed of in contravention of the preceding provisions of this proviso shall be liable to be forfeited.

[S 21(1) proviso subs by s 7 of Law 35 of 1974.]

(2) The Director-General of Customs shall allow a rebate of the duty paid on any article hereinbefore exempted, upon the production of a certificate relating to that article in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) and upon proof to his satisfaction of the fact that such article was actually imported, exported, purchased or procured, as the case may be, and of such particulars as he may require in regard to the amount of duty paid and the time and place of payment of such duty:

Provided that no such rebate shall be allowed in the case of any article unless the certificate relating to that article is produced within twelve months next after the date on which that article was imported, exported, purchased or procured, as the case may be;

Provided further that the Director-General of Customs may refuse to allow a rebate of the duty paid on any article if he is satisfied, after such inquiry as he may deem necessary, that a rebate of the duty paid on that article has previously been allowed in accordance with the provisions of this section.

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