You have to pay taxes, also known as customs duty, for importing mobile phones, electronics and other goods from a foreign country into India. These import taxes are payable at the port of entry (like the airport), the courier companies would often pay these on your behalf and will release the goods to you upon the full repayment of these additional duties and taxes.

How much customs duty should you expect to pay for importing, say, a mobile phone from US to India? A package forwarding service service in India shared the latest duty tariff chart and it should give you a good idea of what kind of taxes you can expect to pay for importing the various categories of items into India.

Here’s the chart updated after the 2015 Union Budget:

Category / Product to Import Total Duty Rate
Laptops, Notebooks, Computers 14.712%
Tablets, iPad 28.852%
Laptop Battery 23.852%
iPod, Music Players 28.852%
Software CDs and DVDs 10.300%
Computer Printers 14.712%
Electronics 28.852%
Hard Disk (internal) 6.300%
Hard Disk (external) 14.712%
Web Cameras 28.852%
Computer Processor 6.300%
Internet Modem 14.712%
Other Computer Peripherals 14.712%
Cables and Wires 23.852%
Television Sets (TV) 28.852%
Movie CDs, DVDs and Blue Ray 28.852%
Video Games and Game Consoles 28.852%
Mobile Phones ~18%
Phone Accessories 28.852%
Digital Cameras and Video Camcorder 28.852%
Camera Lens (Photography) 28.852%
Sports Equipment 14.712%
Books (Educational) Free (No duty)
Car Parts 28.852%
Toys and Games 28.852%
Stationery Items 28.852%
Cosmetic Goods 28.852%
Hand Watches (Wrist Watches) 28.852%
Sun Glasses 28.852%
Apparel (Clothes) 28.852%
Fashion Accessories 28.852%
Artificial Jewellery 28.852%
Shoes (Retail Price < 1k INR) 21.782%
Shoes (Retail Price > 1k INR) 28.852%
Kitchen and Dining 28.852%
Food Supplements, Body Building 28.852%
Medicine 28.852%

How is Customs Duty Calculated?

It is important to note that the calculation of import duty is done based on the assessed value of an imported product and not the invoice value. Let me explain.

Also see: Online Stores that offer International Shipping

Say you have purchased a mobile phone from Amazon or eBay and have asked the seller to ship it to India. The value (price) of the mobile phone listed on the invoice is $500. The customs officer in India may however assess the product’s value as, say, $600 and in that case, you will have to pay the 18% customs duty on $600 (the assessed value) and not $500 (the invoice value).

And other than customs duty, you’ll have to pay shipping charges, broker fees, countervailing duty, handling charges, CESS and service tax for getting an item into India. If you would like to know the exact cost (shipping + duties) before buying an item, you can use the Amazon Global service where they calculate the import fees at checkout and provide customs clearance on your behalf.

There are no taxes on importing books  and you may import goods up to the value of INR 10,000 duty free provided they are sent as gifts to you.

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