You have to pay taxes, also known as customs duty, for importing mobile phones, tablets and other goods from a foreign country into India. These taxes are often payable at the port of entry (like the airport).

A package forwarding service service in India has shared the current 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 2013 Union Budget:

Category
Items to import
Customs Duty
Books Books (educational) 0%
Computers Laptop, Computers 16.85%
Computer Printers 16.85 %
Laptop Battery 28.85%
Hard Disk (Internal) 6.03%
Hard Disk (External) 16.85%
Processor 6.03%
Other Computer Peripherals 16.85%
Cables & Wires 25.85%
Tablets iPad 16.85%
Mobile Mobile Phones 6.00%
Phone Accessories 28.85%
Music & Games DVD/ CDS (movie) 28.85%
Software DVD 16.854%
DVD Players, Blu-Ray 28.85%
iPod 28.85%
Video games 28.85%
Gaming Consoles 28.85%
Photography
Digital / Video Cameras 28.80%
Digital Still Image Camera 16.854%
Web cameras 28.85%
Camera Lens 28.85%
Everything Else Television 28.85%
Sports Equipment 16.85%
Hand (wrist) Watches 28.85%
Cosmetics, Stationery, Toys 28.85%
Sunglasses 28.85%
Electronics and Car parts 28.85%
Apparel 23.90%
Shoes 28.85%
Kitchen, Dining 28.85%
Artificial Jewelry 28.85%

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.

Say you have purchased a mobile phone from Amazon or eBay and have asked the seller to ship it to India. The value of the mobile phone listed in the invoics 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 6% 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, CESS and service tax for getting an item into India.

There are no taxes on importing books while the customs duty on mobile phones has recently been hiked from 1% to 6%. Also, you may import goods up to the value of INR 5000 duty free provided they are sent as gifts to you.