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%|
|iPod, Music Players||28.852%|
|Software CDs and DVDs||10.300%|
|Hard Disk (internal)||6.300%|
|Hard Disk (external)||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%|
|Digital Cameras and Video Camcorder||28.852%|
|Camera Lens (Photography)||28.852%|
|Books (Educational)||Free (No duty)|
|Toys and Games||28.852%|
|Hand Watches (Wrist Watches)||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%|
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 (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.