A quick and easy guide to TV customs in India
There are many conflicting reports across the internet with respect to customs duty on carry LCD/LEC televisions as baggage to India.
Outdated sites, and even the official website of Indian Customs can cause confusion, and questions left with respect to interpreting the correct information.
Below we have assembled some answers to the most frequently asked questions, based on official resources, interviews with Customs Officers, and some recent reported experience.
1. Will I have to pay duty carrying a 21-inch LCD TV to India?
Yes, all flat-panel televisions (LCD, LED, Plasma, etc.) are required to have duty charged.
2. Is it covered under the Rs. 45,000 Duty Free Allowance?
No. Since August 26, 2013, the Duty Free Allowance of Rs. 45,000 does not apply to flat panel televisions.
3. I’ve heard that a TV under 32 inches doesn’t have duty?
Incorrect. That is one of the rumors spreading across the internet. Customs Duty is applicable to ALL flat panel televisions – of ALL sizes.
4. How much will the duty be?
The charge is 36.05% on the value of the unit. (Customs Duty @35% + an education cess of 3% = total of 36.05%
5. I’ve read that the Central Government reduced the import duty on TV’s?
This is, again, a rumor that has been posted on websites incorrectly. The 2015-16 budget had reduced and exempted Basic Customs Duty on several specific parts of LCD/LED panels for TV’s. There were many outlets and sources that misquoted this reduction, as it is only applicable to manufacturers who import parts for assembling in India.
6. Is the 36.05% calculated on my cost price, or market price in India?
According to the guidelines for Customs Officers, the duty is 36.05% of the “assessed value”. The value will be assessed on arrival, based on parameters such as make, models, condition of the TV (age, physical condition, etc.). The aid in assessment, Customs Officers have an internal database with most available TV modes and their corresponding prices.
7. I had a friend that paid on 20% taking a 40-inch TV just last month – how is that so?
More than likely, your friend was fortunate with the Customs Officer’s judgement, as the assessed value is up to them. Some Officers are strict and stick to the customs database, others are flexible and may record a lower assessment value.
8. Am I required to carry an original bill/invoice?
The assessed value is not solely dependent upon the local pricing of the product. A purchase bill/invoice will help the Customs Officers in assessment, but it is not mandatory for the Officer to charge you based on the bill. They can still use the customs database and their personal judgement in assessing value to the unit.
9. I was able to purchase the TV on a discount. Can I get the assessment on the lower price?
This is again the Officer’s discretion. They may use the customs database and their personal judgement, or base it on your bill.
10. Can I get discounted on used TV’s?
You can ask for depreciation for older or used TV sets. Generally, the discount is granted based on the number of years used, and the assessment will be lower on older TV’s.
11. Will I have to pay duty even if I am cancelling my visa, or I am terminated from work?
Special allowances are made for professionals returning to India after completing a contract. However, flat panel TV’s are not included in those allowances.
12. Do I have to declare this on my Customs Declarations Form?
Yes. There is an additional field to declare flat panel televisions. You must mention it there and show the Customs Officers, and pay the associated duty before leaving.
13. Will the duty need to be paid in Indian Rupees, or is a Foreign Currency OK?
Invoicing and assessments are typically done in Indian Rupees, however, you can pay in foreign currency as most are accepted and all Indian airports.
14. Is there anything else I need to know before taking a TV to India?
If you are carrying a larger TV, be sure to check the maximum baggage dimensions for your flight. Most airline websites will have the maximum dimension per box allowed. Be sure to pay attention to weight limits as well.
Also mention at the check-in counter that you have a TV in baggage, so the the airline official can label the package a “Fragile”, and pass it through a special conveyor belt.