Everything you need to know about Customs Duty on LCD / LED TV in Indian airports. Includes answers to frequently asked questions and regulations for 2016.
One of the most repeated questions on our website is regarding customs duty on carrying LCD/LED televisions as baggage to India.
The main issue with this subject is that there are conflicting reports on different websites. Some websites are outdated, while some are providing wrong info.
Sadly, even the official website of Indian Customs doesn’t have easy-to-understand answers for these questions.
In this article we are trying to answer most of the frequently asked questions, based on official resources, interviews with Customs Officers and recent experiences of our readers. Hope that would be helpful to all Indian expatriates.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I am carrying a 21 inch LCD TV to India. Do I have to pay duty ?
Yes, you have to pay duty on all flat panel televisions (LCD, LED, Plasma etc).
2. Isn’t it covered under the Rs 50,000 Duty Free Allowance?
No, Duty Free Allowance of Rs 50,000 is not applicable to flat panel televisions since 26 August 2013.
3. But I heard that TV under 32 inch doesn’t have duty. Isn’t it?
No, that’s one of the wrong rumours on the internet. Customs Duty is applicable to flat panel televisions of ALL SIZES.
4. So how much do I have to pay as duty?
You have to pay 36.05% on the value. (Customs Duty @ 35% + an education cess of 3% = Effective total 36.05%).
5. But I read that the Central Government has reduced import duty on TV?
This is yet another wrong information on some websites.
It is indeed true that 2015-16 budget had reduced and exempted Basic Customs Duty on specified parts of LCD/LED panels for TVs.
Many newspapers and online websites misquoted this as reduction on Customs Duty of LCD/LED television sets. Unfortunately, this is not true.
The reduction is only applicable for manufacturers who import such parts for assembling in India.
All flat panel TVs are subject to 36.05% duty, irrespective of their screen size. To confirm this, we have checked Duty Receipts from recent travellers and all of them show 36.05%.
6. The 36.05% is calculated on my cost price or market price in India?
The guideline for Customs Officers say that the duty is 36.05% on “assessed value”.
The value will be assessed on arrival, based on parameters such as make, model, condition of the TV- whether new or old etc.
To help in assessment, Customs Officers have an internal database with popular TV models and their prices. (Scroll down for an available database).
7. But my friend paid only 20% when he took a 40 inch TV last month. How is that possible?
Your friend is not wrong when he says 20%, and we are also not wrong when we say 36.05%.
The assessed value depends on the Officer’s judgement. Some Officers are strict and stick to the customs database, while some are flexible and may record a lower assessment value.
For example, you may have bought a 42″ LED TV for AED 2,500 (Rs 45,000) but the Officer may assess the value to be Rs 25,000. In this case you have to pay only Rs 9013 as duty.
The Duty Receipt would show that assessed value is Rs 25,000 and you paid 36.05% of the value. In reality you have paid only 20% of the cost price. This is why most people feel they paid less than 20%.
Unfortunately, still there are few Officers who ask for a sum of money without any calculation or receipt. You feel happy as that amount is lower than what you thought. But the truth is that since there is no receipt, you end up paying a bribe.
8. Do I have to carry original bill / invoice ?
Assessed value is not solely dependant on cost price of the product. Producing a purchase bill/invoice will help the Customs Officer in assessment.
However it is not mandatory for the Officer to charge you based on the bill. He can use the customs database and his personal judgement in assessing the value.
9. What if I bought the TV on discount offer? Can I get the assessment done on same price?
Here also it is not mandatory for the Officer to charge you based on the bill. He can use the customs database and his personal judgement in assessing the value.
10. Can I get discount on used TV?
For older and used TV sets, traveller can request for depreciation. This is usually granted based on the number of years used. The assessed value will be lower for older TVs.
11. Do I have to pay duty even if I am cancelling my visa or I am terminated from work?
There are special allowances for professional returning to India after completing a contract (You can read it here). However flat panel televisions are not included in such allowances.
12. Do I have to declare it on the Customs Declaration Form?
Yes, the new Customs Declaration Form has an additional field to declare any flat panel television you are carrying. You have to mention it there and show to the Customs Officers and pay the duty before leaving.
13. Do I have to pay the duty in Indian Rupees or Foreign Currency?
The assessment and invoicing is usually done in Indian Rupees. However, you can pay in foreign currency as most currencies are accepted in all Indian airports.
14. What other points should I consider before taking the TV to India?
Check the maximum baggage dimension for your flight, particularly if you are carrying 50 inches or bigger. The airlines website should have the maximum dimension per box. Pay attention to the weight per piece also.
At check-in counter, mention that you have a TV in baggage. Airline official will label it as ‘Fragile’ and pass through special conveyor belt.
15. Where can I see the Customs database with prices of TV models ?
The database with prices of TV models is not usually published for public view.
However we have found online photographs and few documents with official stamp and they all seem to have same values. Given below is a chart based on the available documents.
We also conducted question-answer sessions with recent travellers to confirm these values.
However, please note that this chart is only a general guide for your information only. The assessment is solely based on Customs Officer’s judgement.
- For sizes bigger than 40 inches and for models not listed here, assessment will be at the Customs Officers’ judgement.
- The values in the chart might have changed recently and we cannot confirm these would be the actual customs duty you pay.
- NRICafe.com is in no way responsible for claims in respect to the actual duty paid.
All information in this article are compiled by NRICafe Team based on available resources, interviews with Customs Officers and recent experiences of our readers. Our special thanks to all persons who supported in compiling these data.
Published on 23 February 2016 - Updated on 1 November 2016 - By Aneesh V / NRICafe.com