Updated on: 4 July 2021
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 Some websites are outdated, while some are providing the wrong info.
Sadly, even the official website of Indian Customs doesn’t have easy-to-understand answers to these questions.
We have developed a calculator which you can use to get a rough estimate of the customs duty on LCD or LED tv:
We are also 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 38.5% on the value.
5. But I read that the Central Government has reduced import duty on TV?
This is yet another wrong piece of information on some websites. It is indeed true that the 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 a reduction in Customs Duty of LCD/LED television sets. Unfortunately, this is not true. The reduction is only applicable to manufacturers who import such parts for assembling in India.
All flat-panel TVs are subject to 38.5% duty, irrespective of their screen size. To confirm this, we have checked Duty Receipts from recent travellers and all of them show 38.5%.
6. The 38.5% is calculated on my cost price or market price in India?
The guideline for Customs Officers says that the duty is 38.5% 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.
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 38.5%.
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 50,000) but the Officer may assess the value to be Rs 25,000. In this case, you have to pay only Rs 9625 as a duty.
The Duty Receipt would show that the assessed value is Rs 25,000 and you paid 38.5% of the value. In reality, you have paid only 19% of the cost price. This is why most people feel they paid less than 20%.
8. Do I have to carry original bill / invoice?
The assessed value is not solely dependent on the cost price of the product. Producing a purchase bill/invoice will help the Customs Officer in the 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, travellers can request 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 professionals 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 it 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 airline’s website should have the maximum dimension per box. Pay attention to the weight per piece also.
At the check-in counter, mention that you have a TV in baggage. Airline officials will label it as ‘Fragile and pass through a 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.
All the information in this article is 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.
- Indian Airport Customs Duty on Gold Imports
- Duty-Free Allowances for Indian Citizens Travelling To India
- Guide: How Much Currency Can You Carry To India
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