Well it is an important question in the world of today, more and more Indians are purchasing stuff online and importing it into India. But the question most people ask is the same. What about the customs duty?
Well to be frank with you, anything you have bought abroad and are bringing into India is chargeable as far as custom duties go except some duty free items like IT Products (Digital Camera, LCD Monitors,RAM,Processors etc., confirm the list though).
Seasoned ebay sellers and other online stores try to ensure that loyal Indian customers aren’t forced to shed customs at all. Remember you don’t need an IEC number to import stuff for personal use.
Here is what most companies do so that you don’t have to pay customs for importing stuff into India :
1. They mark the product as a gift on the customs declaration form of the package. This is illegal by the way , but there is no way to detect whether the thing is a gift or not. Unless the other person leaves an invoice inside the so called gift
2. Even after declaring the commodity as a gift, Indian customs will still charge it if the price is above Rs.10000 , so these ebay sellers under-declare the value of goods. This is a double edged sword, as if the product is stolen it would mean that you would not get the right price from insurance, so this can lead to losses.
Now both these steps do save duty to the importer, but you should realise they are probably illegal and be ready for consequences. Also keep in mind the more expensive the courier, the more closely the customs will examine your package. They know that EMS and DHL aren’t used for low value items, hence these packages are scrutinised more than others. On the same time Airmail and Registered Airmail is more prone to theft especially in India.
Now the fact is most genuine importers don’t mind paying a little duty on the products they are importing into India, but the customs are so notorious that most try to circumvent them, because they know if their package is caught by Indian customs, there will be a lot more paying up to do! Also if you are importing in bulk and you don’t have an IEC, you are in big trouble.
Another question people have is what happens if the customs find your item chargeable, dont worry no one will send you to jail unless you are importing prohibited stuff. If your item is found chargeable, your package will be seized by customs and you will be sent a letter usually asking you for purpose of import etc. Be truthful while replying. If customs are satisfied with your reply, then they will calculate the appropriate customs duty and send the postman to your home who collects the duty and delivers your shipment. As easy as that. There is a small fine too for mis-declarations. Frequent mis-declarations will get you in trouble though. So be on the right side of the law. In case you have questions, feel free to ask via comments. Also this is not legal advice, hire a lawyer if you need legal advice.