iPhone to India from USA – Custom Duty, Shipping Cost of sending

By Anil Gupta,  18 Jun, 18      409  Finance

Sending phone from USA to India is expensive than buying in India. Indian Buyer pays the Custom duty and GST tax, at very high rate of 34%. Marking as Gift does not evade custom duty. USPS Global delivery is cheapest. Carrying by hand and not declaring at Indian airport custom can help you evade duty but not safe.


1. Cost of Sending iPhone to India

How much does it cost to send a new iPhone to India from USA? Any idea?
We list all costs including shipping, insurance custom duty in India with GST tax for sending any phone to India with an example of iPhone.

Here are the costs involved for iPhone 64 GB models:

iPhone (64 GB)iPhone Plus (64 GB)
Basic Price (in USD)699799
Sales Tax (@6.5% – Could be different in your state)4652
Shipping to your home or pick – up from store*00
Mailing Cost (Fedex/UPS – standard shipping – 1 pound packet)126126
Transit Insurance (@2% of declared value)1416
Total (in USD)885993
Total (in INR)(1 USD = INR 65)57,52564,545

* I assumed that Apple offered free shipping or you picked up the phone from an apple store to keep this cost as zero.

Cost of sending iphone to India by Fedex
Cost of sending iphone to India by Fedex

2. Custom Duty and Taxes in India

Now, when this package reaches India, you will have to pay customs duties and taxes. The mobile comes under the cell phones category.

But, wait, there are certain other types of fees too, that you need to pay for importing goods in India apart from the BCD (Basic Custom Duty).

Here is the break up as per best of my research:

CIF (Landing charges)1%
BCD (Basic Custom Duty)20%
IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax)12%
Compensation Cess0%
Specific Duty0%
Preferential Duty0%
Final Rate (Does not add up (like 1+20+12 = 33% due to compounding)33.5%

(sourceCIF cost means the total of Cost, Insurance and Freight.

Cost of sending iphone to India from USA
Cost of sending iphone to India from USA

For the purpose of customs validation, the CIF value is the price paid for the goods plus the cost of transportation, loading, unloading, handling, Insurance and associated costs incidental to the deliver of good from place of export to place of import.

This is precisely the value that custom’s values your imported item at. The other charges are calculated on this CIF value.

In our example, this CIF value is the total money that you have spent for the item in USA including all expenses. So, we start the calculation from there.

All in INRiPhone (64 GB)iPhone Plus (64 GB)
ACIF value (Total cost to send from USA)57,52564,545
BLanding Charges (1% of CIF)575645
CSub-total (A + B)58,10065,190
DCustom Duty (BCD – 20%)11,62013,038
ESub-total (C + D)69,72078,228
FGST Tax8,3669,387
GAll other cess and charges00
HTotal (E + F + G) Final cost to you78,08687,615
GTotal Customs (H – A)20,56223,071

The above calculation might be a bit complex for a layman.

Hence, if you want to take a figure in your mind, you can consider about 34% of the CIF value as customs charges.

For example: If the total cost (CIF) in INR is 60,000 for a mobile, then add about 34% of 60,000 as custom taxes and charges.

Final price would be: 60,000 + 20,400 (34% of 60,000) = 84,400.

Does it make sense to buy iPhone from USA and ship to India?

With high custom duties and taxes on importing, I would suggest to buy directly from India rather than get into the hassle of paying custom duties.

If you carefully understand the calculations, you are approximately paying about 50% extra for the phone, if you import.

Indian government takes hell of taxes here.

Marking the parcel as GIFT to evade custom duty/tax?

This would be the next best advice you will get from any fellow desi abroad. Well, that is true, but to a certain extent. Remember, customs in India are also the same desi with same mindset! haha.

So, you can ONLY gift up-to INR 10,000 worth of single package and that too without bill. The value of 10K is converted value after applying relevant exchange rate. Also, postal charges or airfreight or insurance is not taken into account to find the value of product.

NOTE: If the value of the gifts received is more than INR 10,000, the receiver has to pay Customs duty on the whole consignment, even if the goods were received free.

Who can be a sender of GIFT?

Any person abroad can send gifts. There is no specific restriction that only relatives can send the goods. Business associate, friends, relatives, companies or acquaintances can also send the gifts to residents in India. No proof is required.

Who pays the custom duty and taxes on imported iPhone and how?

The receiver pays the custom duty and taxes. Normally, when the shipment reaches India, your postal company would run it through customs. Custom officer would create a custom invoice and the postal company would either call you to keep the money ready or ask you to deposit the money first.Once you deposit the money, you will be handed over your shipment.

Most of the companies these days like BlueDart, Fedex etc. have streamlined the process.

They would call you before coming to deliver the package and ask to keep the money ready. You pay the custom duty to the delivery boy itself.

What is the time frame to get iPhone shipped in India from USA?

As per the best estimates, the iPhone versions are shipped to USA resident in 5-6 days. Add another 5-6 days for shipping to India.

Is there any GST tax on imported goods/mobile in India?

Yes, there is GST tax under called Integrated Goods and Services tax that’s levied on imported mobile phones.

Is there any sales tax on imported goods/mobile in India?

No, no sales tax is charged on imported goods at this time.

I have made all calculations and provided information to the best of knowledge and research. Please correct or share more information about it if you had any experience of sending a mobile phone to India from USA.