Import/Export of Gifts by Courier – CBEC Instructions cum Clarification
CBEC has instructed it’s field formations to clarify on the issue of custom clearance of gifts by courier, as under:
Representations have been received by the CBEC regarding problems faced by the Indians abroad who wish to send gift items to India by means of courier.
2. It has been brought to the notice that courier agencies abroad are refusing to book bonafide gift consignments for export to India citing non-clearance and embargo imposed on such gift-parcels by Indian Customs.
3. Therefore the field formations should scrupulously follow the extant instructions on import of bonafide gift items through Post/Courier.
4. Any incident of the nature mentioned in Para 2 above may be brought to the notice of the CBEC.
In this regard, a reference to para 5 of Chapter 17 of Customs Manual 2015 issued by the CBEC is much desired, as reproduced here-under:
5. Import of gifts through post:
5.1 Bonafide gifts up to a value limit of Rs.10,000/-, imported by post, are exempt from Basic and Additional Customs duties in terms Notification No.171/93-Cus, dated 16-9- 1993. Further, only those items can be imported as gifts, which are not prohibited for importation under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
5.2 The sender of the gift may not necessarily be residing in the country from where the goods have been dispatched and any person abroad can send the gifts to relatives, business associates, friends, companies and acquaintances. The gifts have to be for bonafide personal use. The purpose of this stipulation is that the person receives the gift genuinely free and the payment is not made for it through some other means. The quantity and frequency of the gifts should not give rise to the belief that it is used as a route to transfer money. The gifts can be received by individuals, societies, institutions, like schools and colleges and even corporate bodies.
5.3 For calculating the value limit of Rs.10,000/- in case of imports of gifts, postal charges or the airfreight is not taken into consideration. The value of Rs.10,000/- is taken as the value of the goods in the country from where these were dispatched.
5.4 If the value of the gifts received is more than Rs.10,000/-, the receiver has to pay Customs duty on the whole consignment, even if the goods were received free, unsolicited. In addition, at the discretion of the Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner, if the goods are restricted for import, the receiver has a liability for penalty for such import, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited. The restricted goods are also liable to confiscation and receiver has to pay redemption fine in lieu of confiscation in addition to duty and penalty. Certain prohibited goods like narcotic drugs, arms, ammunition, obscene films/printed material etc. are liable to absolute confiscation and the receiver is liable to penal action, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited.
5.5 Customs duty is chargeable on gifts assessed over Rs.10,000/- by the Customs. In case of post parcel, the customs department assesses the duty payable and the postal department collects the assessed duty from the receiver of the gift and subsequently deposits it with the customs.
Besides, there are various other provisions relating to the procedures of such imports and imports of gifts via courier, which have been stipulated in Customs Manual 2015 issued by the CBEC.