Import duty on gold burns NRI pockets

Scores of Hyderabadi’s returning home from the Middle East this festive season with gold jewellery were in for a rude shock when asked to cough up huge import duties on their shopping at the airport. Gold jewellery is now subject to a flat 10 per cent import duty, catching many travellers unaware.

Duty rates on gold were revised in the 2012-13 budget. While the government does not control gold prices, the duty was earlier fixed at Rs 750 per 10 grams plus a three per cent education cess. But from this year, the government has fixed the price of gold in dollar terms for the sake of duty collection alone and has been revising rates on a monthly or fortnightly basis.

What has also irked many NRIs is that the website of the custom’s department does not give any of these crucial details. Officials downplay the issue by saying that notifications are pasted at airports and the website would be updated soon.

The current rate (subject to daily market changes) of gold is USD 527 per 10 grams which will determine the value of the purchase imported. The import duty is four per cent (on the value and not weight) on gold with serial number while it is flat 10 per cent of the value on gold without serial numbers. Ornaments fall under the latter category. While men are allowed to bring in duty free gold worth Rs 10,000, for women the limit is Rs 20,000. The maximum permissible weight of gold that can be imported has been reduced to 1 kg from 10 kgs.

Amir Ali Khan, who has his family in Hussaini Alam, is in the city for his wedding. “I purchased two gold ornaments weighing 10 tolas and had to pay a total duty of Rs 32,000. I purchased these ornaments for my fiancee but was not aware of the changes in the duty,” he said.

Customs officials at Shamshabad Airport said that the move is aimed to discourage people from importing gold. “After adding customs duty and education cess, the total amount paid is meant to exceed the cost of gold purchase within the country. Also a weakening rupee in the current situation will only push up the total cost of gold imported,” said an officer.

 

Courtesy:- Times of India

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