Dubai: Indian expats in the UAE continue to take flat-screen TVs to India during their summer holiday as they are much cheaper here, even after paying a customs duty in India.
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) like to take TVs home for their families or as gifts for friends.
Prices of flat-screen TVs in the UAE can be half of that in India, where import and sales taxes are higher.
Since August 2016, India has imposed a 35 per cent customs duty on flat-screen TVs. The effective rate is actually 36.05 per cent because of a “cess”, or “tax on tax”, of three per cent on the customs duty itself.
Even then, NRIs continue to take TVs from the UAE to India when they go home on holiday.
Maroof Iraqy, a 21-year-old Indian expat living in Dubai, said he will save more than Dh4,200 on a TV he is planning to take home on holiday soon.
Iraqy is buying a 55-inch Sony 4K TV for Dh2,800 from Dubai, on which he will have to pay 36.05 per cent (Dh1,009.40) customs duty in India. His total expense will be Dh3,809.40 — still “much, much cheaper” than the price in India for the same TV.
“I checked the price in India for the same TV, it is Rs150,000 — around Dh8,036.21. That means I’ll save Dh4,226.81,” Iraqy said.
“My friends do this all the time, and I got the idea from one of them. They mostly buy electronics as gifts, and most of those items are TVs. I didn’t even know you could take such a big TV with you,” he added.
“Dubai has very low taxes and the margins are also thin on TVs here. So it works out way cheaper than India, especially for the big brands.”
Another Indian expat, Aftab Alam, plans to take a TV to his home city of Lucknow during the Eid Al Adha holiday in August.
“There are always deals and discounts going on in Dubai, so I’m waiting for a deal before the Eid break to buy a TV to take home. Dubai is known for quality, having the latest models in stock, and great prices. My cousins have taken home TVs before and this time I plan to take one too,” said Alam, 43, a sales manager who lives in Sharjah.
Alam said one of his cousins had once purchased a Samsung 41-inch LED TV for around Dh700 at a 50 per cent discount, which he took to India.
“If you can get a TV in Dubai for 50 per cent of the price in India, even after paying a 36 per cent custom duty, you still save 14 per cent.”
However, the Customs Officer in India may or may not use the Dubai price as the basis for imposing the custom duty. The officer could apply a higher price or “assessed value” of the same TV, quoted from an internal database of TV models and their prices.
Rajan Nair, 54-year-old sales manager who works in Dubai, said he was not asked to pay any custom duty in India last July on a TV he had bought in Dubai.
“I had bought a 40-inch Sony Smart TV for less than Dh1,500 on a deal for personal use. When I was going home to India on holiday last summer, I decided to take it with me. As it was used by then, and it was for personal use, I didn’t pay any duty, although I cannot say that is always the case for everyone,” said Nair.
“Taking a TV from Dubai to India is not complicated and the prices are great in Dubai, even if you factor in a custom duty in India.”
According to Jacky’s Electronics in Dubai, branded TVs are around 35 to 40 per cent cheaper here compared to India, excluding entry-level models, which are 25 per cent cheaper here. The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brands are cheaper by 20 per cent.
“Despite the fact that consumers taking TVs to India have to pay 35 per cent duty, the cost still comes out cheaper because Dubai is a trading hub, which means television sets are cheaper here,” a spokesperson from Jacky’s told Gulf News.
“Generally, the demand for TVs soar more during sport events, Ramadan and Dubai Shopping Festival.”
Sample prices of TVs in UAE and India
■ Sony 32” LED TV: Dh676 - India: Rs17,999 (around Dh964)
■ Samsung 40” LED TV: Dh1,170 - India: Rs33,999 (around Dh1,821)
■ LG 55” LED TV: Dh2,089 - India: Rs65,934 (around Dh3,532)
■ Philips 65” Smart TV: Dh2,599 - India: Rs138,999 (around Dh7,446)