Import of Goods Through Post
Import of Goods Through Post
The Postal Department provides the import and export of goods by post through its Sub-Foreign Post Offices and Foreign Post Offices. Customs facilities for assessment, examination, clearance, etc., are available at these Post Offices. Limited facility for export clearances is also provided at Export Extention Counters opened by the Postal Department, where parcels for export are accepted and cleared by the Customs.
Goods imported through posts are classified under Chapter Heading 9804 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, and the applicable rate is charged on every interest allowed for importing through posts. Heading 9804 applies to goods permitted for import through posts, exempted from prohibition under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. The goods against an import license or Customs Clearance Permit cannot be imported through posts. Moreover, motor vehicles, alcoholic drinks, and goods imported through couriers are not covered under Heading 9804. Goods imported or exported by posts are governed by Sections 82,83, and 84 of the Customs Act, 1962. The procedure required for the clearance of goods through posts is stated in the Rules regarding Postal Parcels and Letter Packets from Foreign Ports In/ Out of India of 1953.
Goods not to be Filed
To import and export goods through posts, any label or declaration accompanying the packet or parcel mentioning details like description, quantity, and the value of the goods is treated as an entry for import or export of the goods, and no separate manifest for such goods is required to be filed.
Filing of Bill of Entry
The relevant date for the rate of duty and tariff value that applies to goods for import through posts is the date on which the postal authorities present the list containing the details of the goods for assessment to the concerned customs officer. Therefore, the presentation of the list is equivalent to the filing of the Bill of Entry so far as the assessment of goods imported by post.
Entry Inward of the Vessel
When the post parcels come through a vessel and the list presented by the postal authorities is given before the vessel’s arrival, the duty rate and the applicable tariff value shall be as on the date of arrival of the vessel, which is the Entry Inward of the vessel. For export goods, the relevant date for the duty rate and applicable tariff value is the date on which the exporter delivers the goods to postal authorities for exportation.
Clearance of Letter Mail Articles
The Customs usually clear Letter Mail Articles at the time of arrival and sorting unless they hold contraband or dutiable articles. In such cases, the Letter Mail will be further examined at the Foreign Post Offices or Sub-Foreign Post Offices.
Import ability of Dutiable Items Through Posts
Import of dutiable goods through a letter, packet, or parcel is strictly prohibited unless a letter or packet contains a declaration that states the nature, weight, and value of the contents on the front side or if such a declaration is attached alongside specifying that the letter/ packet may be opened for Customs examination. Dutiable goods are not imported by posts if Customs is unsatisfied with the details of nature, weight, and the value of the contents in the declaration. Items that are for personal use, which are exempted from the prohibitions under the FTP or the Customs Act 1962, can be imported by the postal channel on payment of appropriate duties under the Tariff Heading 9804 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. It will be exempt if the Customs duty payable does not exceed Rs. 100.
Import of Gifts Through Post
Bona fide gifts up to a value limit of Rs. 10,000 imported by posts are exempted from Basic and Additional Customs duties vide Notification No. 171/93-Cus., dated 16-09-1993. In addition, items not prohibited for importation under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation Act, 1992 can also be imported as gifts. The sender of the gift may not be residing in the country where the goods have been despatched, and any person abroad can send gifts to relatives, business associates, friends, companies, and acquaintances. The gifts have to be for bona fide personal use. The rule is followed so that the person receives gifts genuinely free, and the payment is made through other means. The frequency and quantity of the gifts should not give rise to the belief that it has been used as a route in transferring money. These gifts can be received by individuals, societies, institutions like schools, colleges, and even corporate bodies.
Calculation of Value Limit
To calculate a value limit of Rs. 10,000 for imports of gifts, postal charges or airfreight will not be considered. Rs. 10,000 is the value of goods in the country from where these were despatched. If the value of gifts received exceeds Rs. 10,000, the receiver has to pay the Customs duty on the whole consignment, even if the goods were received complimentary or unsolicited. Moreover, at the discretion of the Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner, if the goods are restricted for import, the receiver has liability for a penalty for such import, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited. These specified goods are also liable to confiscation, and the receiver has to pay a redemption fine instead of confiscation in addition to duty and penalty. Certain restricted goods like narcotic drugs, arms, ammunition, obscene films/ printed material, etc., are liable to absolute confiscation. The receiver is sensitive to penal action, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited.
Customs duty is chargeable on gifts assessed over Rs. 10,000 by the Customs. For post parcels, the department collects the assessed duty from the gift receiver and subsequently deposits it with customs.
Import of Samples Through Post
Bonafide Commercial samples and prototypes imported by posts are exempted from Customs duty, subjected to the value limit of Rs. 10,000 if the samples are supplied free of cost.
Importers with IEC Code
Those importers having an IEC code number can import commercial samples through posts without payment of duty up to a value of Rs. 1000,000 or 15 units in number within 12 months. These goods shall be marked as ‘Samples.’ The importer must submit a declaration that the samples are solely used to be shown to the exporters for securing or executing export orders. The importer is also required to undertake if the declaration is fake, where he has to pay an appropriate duty on the goods imported as commercial samples.
Import Of Indian and Foreign Currencies by Post
According to the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, no individual can bring or send India any foreign exchange or Indian currency unless the RBI grants special or general permission. Import of Indian currencies and coins by post is also not allowed.
Conditions to Import Currencies by Post
To decrease the pendency and to avoid delay in the clearance of mail articles, Customs may permit the import of both Indian and foreign currencies that residents receive by post if the value is not more than Rs. 5,000—subject to the conditions that are given below.
- Approval is granted by the Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner of Customs.
- A detailed record has to be maintained of the exemptions granted.
- The Record of the name and addresses of the remitter and addressee in India has to be maintained.
- If a spurt is noticed in the number of covers received in a specific period, the matter should be reported to the Regional Office of RBI.
Parcels or packets containing foreign/ Indian currency, etc., valued more than Rs. 5,000 will be detained and adjudicated on merits and released based on a ‘No Objection Certificate from the RBI.
A general permit will be given to the Authorised Dealers to import currency notes from their overseas branches/ correspondents to meet their standard banking requirements. There is no particular clearance required from RBI for these imports.
Procedure in Case of Postal Imports
Rules regarding the Postal Parcels and Letter Packets from Foreign Ports in/ out of India follow a procedure for landing and clearing at notified ports/ airports/ LCSs of parcels and packets forwarded by foreign mail or passenger vehicles or airliners. This procedure is broadly classified as follows.
- The boxes or bags holding the parcels shall be labeled as ‘Postal Parcel,’ ‘Parcel Post,’ Parcel Mail,’ and ‘Letter Mail.’ They will be permitted to pass at specified Foreign Parcel Department of the Foreign Post Offices and Sub-Foreign Post Offices.
- On receipt of the parcel mail, the postmaster gives the required documents to the Customs.
The following are the required documents to be furnished to Customs.
- A memo mentions the total number of parcels received from each country of origin.
- Parcel Bills in the form of a sheet (in triplicate), the senders’ declaration (if available), and any other relevant documents that may be required for examination, assessment, etc., by the Customs Department.
- The relative Customs Declarations and dispatch notes.
- Other information is required in connection with the preparation of the Parcel Bills that the Post Office can furnish.