Dubai: How much gold can you legally carry to India?

Jewellery prices are almost 15 per cent cheaper in the UAE, says expert



by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 6:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 13 Oct 2022, 6:32 AM

With the onset of the Diwali celebrations in the UAE, gold jewellery buying in Dubai has started picking up in the days leading to the festival. Indians have always shown an affinity for gold as compared to any other precious metal. They have also long-preferred buying the yellow metal in the UAE as opposed to India due to the purity of the gold sold here.

The Dubai Gold and Jewellery group that participates in all major festivals in the city claims that "35 per cent of Dubai's trade is in gold and jewellery products."

Abdul Salam K P, Vice Chairman & GED Malabar Group, says, "Dubai is the place to buy gold and jewellery because it offers the best price and displays the largest variety. No matter which part of India the jewellery is made in, it will come to Dubai. We always say, 'Dubai is a place for any Indian to buy her/his jewellery' (irrespective of its origin in India)."

"If you go to South India… for example, in Chennai, you will get South Indian style jewellery. If you go to Delhi, you will get North Indian (designed) jewellery; if you go to Mumbai, you will have a design catering to the Western part of India. But if you come to Dubai, you can buy all kinds and styles of Indian jewellery, whether it is from Kerala or Kashmir, with the best prices on offer. Jewellery prices in Dubai are almost 12 to 15 per cent cheaper in Dubai."

Experts explain passengers' limits

However, tax experts aver one needs to be cautious if you are planning to take gold jewellery to India.

Explaining the limits prescribed by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) for an Indian passenger returning to India (after a period of over one year), Pankaj S Jain, Managing Director– AskPankaj Tax Advisors, UAE, says, "For male passengers residing abroad for over one year, gold jewellery of up to 20 grams with a value cap of Dh2,500 (Rs50,000) can be brought in without duties. For female passengers, the said limit is double, ie, up to 40 grams with a value cap of Dh5,000 (Rs100,000)."

India-based Subhash Chand Jain, Managing Partner – RSA Legal Solutions, who work closely with the UAE, says, "The 'duty-free' allowance does not permit the import of gold jewellery. 'Duty-free allowance includes 'used personal effects,' which is generally understood to include jewellery. However, Indian tax authorities have often clarified that 'used personal effects' does not include jewellery."

He adds, "The import of gold (including ornaments) is permitted only in limited scenarios. Any passenger of Indian origin or an Indian passport holder, coming to India after at least six months of overseas stay can import a maximum of one kilogram of gold (including ornaments) upon payment of customs duties. As a matter of practice, used jewellery of nominal values usually worn by a passenger could be allowed at the time of arrival."

"It's explained, the custom duties on gold bars were recently increased from 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent. "

"With a 2.5 per cent Agriculture and Infrastructure Cess (AIDC), the total custom duties aggregate to 15 per cent. Further, an additional three per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applicable, resulting in aggregate import duties of 18.45 per cent. The duties were increased as India recorded a 790 per cent year-on-year increase in gold imports in May '22," adds Jain.

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