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While traveling on business to Australia from India, I carried my personal HP laptop (4 years old). Unfortunately, my laptop overheated and I had to buy a new Macbook Pro from Australia. I have the receipt indicating the same.

Later, I traveled to China from Australia; carrying 2 laptops in hand luggage. I got my old laptop repaired and it works like a charm. Now, I want to buy another laptop as a gift for my friend. Can I carry 3 laptops in hand luggage to India?

I've not declared anything on the customs declaration form as the items were not new when I was leaving the country and they are all personal items.

My flight details are - Qingdao -> Beijing -> Mumbai.

marked as duplicate by SpaceDog, Gagravarr, JoErNanO, Gayot Fow, Michael Hampton Jun 29 '15 at 4:17

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Warning: this answer is not based on experience in India, but rather experience with importing goods in other countries. I suppose this knowledge is transferable but you definitely want a more India-experienced answer.

Make sure you can prove to the custom what you are saying regarding where you bought the laptop, one laptop overheating & so on. Bills (or copies/photos of bills) should be good.

The "I want to buy another laptop as a gift for my friend" part seems a bit risky, be prepared to come up with a good story! Maybe say that one laptop is a work laptop, while the other 2 are personal.

You might want to look at taxation on imported goods in India, if there is one, I would not declare the fact that I just bought 2 out of the 3 laptops I am bringing in (importing) are new. Make it look not new: remove all the packaging, install a couple of softwares, add a custom background image, add some music & videos on the hard drive.


Edit

My tax-import avoidance strategy (see above) is probably the simplest strategy but is often seen very negatively. However, when buying a computer in the 1st place you already pay a tax. So I'm not sure it's so bad to avoid paying double taxation on the imported laptop.

Best strategy if you want to be all in harmony with the local legislation is probably to get a tax refund in the country where you buy the laptop (this can be a bit complicated & slow), & then pay the import tax in India.

  • I disagree with the notion of helping enable someone with breaking, or at least avoiding, the laws of their nation. A simpler answer might have been chances are you'll owe customs duties on the new laptop; and leave it at that. – CGCampbell Jun 26 '15 at 2:23
  • @CGCampbell yeah, I understand it may be seen negatively. However, when buying a computer in the 1st place you already pay a tax. So I'm not sure it's so bad to avoid paying double taxation on the imported laptop. Best strategy is probably to get a tax refund in the country where you buy the laptop, & then pay the import tax in India. Adding this in the answer. – Adrien Be Jun 26 '15 at 2:32
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    The stratergy you outline above is tax evasion (attempt to illegally avoid paying tax) as oppose to tax avoidance (using legal measures to minimize tax burden). Regardless of if you try to make the devices not look new, they are new. – CMaster Jun 26 '15 at 9:42
  • @CMaster Fair enough, the wording is interesting. I wouldn't worry at all if there was just one computer... But 3! Sounds too greedy/risky. – Adrien Be Jun 26 '15 at 14:01

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