The Indian Government could implement a ban on duty-free imports of television sets as early as next week, as part of its plan to contain a bulging current account deficit.
The Wall Street Journal claims to have spoken with an anonymous source who said that the Government will make the ban official within the next few days. August 26 is earmarked for its entry into force.
The present duty exemption allows individuals who have stayed outside the country for more than three days to import television sets worth up to INR35,000, tax free, if done through airport baggage. According to the Wall Street Journal's source, from August 26, all sets imported in this way will attract a 35 percent levy, plus a fine. The 28 percent tax on television imports made via airline cargo will not be affected.
Just last week, the Government announced its latest round of hikes to customs and excise duties on gold, platinum, and silver. It has increased the import duty on standard gold four times since January 2012, but figures for April-July show an 87 percent surge in imports over the same period last year.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.