How do I determine my residential status?
You are considered an Indian resident for a financial year:
If you are an Indian Citizen working abroad or a member of a crew on an Indian ship only the first condition is available to you – which means you are a resident when you spend atleast 182 days in India. The same is applicable to a PIO who is on a visit to India. The second condition is not applicable to these individuals.
A PIO is a person who, or any of his parents, or any of his grandparents were born in undivided India.
Is my income earned abroad taxable?
An NRI’s income taxes in India will depend upon his residential status for the year.
If your status is ‘resident’, your global income is taxable in India. If your status is ‘NRI’, your income which is earned or accrued in India is taxable in India.
Salary received in India or salary for service provided in India, income from a house property situated in India, capital gains on transfer of asset situated in India, income from Fixed Deposits or interest on savings bank account are all examples of income earned or accrued in India.
These incomes are taxable for an NRI. Income which is earned outside India is not taxable in India. Interest earned on a NRE account and FCNR account is tax free. Interest on NRO account is taxable for an NRI.
Am I required to file my income tax return in India?
NRI or not, any individual whose income exceeds Rs.2,50,000 (for FY ending 31st March 2015 or Rs.2,00,000 for FY ending 31st March 2014) is required to file an income tax return in India.
NRIs must file their returns when they:
If capital gains from selling an asset is your only income in a financial year and TDS has been deducted on that, then you are not required to file your income tax return for that year.
When is the last date to file income tax return in India?
July 31 is the last date to file income tax return in India for NRIs.
Do NRIs have to pay advance tax?
If your tax liability exceeds Rs.10,000 in a financial year, you are required to pay advance tax . Interest under Section 234B and Section 234C is applicable when you don’t pay your advance tax.
Income from salary
Your salary income is taxable when you receive your salary in India or someone does on your behalf. Therefore, if you are an NRI and you receive your salary directly to an Indian account it will be subject to Indian tax laws. This income is taxed at the slab rate you belong to.
Income from Salary will be considered to arise in India if your services are rendered in India. So even though you may be an NRI, but if your salary is paid towards services provided by you in India, it shall be taxed in India.
In case your employer is Government of India and you are the citizen of India, Income from salary if your service is rendered outside India is also taxed in India. Note that income of Diplomats, Ambassadors is exempt from tax.
Income from House Property
Income from a property which is situated in India is taxable for an NRI. The calculation of such income shall be in the same manner as for a resident. This property may be rented out or lying vacant.
An NRI is allowed to claim standard deduction of 30%, deduct property taxes and take benefit of a interest deduction if there is a home loan. The NRI is also allowed deduction for principal repayment under section 80C. Stamp duty and registration charges paid on purchase of a property can also be claimed under section 80C. Income from House Property is taxed at slab rates applicable.
Rental payments to an NRI
A tenant who pays rent to an NRI owner must remember to deduct TDS at 30%. The income can be received to an account in India or the NRI’s account in the country he is currently residing.
A person making a remittance (a payment) to a Non Resident has to submit Form 15CA. This form is submitted online. In some cases, a certificate from a Chartered Accountant in Form 15CB is required before uploading Form 15CA online. In Form 15CB, a CA certifies details of the payment, TDS rate and TDS deduction as per section 195 of the Income Tax Act, if any DTAA (Double Tax Avoidance Agreement) is applicable, and other details of nature and purpose of the remittance.
Form 15CB is not required when:
Neither is required if the transaction falls under Rule 37BB of the Income Tax Act, where it lists 28 items.
In all other cases, if there is a remittance outside India, the person who is making the remittance will take a CA’s certificate in Form 15CB and after receiving the certificate submit Form 15CA to the government online.
Income from other sources
Interest income from fixed deposits and savings accounts held in Indian bank accounts is taxable in India. Interest on NRE and FCNR account is tax free. Interest on NRO account is fully taxable.
Income from business and profession
Any income earned by an NRI from a business controlled or set up in India is taxable to the NRI.
Income from capital gains
Any capital gain on transfer of capital asset which is situated in India shall be taxable in India. Capital Gains on investments in India in shares, securities shall also be taxable in India.
If you sell a house property and have a long-term capital gain, the buyer shall deduct TDS at 20%. However, you are allowed to claim capital gains exemption by investing in a house property as per Section 54 or investing in Capital Gains Bonds as per Section 54EC.
Special provision related to investment income
When an NRI invests in certain Indian assets, he is taxed at 20%. If the special investment income is the only income the NI has during the financial year, and TDS has been deducted on that, then such an NRI is not required to file an income tax return.
What are the investments that qualify for special treatment?
Income derived from the following Indian assets acquired in foreign currency:
No deduction under Section 80 is allowed while calculating investment income.
Special provision related to long-term capital gains
For long-term capital gains made from the sale of transfer of these foreign assets, there is no benefit of indexation and no deductions allowed under Section 80. But you can avail an exemption on the profit under Section 115 F when the profit is reinvested back into:
In this case, capital gains are exempt proportionately if cost of new asset is less than net consideration. Remember, if the new asset purchased is transferred or sold back within 3 years, then the profit exempted will be added to the income in the year of sale/transfer.
The benefits above may be available to the NRI even when he/she becomes a resident – until such an asset is converted to money AND upon submission of a declaration for the application of the special provisions to the Assessing Officer by the NRI.
The NRI may choose to opt out of these special provisions and in that case the income (investment income amd LTCG) will be charged to tax under the usual provisions of the Income Tax Act.
Deductions under section 80C
Most of the deductions under section 80 are also available to NRIs. For FY 2014-15, a maximum deduction of up to Rs. 1,50,000 is allowed under section 80C from gross total income for an individual.
Of the deductions under Section 80C, those allowed to NRIs are:
Deduction from house property income for NRIs
NRIs can claim all the deductions available to a resident from Income from House Property for a house purchased in India. Deduction towards property tax paid and interest on home loan deduction is also allowed. You can read about house property income in detail here.
Deduction under Section 80D
NRIs are allowed to claim deduction for premium paid for health insurance. This deduction is available up to Rs.20,000 for senior citizens and up to Rs. 15,000 in other cases for insurance of self, spouse and dependent children. Additionally, an NRI can also claim a deduction for insurance of parents(father or mother or both) up to 20,000 if their parents are senior citizen and Rs. 15,000 if the parents are not senior citizens. Therefore, an NRI will be able to claim a maximum deduction of Rs. 40,000 under this section. Beginning FY 2012-13, within the existing limit a deduction of up to Rs. 5,000 for preventive health check-ups is also available.
Deduction under Section 80E
Under this section, NRIs can claim a deduction of interest paid on an education loan. This loan may have been taken for higher education for the NRI, or NRI’s spouse or children or for a student for whom the NRI is a legal guardian. There is no limit on the amount which can be claimed as a deduction under this section. The deduction is available for a maximum of 8 years or till the interest is paid, whichever is earlier. Deduction is not available on the principal repayment of the loan.
Deduction under Section 80G
NRIs are allowed to claim deduction for donations for social causes under Section 80G.
Deduction under Section 80TTA
Non-resident Indians can claim deduction on income from interest on savings bank account up to a maximum of Rs. 10,000 like Resident Indians. This is allowed on deposits in savings account (not time deposits) with a bank, co-operative society or post office and is available starting FY 2012-13.
Some Investments under Section 80C:
Investment under RGESS under section 80CCG
Deduction under section 80CCG or Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme was introduced effective assessment year 2013-14. The main purpose behind this deduction was to increase retail investor participation in equity markets. Upon satisfaction of certain conditions the deduction allowed is lower of 50% of amount invested in equity shares or Rs 25,000. This deduction is not available to NRIs.
Deduction for the differently-abled under section 80DD
Deduction under this section is allowed for maintenance including medical treatment of a handicapped dependent (a person with a disability as defined for this section) is not available to NRIs.
Deduction for the differently-abled under section 80DDB
Deduction under this section towards medical treatment for a dependant who is disabled (as certified by a prescribed specialist) is available only to Residents.
Deduction for the differently-abled under section 80U
Deduction for disability where the tax payer himself suffers from disability as defined in the section is allowed only to Resident Indians.
Exemption on sale of property for an NRI
Long-term capital gains (when property is held for more than 3 years) is taxed at 20%. Do note that long-term capital gains earned by NRIs are subject to a TDS of 20%.
NRIs are allowed to claim exemptions under section 54, Section 54EC and Section 54F on long-term capital gains. Therefore, an NRI can take benefit of the exemptions from capital gains at the time of filing a return and claim a refund of TDS deducted on Capital Gains.
Exemption under Section 54 is available on long-term capital gains on sale of a house property. Exemption under Section 54F is available on sale of any asset other than a house property.
Exemption is also available under Section 54 EC
when capital gains from sale of the first property is reinvested into specific bonds.
The NRI must make these investments and show relevant proof to the buyer to get no TDS deducted on the capital gains. The NRI can also claim excess TDS deducted at the time of return filing and claim a refund.
How can NRIs avoid double taxation?
NRIs can avoid double taxation (meaning: getting taxed on the same income twice in the country of residence and India) by seeking relief from Double Tax Avoidance Agreement between the two countries.
Under DTAA, there are two methods to claim tax relief – exemption method and tax credit method.
By exemption method, NRIs are taxed in only one country and exempted in another. In tax credit method, where the income is taxed in both countries, tax relief can be claimed in the country of residence.
Are you paying taxes in two countries? We can help you get double taxation relief.
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