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 exempted 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 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:

Remittance does not exceed Rs 50,000 (single transaction) and Rs 5,00,000 (in total in a financial year). Only Form 15CA is to be submitted in this case.

If lower TDS has to be deducted and a certificate is received under section 197 for it, a lower TDS has to be deducted by order of the AO.

Neither is required if the transaction falls under Rule 37BB of the Income Tax Act, where it lists 37 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 NRI 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:

  • Shares in a Public or Private Indian company
  • Debentures issued by a publicly-listed Indian company (not private)
  • Deposits with banks and public companies
  • Any security of the Central Government
  • Other assets of the Central Government as specified for this purpose in the official gazette.
  • 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:

  • Shares in an Indian company
  • Debentures of an Indian Public company
  • Deposits with banks and Indian Public companies
  • Central Government Securities
  • NSC VI and VII issues

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 and LTCG) will be charged to tax under the usual provisions of the Income Tax Act.

Deductions and Exemptions for NRIs

Deductions under section 80C

Of the deductions under Section 80C, those allowed to NRIs are:

Life Insurance Premium Payment:The policy must be in the NRI’s name or in the name of their spouse or any child’s name (child may be dependent/independent, minor/major, or married/unmarried). The premium must be less than 10% of the sum assured.

Children’s Tuition Fee Payment:Tuition fees paid to any school, college, university or other educational institution situated within India for the purpose of full time education of any two children (including payments for play school, pre nursery and nursery).

Principal Repayments on loan for purchase of house property: Deduction is allowed for repayment of loan taken for buying or constructing residential house property. Also allowed for stamp duty, registration fees and other expenses for purpose of transfer of such property to the NRI.

Investments in ELSS

Other allowable deductions

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.

Deduction under Section 80D

NRIs are allowed to claim deduction for premium paid for health insurance. This deduction is available up to Rs.30,000 for senior citizens and up to Rs. 25,000 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 30,000 if their parents are senior citizen and Rs. 25,000 if the parents are not senior citizens. Therefore, an NRI will be able to claim a maximum deduction of Rs. 55,000 under this section.

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.

Deductions not allowed to NRIs

Some Investments under Section 80C

Investment in PPF are not allowed.

(NRIs are not allowed to open new PPF accounts, however PPF accounts which are opened while they are a Resident are allowed to be maintained.)

Investments in NSCs

Post Office 5 Year Deposit Scheme

Senior Citizen Savings Scheme.

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 dependent 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.

If you are not very keen to reinvest your profit from sale of your first property into another one, then you can invest them in bonds for up to Rs.50 lakhs issued by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) or Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).

The homeowner has 6 months’ time to invest the profit in these bonds, although to be able to claim this exemption, you will have to invest before the tax filing deadline.

The money invested can be redeemed after 3 years but cannot be sold before the lapse of 3 years from the date of sale.

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.

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