Saturday, November 11, 2017

Foreign Bank or Indian Banks? Which offers more interst on NRE Fixed deposts?

Recently one of my readers asked me that he wants to invest some money on NRE fixed deposits but confused on whether to go for foreign banks like Citibank, DBS, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank or Indian banks like ICICI, Kotak, HDFC, SBI, Axis Bank or Union Bank? I asked him, whether he has any existing NRE saving account, he says he doesn't have any existing NRE saving account? Then I ask him what is more important for you? the interest rate or convenience? and his answer was the interest rate.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Atal Pension Yojna for Guaranteed Pension for Indians - Important Features

The Government of India has announced a new scheme called Atal Pension Yojana (APY).  The APY is a guaranteed pension scheme and is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which also administer the NPS or National Pension Scheme.  But unlike NPS, where NRIs are also allowed to invest and open an account (see here), Atal Pension Yojna is only for residents of India and that too for Indian citizens only.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Is Laptop, Tablets, and Mobile Phones allowed in Checked-In or Cabin baggage?

Yes, Laptop, Mobile Phones, Smartphones or any other Personal Electronic device, also known as PEDs are allowed in both check-in luggage and in cabin luggage in most of the countries. Though, it's general practice to carry mobile phones, laptops, tablets or any other personal electronic device in cabin luggage due to security reasons. Since these devices have a battery which may spark the fire and if they are in check-in luggage it will not be handled properly and in the worst case, it may result in loss of Aircraft. Hence its advised to always carry electronic devices with the battery in cabin luggage.

Friday, October 20, 2017

10 Customs Rules Every India Returning from Abroad Should Know

India is getting prosperous and foreign trip are not the privilege only rich people had in the past. Nowadays, many middle and upper-middle-class  Indians  are traveling abroad for holidays, vacations, honeymoons, study and just for work to nearby countries e.g. Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Thailand etc. Apart from the hassles of Passport and VISA, one more thing which bothers many Indias is the customs rules and the worry about what they can carry back to India without paying customs duty while shopping overseas.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How much Indian Currency/Cash NRIs can carry to Overseas/India?

In the wake of India's great demonetization drive, NRIs had asked a lot of question to safeguard their Indian currency and one of them was, how much Indian currency an NRI can take to India from Overseas? The main reason for asking this question now is to make use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes before they became worthless after December 30th, 2016, because the only way to deposit old Indian currency was to deposit them into NRI Account in India.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

5 ways to remit large amount of Money to India from Overseas

There are several ways to send money to India from Overseas, both online and offline. Some of the popular channel for remitting money includes the Western Union for the small amount of cash to online services like ICICI Money2India, Xoom, HDFC QuickRemit, Remit2India and Axis bank Remittance allows you instantly transfer small to medium amount of money to India e.g. from 500 USD to 20,000 USD.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

How much foreign Currency NRIs or Foreigners can carry to/from India

In the last article, I told you how much Indian currency NRIs are allowed to take Overseas and in this article, I'll talk about how much foreign currency NRIs are allowed to bring India and then take back while going to Overseas. The discussion is also valid for many foreigners and tourists traveling to India. There is no limit to bring foreign exchange in India from the USA, Singapore, Dubai, UK or any other country, barring the local rules which tells how much foreign currency you take without declaring to Immigration or after declaring to customs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

5 Money transfer Tips for Non Resident Indians Sending Money to India from Abroad

When a young software engineer gets his first onsite opportunity, whether it's short term or long term, he is full of excitement. Nothing beats the excitement and adventure of going abroad, especially America or Europe. As they settle down there are receive their first month's salary, it can be little difficult for them to send money back home. They are new and not aware of all the options they have for sending money to India. Many of them settled to what they are colleagues are using without doing any research about other options available and whether the option his colleagues are using giving the best value for his money or not.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Does NRIs need to update Aadhaar on Bank Accounts?

Recently many of my colleagues received an email from their banks e.g. ICICI and HDFC bank regarding their saving accounts to update Aadhaar on their bank accounts, the deadline to link Aadhaar with a bank account is 31st December. If you don't do this then your account will be frozen. Since many NRIs doesn't have Aadhaar card, so what can NRIs do to deal with this situation? Well, this is not required for NRIs.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Best bank to open SGD/HKD FCNR Fixed Deposit? DBS vs ICICI

If you are living and working in Singapore or HongKong and thinking to open FCNR (Foreign currency Non-resident) fixed deposits in Singapore and HongKong dollar i.e. SGD or HKD then, unfortunately, you don't have many choices as not all Indian banks provide facilities to open FCNR fixed deposit in SGD and HKD. Most of the Indian banks supports 6 major foreign currency for FCNR deposits e.g. USD, GBP, EURO, JPY, AUD, and CHF. Even, the biggest bank of India, the SBI doesn't support SGD or HKD as foreign currency for FCNR deposits. then you should consider DBS bank's FCNR fixed deposit option.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

10 Points NRIs should know about Income tax in India

Many NRIs are not aware of income tax laws in India and doesn't know whether they have to file income tax returns in India or not. Sometimes they also wonder, do they have to include income earned in the USA as well or only income earned in India would be taxable? Other doubts which come in minds is whether interest earned on NRE, NRO, and FCNR deposits should be counted as taxable income or not. What about long term equity gains?

Friday, August 11, 2017

What happens to bank account, Fixed Deposit, and Insurance Policy When you become NRI?

One of the most common doubt among new NRIs are about their bank accounts e.g. what happens to their bank account, Fixed deposit, Demat accounts, brokerage accounts, and insurance policies when they become non-resident Indian? Well, once your residential status changed from resident Indian to non-resident there are certainly few changes in your financial accounts. For example, your resident account needs to be converted into NRO account. You also become eligible to open NRE (Non-resident external) account. Similarly, once you become NRI you need to inform your bank about your fixed deposits, brokerage accounts, and insurance policies.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How much Indian Rupees (INR) Indians can carry from India to Dubai?

If you are going for holidays or work to Dubai, Singapore, or the USA from India and wondering how much Indian rupees you can carry to overseas then you need to know the Indian customs official limit about the export of Indian currency. As per Indian customs rules, Export of Indian Currency is strictly prohibited. However Indian residents, when they go abroad, can take Rs. 25,000/ or INR twenty-five thousand with them. This rule is same for going to any country in the world e.g. you can take 25K INR if you are going to Dubai, Singapore or India.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

NRI Aadhaar and PAN card FAQ - Frequently asked questions

In this article, I'll answered some of the frequently asked questions about Aadhaar card and PAN card and their linking for NRIs and Indians living abroad. Though, the most important thing to remember is that NRIs are not eligible for Aadhaar card and they are also exempted from quoting Aadhaar number in their income tax return in India. Since they are not legally eligible for Aadhaar, they are also don't need Aadhaar number if they want to apply for PAN card from 1st July 2017.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Is NRIs, PIOs, and OCI holders are eligible for Aadhaar Card?

One of the common doubt among NRI community is whether they are eligible for Aadhaar Card or not. The doubt has created more worry with the recent announcement of the Indian government that Aadhaar will be mandatory for filing income tax in India and every tax payer has to link their PAN card to Aadhaar card before 30th June, failing to do may result in cancellation of PAN card. While, I am not aware of any official communication about the cancellation of PAN card if not linked to Aadhaar, but that's what I see on the Internet.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Is Aadhaar card Mandatory for NRI?

Ever since the income tax department of India made it mandatory to linked PAN card to Aadhaar card and ask every tax payer to quote Aadhaar card number into income tax return, many NRIs become worried. The reason was simple, most of them don't have Aadhaar card, but now Aadhaar card seems mandatory even for applying for PAN card. As far I know, from 1st July 2017 you cannot apply for PAN card without Aadhaar and without PAN card you cannot do a transaction involving more than 50,000 INR. So does this mean Aadhaar Card is mandatory for NRIs, PIOs, and OCI card holder?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Does NRIs need to link their PAN Card with Aadhaar Card

If you are an NRI, which has both PAN card and Aadhaar card then it is must for you to link your PAN card with the Aadhaar card. Failing to do so, will result in their PAN card cancellation. Though I have not seen any official news on that this is what many newspapers in India quote. On other hands, it's not legal for NRIs to get the Aadhaar card because it is only for the residents of India i.e. anyone currently living in India, irrespective of their citizenship. This means, both foreigners and Indias with foreign passports e.g. OCI and PIO holder can apply and get Aadhaar card if they are currently living in India.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Is Aadhaar card Mandatory for filling Income tax return for NRIs

Aadhar Card is mandatory for filling income tax return this year for all resident Indians. They even need to link their PAN Card to Aadhar card before filling income tax returns, but for NRIs, Aadhar card is not mandatory for filling income tax return.If you remember, NRIs need to file IT return if they have any income in India, even though it is not mandatory for NRIs to file income tax returns, especially if they have only income from Fixed deposits and Equity investment where TDS is already deducted, its advised that they file income tax return every year. It has many benefits but most important is that you will get your money back which is deducted as TDS if your total income is less than 2.5 lakh.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Can you break NRE fixed deposit Prematurely? ICICI vs SBI vs HDFC vs Kotak

One of the common questions amount NRI investor putting their money on NRE fixed deposit is whether they can close the NRE fixed deposit before maturity or not? and if break the NRE FD is allowed then what is the penalty? This is a very good question and every NRI should ask this to himself or anyone suggesting him to open an NRE fixed deposit account.

Yes, you can close the NRE fixed deposit before it gets matured but interest will be calculated at the rate applicable for the period the deposit has actually remained with the bank and you might need to pay the penalty as well, which varies from bank to bank e.g. ICICI bank has different penalty than HDFC or Kotak Bank.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How to convert existing Resident Saving account to NRO Account in India?

When a Resident Indian becomes an NRI he needs to convert his Resident saving account to NRO account as per Indian banking and income tax laws e.g. FEMA. The NRO account provides the simplest way to access and operate the money and investments already made in India. These accounts can receive foreign remittances, can have a joint account holder who is a resident India e.g. your mother or father, and RBI also permits repatriations from NRO account to abroad limited by a maximum annual amount.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Simple Guide to file your income tax returns Online in India

It's that time of the year again when every India taxpayer (including those who lives abroad) start to worry about filling your income tax in India. Like previous year, 31st July is the last date to file your income tax return in India. Everyone who earns an income in India is subject to income tax, including Indians living abroad or NRIs. Your income could be salary, pension or could be from a savings account that’s quietly accumulating a 4% interest. NRIs, who doesn't have any salary income in India may have to pay income tax if they are earning rental income from their house, flat, or any commercial property.

Friday, June 16, 2017

How to Renew Indian Passport at Overseas? Does Passport Number changes Upon Renewal?

If your passport has been expired or about to expire and you are living outside India then you can submit your passport renewal application at Overseas itself. Indian High Commission and their affiliate agent accept passport renewal application. Btw, when you submit an application for renewal of your passport then your passport number will change. The new passport will have a new number and you need to update this number to everywhere e.g. bank accounts and other places where you have submitted your passport details.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Best Health Insurance Plans for Family in India - LIC vs ICICI Lombard vs Bajaj Allianz Policies

I was searching   for a good health insurance plans for my family recently when I come to know about this "family floater health insurance plans". I have not heard this term before, so I did a bit of research about family floater plans and benefits of taking this type of medical insurance and surprised to know that now you can cover almost all members of your family with just one health insurance plan. This is a big relief because you don't need to buy and maintain separate health insurance plans for different family members, in just once insurance policy you can cover yourself, spouse (wife or husband), children, parents (mom and dad) etc.

Friday, June 2, 2017

How to send money from USA or Canda to India instantly online in 1 hour? - ICICI Money2India express transfer

I recently come to know about ICICI bank's powerful service called express e-transfer which allows ICICI bank Money2India users to send money instantly to India from USA and Canada to India. ICICI bank claims that they will credit the money in just 1 hour compared to 5 days in case of regular electronic transfer if recipient account in India is another ICICI bank account and 2 hours if its a non ICICI bank account e.g. HDFC or Axis Bank. This is simply great and as fast as transferring money from one account to other in India itself.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Can NRI Invest in Stock Market and Mutual funds in India?

Yes, NRI can invest in the stock market as well as in mutual funds in India, provided they have an NRE saving account in India. Investing in a Mutual fund is easier than directly investing in Stocks because you don't need a Demat account to invest in the Mutual fund and also there are a lot of restriction applicable to NRI directly investing in Stocks.

So if you don't want to go through the hassle of opening a Demat account and a Portfolio Investment account, required by RBI to keep track of NRI investment on the stock market, it's better to invest in Mutual funds and exchange traded funds.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Should you take personal loan/ balance transfer in Singapore and pay off a home loan in India?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions among Singapore NRI community. I often receive queries from IT professionals working in the city-state who have home loans back in India and thinking to pay off in full or a portion of them by taking a personal loan or credit card balance transfer in Singapore. Well, the idea to take a loan to pay off another loan only make sense if you are getting a cheaper loan and paying off a higher interest loan. Since most of the home loans in India charges around 9.5 to 11% in INR and you can get personal loan on credit card also known as balance transfer in Singapore for as low as 2.5% for 6 month it make a lot of sense to take a personal loan in Singapore and pay off your home loan in India, though there are some risk which you need to consider. For examples, this only make sense if you have the visibility that you will be in Singapore for next 6 month or more.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

NRE Saving Account FAQ - Non Resident External Account Frequently Asked Questions Answers

The NRE account stands for the Non-Resident External account and I strongly believe, every NRI who has any interest in India must open this account. It has some excellent features which are not available to other types of account e.g. interest earned on NRE account is tax-free in India and not only that, both principal and interest are fully repatriable to overseas. You don't need to ask for permission or worry about paperwork, if you need money in overseas, you can always transfer from your NRE bank account.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Migration to Australia, NewZeland, USA, UK, and Singapore More Difficult for Indian IT Professional Now

This month, particularly this week, starting from 18th April was pretty bleak for Indian IT professional looking for migration and an onsite opportunity to Australia, NewZeland, and the USA. Things were not easy from quite some time where many firms all over the world chopping and moving workforces from high-cost location to low-cost location and thus reducing the onsite opportunity for a large number of ambitious Indian IT guys working in service-based companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, and CTS. Things have started getting even worse due to a series of VISA reforms done by these nations to employ more stricter policies on immigrants has made the onsite dream of Indian IT professional even more difficult.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Can You transfer money from NRE to another NRE, NRO, FCNR and Resident Saving account? ICICI or HDFC?

One of the most common question among NRIs (Non-resident Indians), especially among IT professionals traveling to the USA, UK, Singapore onsite are whether they can transfer funds from one NRE account to another NRE account, or NRO account, or FCNR account, or a Resident saving account or not? Since many IT professionals have their resident saving account in India when they travel to Overseas and which they later converted to NRO account, this doubt is obvious. Well, since NRE account is maintained in Indian rupees, there is no restriction on transferring your money from one NRE account to another NRE, NRO, FCNR or resident saving account.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Can you send money from abroad to a normal Indian savings account, will it be taxable?

One of the frequently asked questions by people going abroad is that, whether they can send money to a resident saving account in India or not? Will that be taxable? The answer to this question depends upon whose resident saving account? For example, if you send money from abroad to a normal saving account of your parent, spouse, or children then it will be considered as a gift from Income tax perspective and gift to parent, spouse, and children are not considered as income in India, hence they will not be taxable.   But, if you send them to somebody else’s normal saving account then it will be considered as their income and they are liable to pay income tax on that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Difference between Wire Transfer (SWIFT) and ACH (Automated Clearing House) Money transfer

Even though both Wire transfer and ACH are ways to send a large amount of money from one place to another, there are some significant differences in the way they operate. A wire transfer, also commonly referred as SWIFT transfer is an electronic transfer of money from one financial institution to other across the financial network. The word "wire" is chosen to signal the electronic transfer of money. It is fast and secure and can be used to transfer fund from one bank or credit union account to other. The wire transfer is mostly used for international money transfer e.g. sending money from the USA to India, particularly for a large amount of money due to its safety, security and speed advantages because no actual cash is moved in wire transfer transaction.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Top 5 Income Tax Changes and Slab Rates from Budget 2017

The Indian Budget for 2017 has been announced a couple of days back and Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitely announced some Income tax reforms, amendments, and relief for personal income tax payers of India in his budget 2017 speech. The most important of them are 5% tax on the lowest slab i.e. 2.5 lakhs to 5.0 lakhs instead of 10%. This change will impact most of the tax payers in India as data provided in the budget, total 3.7 crore people filed income tax returns in 2015-16 and out of those almost 2 crore was in the range of 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

NRIs can now exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes until 30th June 2017 - deadline extended for Resident Indian and NRI returning from Abroad

In a pleasant surprise in the new year, Government now allows NRIs to exchange or deposit demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes until 30th June 2017. Earlier the deadline was 31st March 2017 on RBI offices for NRIs but this is now extended until 30th June 2017 to allow NRIs to better plan their trips to India. This is a much-needed relief to NRI community who was very disappointed with the way the government  handles this demonetization exercise as many of them left with old cash ranging from 5K to 25K due to no legal option to convert them at overseas.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Selling Properties in India? What NRI should Know

NRIs are allowed to buy and sell properties in India and they can also bring the profit post sale of their property to abroad but there are a couple of things which you need to learn and remember. For example, you need to know that the sale proceeds amount can only be deposited into your NRO account and not on your NRE account.  There are many similar points which every NRI should know and remember before selling their ancestral or self-bought properties in India. I have tried to list a couple of them in this article. If you have any suggestion or any other important things which are not in this list, please suggest in comments.

Friday, January 13, 2017

What is the limit and tax implication of Sending Money to India from the USA?

In theory, there is absolutely no limit to how much money you can send to India, provided you earned your money legally and paid your taxes but the USA is special. In practice, depending upon which channel you are using for sending money to India, you might have some limit. Similarly, you will also hit the daily limit of transaction you can do with your local bank e.g. paying bills up to 50,000 dollars daily for remittance purpose.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

5 Tax Benefits of taking NRI home loans in India

Many NRIs buy property in India by taking NRI home loans, but when it comes to tax saving, most of them are not sure whether they are eligible for any tax saving in India or not. They just earned in abroad and replay the home loan by their NRE/NRO account without thinking of tax deductions available under income tax law of India for home loans. Many banks, which provide NRI home loans e.g. ICICI, HDFC, State Bank of India, Axis bank, Federal Bank, Bank Of Baroda and other non-banking financial institution like Tata capital, LIC Housing or HDFC itself doesn't tell you anything to NRIs about how they can save taxes while paying their home loans in India.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Can NRI take Personal Loans in India? Which is the best bank to take NRI Person loan?

Yes, NRIs can take personal loans in India, nothing stops them except the bank which are giving Personal loans. Unfortunately, even though, all the public sector banks e.g. SBI, Bank of Baroda, Punjab national bank, private sector e.g. ICICI, HDFC, Axis bank, YESBank, Standard chartered, Federal bank, and even non-banking financial institution like Tata Capital, LIC finance are offering home loans to NRI but no one is providing personal loans to NRIs.