Friday, December 30, 2016

How to Find if returning NRI is a Resident but not Ordinarily resident (RNOR) and Tax benefit

Let me answer the second question first to convince you why a returning NRI would like to find out whether he is a resident or a non-ordinarily reside (RNOR)? Well, there is big tax benefit of filing income tax return in India as RNOR i.e.  Resident But Not Ordinarily Resident, unlike ROR (Resident and Ordinarily Resident) whose global incomes in taxed in India e.g. interest earned on foreign currency fixed deposit kept abroad or in FCNR account or in RFC account in India, RNOR is asked to pay tax only on income earned in India.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Can NRI buys properties in India? Flats, Residential Plot, or Commercial Shop?

Yes, Under the exchange control law, NRIs are allowed to buy property in India except for agricultrual land, farm house or any plantation property. This means NRIs can buy flats, bungalows, residential plots, and landed properties, both freehold and on the lease.  NRIs are also allowed to buy commercial properties e.g. shops in India. They can also purchase a residential house which is ready or possession, under construction or available on resale. NRIs can even take NRI home loans for the purchase of a plot of land allotted by a society/development authority.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Is NRO Account Taxable in India - Saving and Fixed Deposit

Yes, NRO account is taxable in India. Both interests earned on NRO saving account and NRO fixed deposit are taxable under income tax law of India at the rate of 30% plus applicable cess and surcharge, which comes around 30.9%. Compared to resident saving account this quite high and enough to wipe out one-third of your interest earned in NRO account. This means you should not put additional money on NRO account especially avoid remitting money to NRO account, instead send money to your NRE account because interest earned on NRE account is not taxable.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

20 Cheques Best Practices for issuing and handling cheques

One positive side-effect of Demonetization is increasing cashless transaction, be it by using Debit card, Credit, Card, Mobile Wallets e.g. Paytm, or cheques. If you look at all of them Cheque is probably the oldest way of doing the cashless transaction and after Demonetization it's important has increased more. Even though cheques are there from a long time, I have found people afraid of issuing cheques, partly due to a fear that it can be misused. Someone can change the amount or account number or copy their signature etc.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How to check if you are an NRI, a RNOR, or an Ordinary Indian Resident?

One of the important question among Indians going abroad or NRIs returning from overseas to India for a good is to check their residential status to see whether they qualify as an NRI, an RNOR or an Ordinary Indian Resident in the current and future financial years. Why it is important to know the residential status? Well, it's quite important from income tax perspective because if you are an NRI or RNOR (Resident but not Ordinarily Resident) then you don't need to pay tax on your global income, which include interest earned on NRE fixed deposits and FCNR fixed deposit. Instead, you only have to pay tax on income earned in India.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Indian Customs Limits for Carrying Cash to/from India - Indian Rupee vs Foreign currency

The Indian Customs limits on the amount of cash anyone can carry from abroad to India is different for Indian currency (INR) and foreign currency e.g. US Dollars, Pound or Yen. The cash limit for traveling in India is also different for how much you can take to India and how much you can bring from India, also known as  i.e. import and export cash limits of India. In this article, we'll take a look at current limits by Indian Customs on the amount of cash both Indian citizen and foreigner can carry to and from India.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

NRI Demonetization FAQ - What NRI/PIOs should know about Demonetization of Rs 500/1000 Notes In India

It's been almost a month since our honorable prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi surprised both India and world with his one of the boldest decision to scrap the Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes and took out almost 86% of currency in circulation. This move has been now the center of discussion from last month and world is divided on whether it's a good move and help the economy or a bad move which put India in a chaotic situation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Best time to Send Money to India from USA

After Donald trump's victory and historic onRupee demonetization in India, many of my friends working in living me asking the question whether now is the best time to send money to India from the USA? Well, it certainly looks so. The USD/INR exchange rate is at all time high of 68.34 and very likely to go to 70, so it definitely sounds the best time to send money from India to the USA.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NRIs have finally started sending Rs 500/1000 Notes in Flights with Colleges/Friends due to Demontization

After waiting for almost a month for a better alternative to exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes overseas after the announcement of demonetization of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes on 8th November 2016, NRIs seems to start accepting their fate and started sending cash with friends and colleagues traveling to India before 30th December.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Can NRIs send Indian currency to India through Fedex or DTDC Courier?

One of the most frequently asked question among NRI community post the historic announcement of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in India is whether NRIs can send the Indian currency to India using FedEx, DTDC or DHL express or not. The answer is No, NRIs cannot send money e.g. bank notes, currency notes, coins and traveler's cheques via international shipment e.g. DHL Express, DTDC, FedEx or any other means to India.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

7 Points NRI should remember while depositing/exchanging old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Notes

If you are like many NRIs which keeps some amount of cash from 2K to 25K in denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes which are now banned in India and thinking to either exchange them for new notes or deposit in their bank account, so that you can withdraw them later using ATM, then this post is a must read for you. In this article, I am going to share 7 important points every NRI should know and remember who is thinking of exchanging or depositing old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How do NRIs living in US,Canada,Australia,Singapore, Dubai change old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 cash?

In my last article is it possible to exchange old Rs 500 and to Rs 1000 notes overseas I mentioned that currently, it's not possible to change old Indian currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 abroad because neither money exchangers are accepting those notes nor Indian banks at overseas, both public and private are accepting them. So, now the biggest question is how do NRIs living in US/Canada/Australia/Japan/Singapore/HongKong/UAE change their old notes? Are their cash is worthless now? The only way NRI can exchange or change old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes is either personally visiting any bank in India or authorizing someone to do the exchange on their behalf by submitting authorization letter and self-attested copy of passport. You should also remember the deadlines, 30th December 2016 and 31st March 2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Can NRI deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes into NRE/NRO Account?

One of the frequently asked question by NRI who are traveling to India or currently in India is that whether they can deposit their Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in their NRE account or not? Some of them have withdrawn the cash from their NRE account itself prior to the surprise declaration of demonetization by the prime minister on the night of 8th November.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How NRI can exchange Rs 500/1000 Notes Overseas

Ever since Indian PrimeMinister Mr. Modi announce demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, many NRIs, PIOs and other Indians residing overseas are worried about how to convert their cash which is mostly in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. It's very common for NRIs and Indians working overseas to keep small cash of amount 5000 to 10000 when they come back from India.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

NRI Minimum Account Balance and Penalty charges - ICICI vs HDFC vs SBI vs Kotak

One of the important detail many NRIs ignore while opening NRE or NRO saving account is the minimum account balance required to be maintained on the monthly or quarterly basis. Sometimes this is also known as average monthly balance. On average you need to maintain at least 10,000 Indian Rupees as minimum monthly balance but it varies hugely from bank to bank and on different account type. Banks also charges the penalty if you don't maintain the required minimum balance in your NRE account, which not only completely offset any interest gain you have made but also put a dent on your principle amount. I have friends which have lost thousands of rupees as minimum balance penalty because of ignorance and not paying enough attention.

Friday, August 19, 2016

How to open NRE or NRO account from overseas Online - ICICI, HDFC, Kotak, YESBANK

Nowadays, opening an NRE or NRO account from overseas has become quite easy with an online application form and free pickup services offered by many Indian public sectors and private sector banks. Almost all major banks including public sector banks likes SBI, Bank of Baroda, Union bank of India, Federal Bank and private sector banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, YESBANK, and foreign banks operating in India e.g. DBS, Standard Chartered, and Deutsche bank all allows you to fill the account opening form online and many of  them have free pickup service or local PO box services to collect the completed application form and necessary documents.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Does a NRI need to file Income tax if no income in India?

The short answer is No, you don't need to file income tax in India if you have no income but it's very rare that you don't have income. You might not have salary income because you are employed overseas but you could have income as interest generated by bank fixed deposit, rental income generates by your flats in India, a royalty paid to you by your book published and sold in India, dividend paid on your stock market investment in India.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

How to open NRE or NRO account in Singapore - SBI, Kotak, HDFC

If you are an Indian staying in Singapore and want to open NRE or NRO account with Indian banks like SBI, Kotak, HDFC, ICICI, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, or foreign bank with Indian operations like DBS bank, then you have a couple of options with you. The first and most convenient option is provided by the biggest bank of India, the SBI (State Bank of India). SBI Singapore provides the facilitation services for Non-resident Indians (NRIs) to open NRE, NRO, and FCNR B account right from Singapore.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Buying Health Insurance for Parents or Elderly People? Remmeber these Points

In the last couple of articles, I have told you why health insurance is important for parents and what are the tax benefits you get by buying health insurance for your family and parents (see here), but I have not shared any tips about buying the right health insurance. In this article, I am going to fill that gap. If you are buying health insurance policy for your parents e.g. your month or father, you should consider following 7 points before finalizing any health insurance policy.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

5 Tax Saving Schemes not available to NRIs

If you have been filing your income tax returns in India then you know that there are a lot of tax saving options you can use to claim tax deductions and exemptions under a various section of income tax law of India. For example, section 80C allows both resident and non-resident taxpayer of a deduction up to 1.5 lacs from their gross taxable income. This can substantially reduce your tax liability by bringing down your total taxable income into lower income tax slab rates. Unfortunately, not all tax saving schemes available to the resident taxpayer are available to NRI e.g. there are almost 13 ways to save tax under section 80C, which I know, there are more but many of them are not available to NRI taxpayers. In this article, I'll let you know the difference in tax deductions and exemptions applicable to NRI and resident taxpayer.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How to reduce TDS on NRO Fixed Deposit using DTAA?

In last article, I told you that you can use the DTAA (Double Tax avoidance Agreement) to prevent double taxation of same income in two countries. Since most of the NRI pay their taxes in their country of employment or resident, they can also take advantage of DTAA to reduce TDS on NRO fixed deposits held in India, both private and public sector banks. Since banks are suppose to withhold tax of 30% plus applicable surcharge and cess in terms of the provisions of section 195 of the Income-tax Act, you end up paying very high TDS up-to 30.9% on NRO fixed deposit, which is enough to wipe out 1/3rd of your interest.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tax Benefit of Buying Health Insurance in India for NRI - Section 80D

There is no doubt that in today's expensive world you need a good health insurance policy for your family and parents. Hospitalization and the Medical cost have risen significantly in India and expenditure ranging in 5 lakhs to 10 lakhs is nothing for a major critical illness like Cancer and Heart-related disease. It's simply not possible to arrange huge amount, ranging from 5 to 50 lakhs for hospitalization and medicines at the time of need, it's both difficult and troublesome, that's why buying a health insurance is a must for a family guy.  Indian government allows both residents and NRIs to claim tax rebate under section 80D for health care expenses for its spouse, children and parents. Particularly for NRI, where parents are living in India, they should buy adequate health insurance policy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

How to Send Money to Overseas from NRE or Resident account - Online Repatriation

You can send money to abroad on your overseas saving account from an NRE account in India. You can do this both online from the comfort of your office or home and offline from any branch of your bank. This is also known as repatriation or outward remittance. Almost all banks in India, both private sectors e.g. HDFC bank, ICICI, Kotak, YESBANK, Citibank and public sector banks like SBI, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and others provide an online facility in their net banking website to transfer money to your overseas account.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

3 Ways to avoid TDS on Bank Fixed Deposit

One of the bad thing about Fixed deposits are TDS i.e. tax deducted at source. If you don't pay attention to TDS or doesn't do enough to prevent or avoid TDS, you could lose a good amount of your interest income to banks. I have many friends who never care about TDS, they think that their bank fixed deposits are getting good interest at least 8.5% per annum, only to find out that interest earned is also taxed at the rate of 20% as TDS due to not furnishing PAN details.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

3 Reasons for Buying Health Insurance Family and Parents in India

Even though Health insurance is not a new concept for the world, I must admit that it's a relatively new thing in India and many people including those who are living in cities and earning well are not aware of benefits of taking health insurance. Many people just focus on life insurance to buy a cover to help their family with money when they are not around, but they don't think about the medical emergency and cost of hospitalization for themselves and family, especially during old age.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Can NRI deposit INR in NRE Account in India

The answer is both Yes and No, it depends on upon the source of funds. Technically, Yes, you can deposit INR or Indian rupees in NRE account in India with both private banks e.g. HDFC, ICICI, Kotak, YesBank, Federal Bank, and any public sector banks like SBI, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India etc, provided the source of INR is another NRE or FCNR account. So, if your friends, relative or wife has an NRE saving account and they can legally transfer Indian Rupees to you.

Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Ways to Send Money to NRE account in India

One of the frequently asked question from NRIs, who has just open an NRE (Non Resident External) account is how to fund their NRE accounts? Since you cannot transfer Indian rupees from your normal saving account in India to your NRE account, this question is common to arise. Simplest way to deposit money in your NRE account is remittance i.e. by sending money from your overseas bank account, but that's not the only way to transfer money to your NRE account.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Section 80TTA Tax Benefits - NRI can claim 10,000 INR On interest of Saving Account

Do you know that Non-resident Indians can claim a deduction on income from interest on saving bank accounts up to a maximum of 10,000 INR like resident Indians? Well, I didn't. I just come to know about this relatively new tax deduction method. This benefit is provided under Section 80TTA, which is available from the financial year 2012-13. Since an NRI can only have either NRE or NRO saving account, and given interest earned on NRE account is exempted from tax (see here), this will only applicable to interest earned on an NRO saving account.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

US NRIs and H1B holder must submit FATCA Compliance Certificates to Indian Banks

Recently one of my friend, working for an IT company in the USA on H1B visa received notification from Indian banks and Mutual funds that he needs to submit FATCA compliant certificates. He wasn't sure about what is FATCA and why he needs to submit FATCA certificate to Indian banks. This inspired me to write this short post explaining what is FATCA and who needs to submit FATCA certificates in India.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What is difference between NRI and NRE account?

This is one of the frequently asked questions from NRIs, main from those who have not yet opened any saving account in India. NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) can open different types of bank accounts in India e.g. NRE (Non Resident External), NRO (Non Resident Ordinary), FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-resident), or RFC (Resident Foreign currency). All of them are casually called NRI accounts because only NRIs can open them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

How to Send money to Indian when Receiver doesn't have a bank Account

You can use Western Union's money transfer facility If you are sending money to your parents or relatives in India, who are not used to modern banking and doesn't have any internet banking or simply a bank account. The Western Union has a tie-up with Federal bank which allows Hassle free method of money transfer where the receiver need not have an account.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

10 Benefits of NRE Bank Account and Fixed Deposits

If you are an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) then you have access to a unique bank account called NRE (Non-Resident external) account which allows you to keep your money in Indian rupees. This account then further allows you one of the best, fixed deposit investment option known as NRE fixed deposit, which currently provides fixed and interest rate e.g. 8.75% from Deutsche bank, resulting in a cumulative yield of 10.3% for a 5 years NRE fixed deposit. It's not just the Deutsche bank but other private and public sector banks like SBI, ICICI, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, YES Bank they all provide very good returns on NRE fixed deposits.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme Tax Benefits

Since the last date of the financial year 31st, March is approaching, many Mutual funds, brokerage house and Insurance companies are aggressively promoting their products in a bid to attract income taxpayers who like to save tax. Particularly, Mutual funds and brokers like ICICI Direct are trying to promote their tax saving options e.g. ELSS, Infra bonds etc. Recently I receive an email from ICICI direct regarding one of the lesser used tax saving option, Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme (RGESS),  which inspired me to write this post.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tax Benefits of NRE Accounts (Saving, Current, Recurring or Fixed Deposit)

NRIs (Non Resident Indian) are allowed to open bank accounts in India, and by knowing features and the tax benefit of different types of NRI accounts, you can save a good amount of money. There are three types of accounts an NRI can open in India, NRE (Non Resident External), NRO (Non Resident Ordinary) and FCNR (Foreign Currency Non Resident) account. Out of these three, first two are maintained in Indian rupees and only FCNR account is maintained in the foreign currency of choice e.g. USD, GPB, EURO, SGD, HKD or JPY.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

When do NRIs need to Pay Income tax In India?

One of the most common doubt among every new NRIs mind is whether they need to file income tax returns in India or not. As I told earlier that it's not mandatory to file income tax return in India, but now questions comes when do NRIs need to file income tax return in India? when it's mandatory for NRI to file income tax return in India. I'll try to answer these questions in this article. First thing first, NRI needs to pay tax on any income earned in India Similar to resident taxpayers, the basic tax exemption limit for NRIs are also 2,50,000 for the year 2015-16.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

10 things NRI Should know about Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS)

RBI has allowed NRIs to invest in Indian stock market by buying shares/convertibles of listed Indian companies in recognized stock exchanges e.g. BSE and NSE, under Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) with banks. Many NRI doesn't know much about Portfolio Investment Scheme, Even I didn't know about it some time back. Once I come to know about it I have collected some useful information and I wanted to share that with you guys.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is not Tax free Anymore, 60% of EPF Withdrawals will be Taxed as Income

One of the most important and controversial points of recently concluded Indian budget 2016 is the taxation on Employee Provident Fund withdrawals. Earlier, similar to PPF, EPF was also completely tax-free i.e. whatever amount you invest in EPF, up to 1.5 lakh under the section 80C were deducted from your taxable income. There was no tax on gains made by EPF and maturity amount was also exempted from tax, but not anymore.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NRE vs NRO vs FCNR - Which Savings or Fixed Deposit Account NRI should Open

Non Resident Indians, who wants to invest money in India, must first open a saving bank account. This will not only help you to easily remit money to India but also to transfer Indian rupees to your friends, relatives, and parents. You can also pay bills on behalf of parents, recharge mobile phones, pay DTH charges etc. If you have aged parents, then you can really help them to pay their bills online using your Indian Rupees NRE or NRO Saving accounts, I have open NRO accounts for just that purpose. Anyway, there are mainly three basic types of banks accounts for nonresident Indians, NRE, NRO, and FCNR. NRE stands for Non-resident external, NRO stands for Non Resident ordinary and FCNR stands for Foreign currency Non-resident account.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

8 Things NRI should Know about Mutual Fund Investment

If you are an NRI and investing in Mutual funds in India, here are a couple of things you should know.

1) NRIs are allowed to invest in mutual funds in India on a repatriable or non-repatriable basis. Based on which type of investment you choose, there are certain rules to follow.

2) The investments carry the right of repatriation of capital invested and capital appreciation only till the investor remains an NRI.