5 Things NRIs need to know when filing Income Tax Returns in India

The income that NRI earn abroad is not taxable in India. Nevertheless, some NRIs also have an earning in their aborigine country, India in the form of interest from deposits, property rent, etc. This income has a basic limit of exemption, which is Rs. 2.50 lakhs. If the NRI earnings from such native sources cross the fixed limit of two lakh, then they should file their tax return.

In addition to the income sources mentioned above, if these NRIs carry out transactions in shares, mutual funds and/or similar securities, the monetary gains from the same are also tax accountable, for which they are supposed to file returns. The due date for this, only in case of NRIs, is July 31.

However, there are certain things that NRIs filing returns must take into consideration. By considering the following practical scenarios, one can ease out his/her tax-return filing process in India.

When should an NRI file for the return?

There are three major criteria for filing the return. These include if their income from the country exceeds the maximum limit permissible as basic exemption, or it can be filed to claim a return if the deducted tax is more than what was payable. To settle the claims for the amount set off as capital losses, one should file his returns.

What all documents do you need as a non-resident Indian?

The documents that one should submit include their passport of the residence country. This shows the total number of days spent outside India for them to qualify as a non-resident Indian. Apart from this, they should provide their de-mat account statements, and the TDS certificates they received from other parties. The statements for de-mat accounts are required for the knowledge of their bank accounts and transactions held in India.

What are the exemptions and the deductions for which you are eligible?

There are certain exemptions in India by which an individual can reduce his/her taxable income. These include certain investments, payment of the principal amount of the housing loan, etc. These exemptions are applicable to NRIs as well. Therefore, for those exemptions that are applicable, the NRIs can claim the same under the Income Tax, such as Section 80C.

There are certain deductions that are specifically not applicable to NRIs. Firstly, NRIs do not benefit from differential exemption limits, based on age and gender, and applicable to resident Indians. Secondly, an NRI’s short-term or long-term capital gains from their investment sale in India, is also not included under tax exemption.

What should you do to claim a refund?

To expect a refund from your filed tax return, you should ensure to put the exact bank details, which includes your account number and the branch MICR code. In case of an online filing of returns, the processing of your refund happens electronically. Therefore, precise bank account details are always helpful.

What are the alternatives available to file returns?

The NRIs can file their return online via the Income Tax Department’s e-filing portal. Alternative to this, they may also use other ways to do the same. This includes taking the help of tax advisors, or by using other private and paid e-filing portals for getting their purpose served.

Some more points to remember :

A point to remember is that an NRI, whose total income during the concerned financial year comprises only of investment earnings and/or long-term capital gains, should not necessarily file the returns. Apart from this, if the tax deduction has already taken place at the income source, then too the non-resident Indian may not file the tax return.

With the help of above-mentioned tips, NRIs can simplify the whole process of filing their tax returns in their motherland, India. To have a tax plan and investment plan completely in alignment with your financial goals, you should have a well thought out financial plan.

(The author is Ramalingam.K an MBA (Finance) and certified financial planner. He is the Director & Chief Financial Planner of holistic investment planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He Can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in)

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Tags : filing income tax (9) ITR (502) NRI (31) Section 80C (120)

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