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Income Tax for NRIs: Taxable Income & Deductions
The tax collected from citizens forms the basis of any country’s economy. Many Indians spend a major part of their time during a year staying abroad. Now you must be wondering, are such people also required to pay taxes in India? Well, the answer depends on various conditions. The Indian Income Tax Act of 1961 also applies to anyone generating income outside their own country besides residents. The income tax regulations and benefits available to them differ significantly from those available to resident Indians. This guide talks about the various provisions, rules, and regulations applicable to NRIs and their taxation.
Who is a Non-Resident?
“Non-Resident” is a person who has not been residing in India for a specified period of time. The Residential Status of an individual in a given year determines whether the individual is a Resident or Non-Resident for the year.
How do I determine my Residential Status?
The residential status of an individual is determined on the basis of the number of days an individual has physically stayed in India. Residential status has nothing to do with the nationality or domicile of an individual. It may also happen that an Indian, who is a citizen of India, maybe a non-resident for Income Tax purposes in a particular year, and an American citizen may be resident in India for Income Tax purposes in a particular year.
Types of Non-Resident
Under the Income Tax Act 1961, a non-resident is broadly classified under the following three heads:
- Non-Resident Indian/Person of Indian Origin
- Foreign Company
- Other Non-Resident Person
Residential status is to be determined for each previous year, i.e., the financial year under consideration. The residential status of the assessment year is not relevant. Also, you may be a resident in a previous year and a non-resident in another. Hence it has to be determined for each previous year.
It is very much possible to have dual residential status in a previous year, i.e., you may be a resident in India in the previous year and also a resident in some other country, say the United States. It may happen because of different sets of rules laid down by countries for the determination of Residential status.
Who is Non-Resident Indian?
“Non-Resident Indian (NRI)” is an individual who is a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin and who is not a resident of India. In India, Non-Resident Indians are mainly governed by two Acts-
- The income Tax Act, 1961 &
- Foreign Exchange and Management Act, 1999(FEMA).
The term “Non-Resident Indian” is defined differently under both acts. However, one needs to understand that for the purposes of Income-tax, the FEMA Act holds no relevance, and you just need to conform to the provisions of the Income Tax Act 1961.
Person of Indian origin (PIO) - A person is said to be of Indian origin if he or any of his parents or any of his grandparents were born in undivided India.
How to determine Residential Status?
So, as defined above, “a non-resident is a person who is not resident in India,” therefore, we need to understand who is considered a Resident in India.
You are considered a “Resident in India” for a financial year
- If you were in India for a period of 182 days (6 months) or more during the Financial year; OR
- If you have stayed in India for 2 months, 60 days in the financial year and for a total of 365 days in the preceding 4 years.
There are certain exceptions to the above condition of 60 Days:
- If you are an Indian citizen who has left India in the Financial year as a crew member of an Indian ship or for the purposes of employment abroad, or
- If you are a PIO or a citizen of India who comes on a visit to India;
Then the second condition of 60 Days and 365 days will not apply to you, which means that in the above situations, you will be considered resident in India if and only if you were present in India in the relevant financial year for a period of 182 days or more.
Therefore, you are a Non-Resident if you do not fulfill any of the above conditions.
Do NRI’s have to pay taxes in India for income earned abroad?
The answer is YES. After you have determined your residential status, the next step is to identify income taxable in India as per your residential status.
- For Resident Individuals: Your Global income is taxable in India, i.e., income earned, whether in India or outside India, is taxable in India.
- For Non-Resident Indians: Only income earned or accrued in India or deemed to be so is taxable in India. Therefore, your income from any country besides India is not taxable in India.
What is Income Earned or Accrued in India?
India follows the “source rule” basis of taxation, i.e., all the income which accrues or arises from or through a source in India is taxable in India. Therefore, identifying the source of Income is of utmost importance. If it is established that the income has its source in India, whether direct or indirect, such income would become taxable in India. A list of such incomes are:
- Any salary received in India,
- Any salary received for services rendered in India,
- Rental income (if any) received from a property situated in India,
- Capital gain (if any) arising on account of transfer of property or asset in India
- Any income from deposits in India such as interest on fixed deposits
- Any interest received on the savings bank account, etc.
Which Income are Taxable for NRI in India
Income from Salary:
Your salary income will be taxed in India under two situations.
Situation A: If it is received in India- If you are an NRI and you have received any salary in India directly into an Indian Account or somebody else has received it on your behalf in India, then such salary income would become taxable in India.
Situation B: If it is earned in India- Your income is said to be earned in India if it is earned for services rendered in India. Therefore, if you are an NRI and your salary earned is for the services rendered in India, it shall be taxed in India.
You will be taxed at the slab rate to which your income belongs.
Income from House Property:
Any Income from a property which is situated in India, either rented or lying vacant, is taxable income for an NRI. The calculation of such income shall be in the same manner as for a resident.
An NRI, like a resident, is allowed
- A standard deduction of 30%,
- To deduct property taxes,
- To take benefit of interest deduction if there is a home loan, and
- To claim principal repayment of the loan as a deduction under section 80C. Also, stamp duty and registration charges paid on the purchase of a property can also be claimed under section 80C.
It is important to note that even if the income is received directly into the non-resident's account outside India or in his NRE account, still the income would be liable to tax in India as the source of income, i.e., the property is situated in India.
Read our blog- Tax Implications on House Property, to know more.
Where a resident is required to pay rental to a Non-Resident Indian, a TDS at the rate of 30% is required to be deducted before transferring the money to the Non-resident’s account. A person making any payment to Non-resident is required to submit Form 15CA/15CB online to the Income tax department.
Income from Other Sources:
Indian-sourced income in the form of interest on fixed deposits and saving accounts that are held in Indian Bank accounts is taxable in India. Interest received on NRE and FCNR accounts is tax-free, whereas interest received on NRO accounts is fully taxable.
Income from Capital Gains:
Any capital gain arising on the transfer of capital assets situated in India shall be taxable in India. Capital Gains on investments in India in shares and securities shall also be taxable in India.
If you sell a capital asset, a house property, then
A. TDS of 20 percent is applicable on Long-term capital gains.
B. TDS of 30 percent is applicable on Short-term capital gains.
The buyer, even if he is an individual, is responsible for deducting tax at source and paying it to the Government. Since the onus of deducting tax on payments made to non-residents is on the buyer, he must get a Tax Deduction Account number (TAN) and issue a TDS certificate for the same.
Like residents, even Non-Resident Indians are allowed to claim exemptions under section 54, section 54EC, and section 54F on long-term capital gains from the sale of a house property. The long-term capital gain can be invested under:
|Section||Asset sold/ transferred||Asset to be invested in||Time period for Investment||Quantum of exemption|
Cost of the new house x Capital GainsSale Receipts
Relevant proofs should be shown to the buyer so that no TDS is deducted by him.
In case, the buyer deducts TDS, the benefit of these exemptions can be availed at the time of return filing by NRI, and refunds of such TDS can be claimed.
Rental Payments to an NRI
- A tenant paying rent to an NRI owner is required to deduct TDS at 30% while making the payment, whether to an Indian account or to an NRI account.
- The TDS deductor has to submit Form 15CA prepared and submit it online to the Income Tax Department.
- In some cases, the tenant is also required to furnish Form 15CB, which is a CA-certified form. Form- 15CB is not required in cases where the remittance is less than Rs.5,00,000 in a year, and if the AO orders a lower deduction of TDS or if the transaction falls under Rule 37BB of the Income Tax Act.
Specific Provisions related to Investment Income of NRI
As an NRI you can avail of a special provision related to investment income. An NRI is taxed at 20% when he invests in certain assets in India. All the more, he/she is not required to file an income tax return if his/her income comprises only special investment income and TDS on the same has been deducted.
What are the investments that qualify for special treatment?
The income derived from the following assets in India acquired in foreign currency shall qualify for special treatment:
- Shares in Indian Companies(Public or Private company)
- Debentures, only issued by a publicly-listed Indian company (not private)
- Deposits with banks and public companies,
- Any security of the Central Government
- Other Central Government assets as specified under the official gazette.
No deduction under Section 80 will be allowed while calculating investment income.
Special provision related to long-term capital gains
On long-term capital gain arising from the transfer or sale of these foreign assets, no benefit of indexation and deduction under Section 80 is allowed.
But you can still save your taxes, by availing exemptions on the gains earned under Section 115F. Under this, you are required to reinvest the net consideration received into the following assets:
- 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
The entire capital gain would be exempt if the whole of the net consideration is re-invested. However, if the cost of the new asset is less than the consideration, then the capital gain will be exempt proportionately, i.e.
Total Capital Gain X Cost of New Asset ----------------------------- Total net consideration
NOTE: The exemption will be withdrawn if the new asset purchased is transferred or converted into money within a period of 3 years from the date of purchase.
The NRI can at any time withdraw from the special provision and in such a case the investment income and LTCG will be charged to tax under the usual provisions of the Income Tax Act.
Deductions Available to NRI
Of the total deductions available to a resident individual, few are not available to non-resident individuals. A brief list of deductions available or not to Non-Residents is shown below:
|Deductions Allowed||Deductions Not Allowed|
||b. Sec 80CCG-
Investment in Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme (RGESS)
c. Sec 80DD-
Deduction for maintenance including medical treatment of dependant handicapped as defined under section
||d. Sec 80DDB-
Deduction for medical treatment of dependant handicapped (as certified by a prescribed specialist)
||e. Sec 80U-
Deduction allowed to a tax payer who himself suffers from disability
Deduction under Section 80C:
The maximum deduction allowed under the section is Rs.1,50,000. The deductions allowed to NRIs under the section are -
- Life Insurance Premium Payments-
Deduction is available where the policy has been purchased in NRI’s name or in the name of his/her spouse or any child’s name (regardless of their dependencies and age). The premium must be less than 10% of the sum assured.
- Tuition Fee Payment-
NRI can claim a deduction of tuition fees paid to any school, college, or any university situated in India for the purpose of the full-time education of their children.
- Principal repayment of home loans-
Like Residents, NRIs can also claim a deduction for principal repayment of house property loans borrowed for the purposes of constructing or purchasing a residential house property. Other expenses such as stamp duty charges, registration fees, and others incurred for the purposes of acquiring such property also qualify for deduction under the section.
- Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP)-
Investment in ULIPs is also allowed as a deduction to NRI’. Investment in ULIPs offers twin benefits of insurance and investment under a single integrated plan. The lock-in period is of 5 years. Premium paid towards own, spouse, and children are eligible for deduction.
- Equity Linked Tax Saving Scheme (ELSS)-
Deduction under Section 80D:
NRIs can claim a deduction for premiums paid for health insurance for themselves and their family or parents in India.
The three possible situations and tax benefits for each are shown below:
|Policy taken for||Deduction Allowed||Total Tax Benefit|
Deduction under Section 80E:
Section 80E allows NRIs to 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. No deduction is allowed on the principal repayment of the loan.
Deduction under Section 80G:
If eligible donations have been made as per section 80G of the income tax act, the deduction is allowed to NRIs.
Tax Slabs of NRI for AY 2023-24
Unlike residents for whose tax rates are classified on the basis of age, no such classification is available for Non-Residents.
Hence, for Non-Residents whether aged
Below 60 Years
Above 60 - 80 Years, and
Above 80 Years
All are taxed uniformly.
The tax slab rates for Non-resident Individuals are:
|Old Tax Regime||New Tax Regime u/s 115BAC|
|Income Tax Slab||Income Tax Rate||Income Tax Slab||Income Tax Rate|
|Up to ₹ 2,50,000||Nil||Up to ₹ 2,50,000||Nil|
|₹ 2,50,001 - ₹ 5,00,000||5% above ₹ 2,50,000||₹ 2,50,001 - ₹ 5,00,000||5% above ₹ 2,50,000|
|₹ 5,00,001 - ₹ 10,00,000||₹ 12,500 + 20% above ₹ 5,00,000||₹ 5,00,001 - ₹ 7,50,000||₹ 12,500 + 10% above ₹ 5,00,000|
|Above ₹ 10,00,000||₹ 1,12,500 + 30% above ₹ 10,00,000||₹ 7,50,001 - ₹ 10,00,000||₹ 37,500 + 15% above ₹ 7,50,000|
|₹ 10,00,001 - ₹ 12,50,000||₹ 75,000 + 20% above ₹ 10,00,000|
|₹ 12,50,001 - ₹ 15,00,000||₹ 1,25,000 + 25% above ₹ 12,50,000|
|Above ₹ 15,00,000||₹ 1,87,500 + 30% above ₹ 15,00,000|
Surcharge Rates for NRI's
- Surcharge Rate is 10% of income tax payable on total income exceeding Rs 50 lakhs but up to Rs 1crore.
- The surcharge Rate is 15% of income tax payable on total income exceeding Rs 1crore but up to Rs 2crore.
- The surcharge Rate is 25% of income tax payable on total income exceeding Rs 2crore but up to Rs 5crore.
- The surcharge Rate is 37% of income tax payable on total income exceeding Rs 5crore.
- The surcharge is subject to marginal relief and is applicable to the income of an NRI as well.
Rebate u/s 87A
The rebate under section 87A of a maximum of Rs.12,500 is not allowed to a Non-resident.
Benefits of basic exemption limit
- As a Non-resident, you still get the benefit of the basic exemption limit of Rs. 2,50,000 from your total income. However,
- If your total income in India consists of only short-term capital gains or long-term capital gains, then the benefit of the basic exemption limit is not available in respect of such gains.
Calculate your tax liability using our Income Tax Calculator.
When is an NRI required to file his Income Tax Return?
NRIs are required to file a return of income if they have taxable income in India.
In the following situations, an NRI is required to file Income Tax Return in India:
- If your Gross Total Income before allowing any deductions under section 80 is more than Rs.2,50,000.
- If you are seeking a refund from the department.
- If you want to have the benefit of carrying forward of losses
Due Date for filing Income Tax Return
For Non-Resident Individuals, the 31st July of the assessment year is the due date for filing a return of income tax in India.
But if the NRI is a working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited then the due date becomes 30th September.
Whether an NRI is required to pay Advance Tax?
Yes. Even Non-Resident Indians come under the ambit of Advance tax. Advance tax is paid in the financial year/previous year on the basis of estimated tax liability for the year. If the tax liability is higher than Rs.10,000 then the assessee is required to pay his advance tax liability in four installments as mentioned in the Act.
In case of failure to pay advance tax on the specified due dates or on payment of less advance tax than the actual tax liability, interest under Section 234B & Section 234C is levied on the taxpayer.
The due dates and the amount payable of advance tax are:
|Due Date of Instalment||Amount Payable|
|On or before 15th June||Up to 15% of total advance tax|
|On or before 15th September||Up to 45% of total advance tax|
|On or before 15th December||Up to 75% of total advance tax|
|On or before 15th March||Up to 100% of total advance tax|
To know more about Advance tax- Read our blog Advance Tax-What?Why?When?
Which ITR form is applicable to the NRI assessee?
"Till AY 2017-18 Non-Resident Individual (NRI) Assessee could file ITR 1 for their incomes earned or accrued in India. From the FY 2018-19 and 2019-20 amendment has been made in the eligibility to file form ITR 1. Now, ITR 1 can only be filed by Resident Individuals and is not available for non ordinarily residents.
Which means a Non-Resident Individual (NRI) has the option to file either of these two ITR forms ITR 2 or
- ITR 3
ITR 2 can be filed in case the NRI is having income other than income from Business and profession. Such other income can include income from rent received in India, interest income received, capital gains arising from share trading or sale of property located in India, etc.
ITR 3 is required to be filed in case NRI is receiving any income in India from Business or Professional activity being carried out in India.
Hope this article helped you learn more about taxation for NRIs. However, so many provisions, rules, and regulations can be quite intimidating. If you are also among those who get intimidated at the thought of managing your taxes, then you can go for expert-assisted ITR filing services. Tax2win provides premium quality ITR filing services that too at affordable rates. And the best part, you can get your ITR filed with the help of a CA from anywhere at anytime. Book an expert now!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q- Which Income tax return form should I fill if I am an NRI with no income in India?
If no income has been earned in India or deemed to be earned in India, then a return is not required to be filed.
Q- Is income which was earned in a foreign country tax-free if brought back to India?
If you are a resident of India, your global income will be taxed in India whether it is earned in India or outside India subject to DTAA(Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) with the foreign countries. So any income earned by an NRI outside India will not be taxable in India.
Q- Are there any tax-saving advantages in NRI mutual funds?
Yes, as an NRI you can save taxes by investing in mutual funds. Investing in an equity linked saving scheme (ELSS) can help you save taxes by providing you the benefit of tax exemption under section 80C of the Income Tax Act 1961
Q- Do seafarers need to file an income tax return when they have completed 182 days of NRI status?
Yes, if the seafarers have stayed in India for 182 days or more in the relevant year, then they are considered Indian resident and required to file ITR. However, if the period of stay in India during the previous year is less than 182 days, then they are not required to file ITR.
Q- Is the salary earned by a resident Indian in the UAE, with whom we have DTAA, taxable in India?
Yes, the salary earned by a resident Indian in the UAE is taxable in India.
Q- For returning NRI till what date after the return is tax exempted on NRI deposit?
Upon change of your residential status from NRI to the resident, the interest income earned from an FCNR deposit shall become taxable. Interest earned from the FCNR account continues to be exempt so long as you are NRI or resident but not ordinarily resident (RNOR), as per the income tax law.
Q- Does an NRI need to fill in Schedule AL (Assets and Liabilities) of ITR-2 if his/her income outside India is more than 50 lakhs?
Individuals and Hindu undivided families (HUF) having a total income below Rs 50 lakh are not required to file schedule AL. All the individuals and HUF must file Schedule AL if income exceeds Rs 50 lakhs.
Q- Is an Indian student studying abroad considered an NRI for income tax purposes?
Under the Indian foreign exchange regulations, Indian students going abroad for studies are treated as NRIs and are eligible for facilities available to NRIs
Q- Are dividends earned by an NRI for the shares/stocks/securities in India taxed?
Dividends earned from stocks is exempt from Income tax in India irrespective of the residential status of the assessee. All the income is required to be reported no matter exempt or not.
Q- What is RNOR status, and how long can an NRI save tax on NRE FDs after returning to India?
The following two conditions are to be satisfied to be classified as RNOR:
- Spent 9 out of 10 F.Y. as NRI
- Been to India for 729 days or less in the last 7 F.Y.
All those NRIs who have been NRIs for continuous one year or more are allowed to open RFC account.
Q- What are the tax implications for an NRI on inheriting agricultural land?
An NRI inheriting agricultural land is not taxable.
Q- During my NRI year I had a foreign salary paid to my Indian savings account. I have paid taxes in a foreign country. Do I need to pay tax again in India?
Income earned overseas by you will be taxed in India. If taxes are paid on this in another country then, tax credits can be claimed in India