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E-Filing Income Tax for NRIs: Process and Guidelines

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Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by Kanakkupillai

Introduction

E-filing of income tax in India is the electronic filing of income tax returns through the Internet on the official website of the Income Tax Department of India. It is a convenient and efficient way for taxpayers to file their income tax returns from anywhere in the world without physically visiting the income tax office. The process involves filling out the income tax return form online, providing all necessary details, and submitting it electronically. E-filing allows for faster processing and refunds and reduces the chances of errors or discrepancies in tax returns.

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) can e-file their income tax returns in India using the official website of the Income Tax Department of India. To do so, NRIs must first obtain a PAN (Permanent Account Number) and link it to their Aadhaar card, if applicable. They can then log in to the e-filing portal and fill out their tax return, providing all necessary details, including income earned in India, deductions claimed, and taxes paid. Once the return is submitted, the NRI must verify it using the Electronic Verification Code (EVC) or Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). E-filing allows NRIs to conveniently file their taxes from anywhere in the world and receive any refunds owed to them promptly.

Key Takeaways

  1. E-filing income tax returns in India is a convenient and efficient way for taxpayers to file their returns from anywhere in the world without visiting the income tax office.
  2. If applicable, NRIs can e-file their income tax returns in India by obtaining a PAN and linking it to their Aadhaar card.
  3. For income tax purposes, an NRI is a person who has stayed in India for less than 182 days in the relevant financial year and less than 365 days in the preceding four financial years.
  4. NRIs’ income tax liability in India is based on the income earned or received in India, except for some instances, such as income from a business or profession controlled by India or income from a property located in India.
  5. Tax laws vary by country, and NRIs may be subject to different tax rates and regulations than residents of that country. It’s always advisable to consult a tax expert or accountant for specific advice on tax matters.
  6. NRIs must meet certain eligibility criteria to e-file their income tax returns in India, including having earned income from India, being classified as a resident or non-resident, and having a PAN card.
  7. The steps to e-file income tax for NRIs in India include obtaining a PAN card, registering on the Income Tax Department website, gathering necessary documents, calculating taxable income, choosing a tax filing portal, filling out the ITR form, and verifying and submitting the form.

Who is Considered an NRI for Income Tax Purposes?

For income tax purposes in India, an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) is a person who meets both of the following criteria:

  1. He/she has stayed in India for less than 182 days in the relevant financial year.
  2. He/she has stayed in India for less than 365 days in the preceding four financial years.

An NRI’s income tax liability in India is based on the income he/she earns or receives in India. Any income earned outside India is not taxable in India, except in some instances, such as income from a business or profession controlled by India or income from a property located in India. NRIs are also eligible for certain tax exemptions and deductions, depending on their income and investment activities.

Categories of income for NRIs

in general, the types of income for NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) may include:

  1. Income from salary or wages received for services rendered outside of India.
  2. Income from business or profession carried on outside of India.
  3. Income from property outside India, such as rental income from a property.
  4. Capital gains arise from selling assets outside India, such as shares or real estate.
  5. Income from other sources outside India, such as interest income earned from a foreign bank account.

It’s important to note that tax laws vary by country and that NRIs may be subject to different tax rates and regulations than residents of that country. Additionally, tax treaties between countries may impact the taxation of NRIs. It’s always advisable to consult with a tax expert or accountant for specific advice on tax matters.

E-filing Income Tax for NRIs

E-filing income tax for NRIs - Procedures

Eligibility criteria for e-filing income tax for NRIs

The eligibility criteria for e-filing income tax for NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) depend on their income and the source of income earned in India. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Income: NRIs must have earned income from India to be eligible for e-filing income tax. The income can be in salary, rental income, capital gains, or any other income generated from India.
  • Residential status: NRIs must be classified as ‘Resident’ or ‘Non-Resident’ under the Income Tax Act of India. An NRI is considered a ‘Resident’ if he/she has stayed in India for a total of 182 days or more during the previous financial year. If an NRI has stayed in India for less than 182 days, he/she is considered a ‘Non-Resident.’
  • Taxable income: NRIs whose taxable income in India exceeds the basic exemption limit of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per annum are required to file income tax returns in India. For NRIs, income earned outside India is not taxable in India.
  • Tax deducted at source (TDS): NRIs must file income tax returns in India if TDS has been deducted from their income. They can claim a refund for any excess TDS deducted.
  • Tax treaties: NRIs citizens of a country with a tax treaty with India are eligible for tax benefits under the treaty.
  • PAN card: NRIs must have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card to file income tax returns in India.

It is advisable for NRIs to consult a tax expert or a chartered accountant to understand the specific tax laws and regulations applicable to their situation.

Steps to e-file income tax for NRIs

Here are the steps to e-file income tax for NRIs in India:

  1. Obtain a PAN card: The first step is to obtain a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card if you do not already have one. You can apply for a PAN card online or through authorized agencies.
  2. Register on the Income Tax Department website: Go to the Income Tax Department’s website and register yourself as an NRI user. You must provide your PAN number and other personal details to register.
  3. Gather all the necessary documents: Collect all the documents related to your income, such as Form 16, Form 26AS, bank statements, and investment details.
  4. Calculate your taxable income: Calculate your taxable income earned from India based on the documents you have collected.
  5. Choose a tax filing portal: Choose one that suits your needs and register on that one.
  6. Fill out the income tax return form: Once registered on the portal, fill out the income tax return (ITR) form corresponding to your income type.
  7. Verify the details and submit: Review the details you entered in the ITR form and ensure they are accurate. Once you are satisfied with the details, submit the form.
  8. E-verify the ITR: E-verify the ITR using Aadhaar OTP or Net Banking. If you cannot e-verify the ITR, you can download the ITR-V and mail it to the Income Tax Department’s CPC office within 120 days.

It is advisable to consult a tax expert or a chartered accountant if you are unsure about any of the above steps or have questions about your income tax return.

Documents required for e-filing income tax for NRIs

As an NRI (Non-Resident Indian), the documents required for e-filing income tax in India may vary depending on the type and amount of income earned in India. Here is a list of some of the documents that may be required:

  1. PAN (Permanent Account Number) Card: This is a unique identification number required for all taxpayers in India, including NRIs.
  2. Form 16/16A: This is a TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) certificate issued by the employer or the payer of the income, showing the tax deducted and deposited with the government.
  3. Bank Statement: This statement shows the transactions and balance in the NRI’s bank account in India.
  4. Form 26AS: This is a statement of all taxes deducted on behalf of the taxpayer and deposited with the government. NRIs can view this statement online through the income tax department’s website.
  5. Proof of Investment: NRIs may be eligible for certain deductions and exemptions under the Indian Income Tax Act if they have invested in specific schemes or products. The proof of investment may include documents like receipts, certificates, etc.
  6. Foreign Income Details: NRIs must disclose their foreign income details while filing their tax returns in India. This may include details of salary earned abroad, interest earned on foreign bank accounts, etc.
  7. Aadhaar Card (Optional): Aadhaar is a unique identification number issued by the Indian government. Though not mandatory, NRIs can link their Aadhaar card with their PAN card for faster tax return processing.

It is recommended that NRIs consult a tax professional or a CA (Chartered Accountant) for guidance on the exact documents required for e-filing income tax in India.

file income tax return online

Guidelines for E-filing Income Tax for NRIs

Important points to keep in mind while e-filing income tax for NRIs

Here are some important points to keep in mind while e-filing income tax for NRIs:

  1. Determine the Residential Status: NRIs must determine their residential status per the Indian Income Tax Act to ascertain their tax liability. NRIs’ tax liability depends on their residential status, which is determined based on the number of days they have spent in India during the financial year.
  2. Check Tax Liability: NRIs must also check if they have any tax liability in India. Tax liability is determined based on the income earned in India, and NRIs must pay tax on any income earned in India.
  3. File Tax Return: NRIs must file a tax return in India if their taxable income in India exceeds the specified limit. Filing a tax return helps claim any deductions and exemptions for which NRIs may be eligible.
  4. Use Appropriate ITR Form: NRIs must use the appropriate ITR form for filing income tax returns online based on their residential status, income, and income earned.
  5. Claim Deductions and Exemptions: NRIs are eligible for certain deductions and exemptions under the Indian Income Tax Act. NRIs must ensure they claim all the deductions and exemptions they are eligible for while filing their tax return.
  6. Verify Details: NRIs must ensure that all the details provided while filing their tax return are accurate and complete. It is recommended to verify the details before submitting the tax return.
  7. Pay Tax Due: NRIs must pay any tax due while filing their tax return. Any tax due can be paid online through the income tax department’s website.
  8. Keep Records: NRIs must keep records of all the documents submitted while filing their tax return. These records may be required in case of any tax audit or scrutiny by the income tax department.

It is advisable to seek the guidance of a tax professional or a CA while e-filing income tax for NRIs.

Consequences of non-compliance with income tax laws for NRIs

Non-compliance with income tax laws by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can result in various consequences, including financial penalties and legal proceedings. Here are some of the consequences of non-compliance with income tax laws for NRIs:

  • Penalty: Non-compliance with income tax laws can attract a penalty ranging from 50% to 200% of the tax amount due.
  • Interest: If an NRI fails to pay their income tax liability on time, they may be required to pay interest on the outstanding amount. The interest rate is currently set at 1% per month.
  • Prosecution: Non-compliance with income tax laws can also result in legal action being taken against an NRI. This could include prosecution and imprisonment.
  • Blacklisting: If an NRI is found to be non-compliant with income tax laws, they may be blacklisted by the government. This could impact their ability to do business in India or even visit the country.
  • Seizure of assets: The Indian government has the power to seize the assets of NRIs who are found to be non-compliant with income tax laws. This could include bank accounts, property, and investments.

It is important for NRIs to comply with income tax laws and file their income tax returns on time to avoid these consequences. Seeking professional advice from a tax consultant or chartered accountant can help you understand the tax laws and regulations applicable to NRIs.

Conclusion

To summarize, NRIs can file income tax returns in India by registering on the Income Tax Department’s e-filing website and submitting their returns online with the necessary documents. It is mandatory to have a PAN card and a valid bank account in India. NRIs should ensure compliance with Indian tax laws to avoid penalties and legal consequences. Availing of the services of a tax consultant or a CA can be helpful in ensuring the accurate and timely filing of tax returns.

Kanakkupillai is a team of experts with more than 10 years of market experience that provides various services related to accounting, taxation, and legal compliance for businesses and individuals. 

We can help NRIs e-filing their income tax returns in the following ways:

  • Consultation: Kanakkupillai provides consultation services to NRIs to understand their income tax liabilities and to ensure compliance with Indian tax laws.
  • PAN application: Kanakkupillai can assist NRIs in applying for a PAN card, which is mandatory for e-filing income tax returns in India.
  • Preparation and filing of tax returns: Kanakkupillai can help NRIs prepare and file their income tax returns by ensuring accurate computation of income, deductions, and exemptions.
  • Compliance with tax laws: Kanakkupillai can assist NRIs in complying with Indian tax laws and regulations to avoid penalties and legal consequences.

Kanakkupillai can provide end-to-end solutions to NRIs for e-filing their income tax returns and ensuring compliance with Indian tax laws.

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