NRI Taxation: Tax Slab and Capital Gain Tax for NRIs in India

Read about Tax Rules, Slabs, and Exemptions for NRIs all in one place.
July 24, 2023
4
min read
nri_tax_in_india
Table of Contents
  1. Understanding NRI Tax in India
  2. Determining Residential Status for Tax Purposes
  3. Income Tax for NRIs
  4. Navigating Through NRI Tax Slabs
  5. Capital Gain Tax for NRIs: Short-Term vs Long-Term
  6. Filing Income Tax Return (ITR) for NRIs
  7. FAQs

As Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) chart their financial courses across international waters, the Indian taxation system folds in layers of intricacies that must be carefully navigated.

With residential status playing a pivotal role in determining tax liabilities, the Income Tax Act of India sketches out a distinct fiscal framework for NRIs. 

In this blog, we break down the tax slabs and explain capital gains taxes for NRIs, covering both short-term and long-term investments.

We'll help you determine what earnings are taxable and clarify the complexities of capital gains taxes in India. 

Understanding NRI Tax in India

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are subject to specific taxation rules in India.

These rules are based on the residential status of the individual, the type of income, and the source of income. By understanding these rules, NRIs can effectively manage their tax liabilities and ensure compliance with Indian tax laws.

Example: Consider Mr. Raj, an NRI living in the USA. He owns a property in India and earns a rental income of Rs 40,000 per month. This income is taxable in India, but his salary income earned in the USA is not.

Determining Residential Status for Tax Purposes

Understanding your residential status is crucial in navigating NRI taxation. Your status depends primarily on how many days you spend in India during a financial year.

  • Basic Rule: If you reside in India for more than 182 days in a financial year, you are considered a resident for tax purposes. Conversely, if you spend less than 182 days in India, you are classified as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI). Example: For the financial year 2022-23, if Mr. Raj lived in India for less than 182 days, he would not be considered an NRI for that year.
  • Reporting Changes: It's important to promptly update your residential status on the Income Tax Department’s website. As an NRI, you must declare your non-resident status as soon as you leave India for employment or other long-term purposes abroad. This ensures that your tax obligations are accurately reflected and helps avoid legal and financial complications.

Income Tax for NRIs: What's Taxable and What's Not?

As an NRI, you are only taxed on income earned or accrued in India. This includes income from salary if the services are rendered in India, income from house property located in India, capital gains on transfer of assets situated in India, and income from fixed deposits or savings accounts in Indian banks.

Example: If Mr. Raj sold a property located in India, the capital gains from this sale are taxable in India. However, if he sold a property in the USA, the capital gains from that sale would not be taxable in India.

Taxable Income for NRIs

  • Income Earned or Received in India: Salary, rental income, business income, capital gains from Indian assets, etc.
  • Income from Indian Assets: Interest income from fixed deposits, savings accounts, bonds, dividends from Indian companies, etc.
  • Rental Income: Rental income earned from properties in India
  • Capital Gains: Capital gains from the sale of assets in India

Non-taxable Income for NRIs 

  • Foreign Income: Income earned outside India 
  • NRE and FCNR Interest: Interest earned on FCNR and NRE accounts
  • Gifts and Inheritances: Gifts received from relatives or as inheritance 

Navigating Through NRI Tax Slabs

Here's a detailed comparison table outlining the taxable income for non-resident Indians (NRIs) in India:

NRI Income Range in India 

Tax Rate 

Upto 2.5 lakh

Nil

2.5 lakh to 5 lakh 

5%

5 lakh to 10 lakh 

10%

Above 10 lakh 

30%

The tax slabs indicate the applicable tax rates based on different income ranges for NRIs in India:

  • NRIs are subject to tax on income earned or received in India. Income earned outside India is generally not taxable in India.
  • The income ranges mentioned in the table are for general income, and different rates may apply to specific types of income, such as capital gains.
  • NRIs are not eligible for certain deductions available to resident taxpayers, such as standard and Chapter VI-A deductions.

Example: Consider an example of an NRI earning INR 7 lakh (7,00,000) during the financial year 2022-2023. According to the table, the NRI falls in the income range of 5 lakh - 10 lakh.

Hence, the applicable tax rate for this NRI would be 20%. The NRI would be required to pay tax on the income at this rate.

It's important to note that tax laws and rates can change over time, so it's advisable to consult a tax professional or refer to the latest tax laws and regulations for accurate and up-to-date information regarding tax slabs for NRIs in India.

Capital Gain Tax for NRIs: Short-Term vs Long-Term

Capital gains tax applies to NRIs when they sell property or investments in India. The tax rate depends on whether the gain is short-term (assets held for less than 24 months) or long-term (assets held for more than 24 months).

Short-Term Capital Gains

  • Holding Period: Up to 24 months
  • Tax Rate for NRIs: As per applicable income tax slabs
  • Example: An NRI sells a plot of land after 18 months and earns a profit.

Long-Term Capital Gains 

  • Holding Period: More than 24 months
  • Tax Rate for NRIs: 20% with indexation benefits
  • Example: An NRI sells a residential property after three years and earns a profit.

Capital gains arise when an NRI sells an asset such as land, property, or securities at a profit:

  • The tax treatment of capital gains for NRIs depends on the asset's holding period.
  • Short-term capital gains arise when the holding period is up to 24 months, while long-term capital gains arise when the holding period is more than 24 months.
  • Short-term capital gains for NRIs are taxed as per the applicable income tax slabs.
  • Long-term capital gains for NRIs are taxed at a flat rate of 20% with the benefit of indexation. Indexation adjusts the asset's purchase price for inflation, reducing the taxable capital gain. 
  • Long-term capital gains earned by NRIs are also subject to a TDS of 20%. NRIs can also claim exemption through 54EC (Capital Gain) Bonds.

Examples of Capital Gains for NRIs

Example of ‍Short-Term Capital Gains for NRIs

  • An NRI purchased a plot of land and sold it after 18 months, earning a profit of INR 5 lakh. 
  • Since the holding period is less than 24 months, it falls under the short-term capital gains category. 
  • The tax on short-term capital gains for NRIs will be calculated based on their applicable income tax slab rates.

Example of Long-Term Capital Gains for NRIs

  • An NRI purchased a residential property and sold it after three years, earning a profit of INR 50 lakh. 
  • Since the holding period exceeds 24 months, it falls under the long-term capital gains category. 
  • The tax rate for long-term capital gains for NRIs is 20%, with the benefit of indexation. Indexation adjusts the purchase price of the property to account for inflation, reducing the taxable capital gain.

Please note that the examples provided are for illustrative purposes, and the actual tax liability may vary based on various factors. It's advisable to consult a tax professional or refer to the latest tax laws and regulations for accurate and up-to-date information regarding capital gains tax for NRIs in India.

Filing Income Tax Return (ITR) for NRIs

NRIs are required to file an income tax return in India if their taxable income in India during the financial year exceeds the basic exemption limit of INR 2.5 lakhs.

The due date for filing the return is usually July 31 of the assessment year. Key things to consider:

  • Residential Status: NRIs need to determine their residential status as per the Income Tax Act. NRIs are generally classified as "Non-Resident" if they do not meet the criteria for "Resident" or "Not Ordinarily Resident" status. The residential status determines the scope of taxable income.
  • Taxable Income: NRIs are required to report and pay tax on income earned or received in India. This includes salary, rental income, business income, capital gains from the sale of assets in India, and any other income generated within India. Income earned outside India is generally not taxable in India.
  • Filing ITR: NRIs are required to file their income tax return in India if their total income in India exceeds the basic exemption limit (currently INR 2.5 lakh) or if they have to claim a refund for excess tax deducted at source (TDS). NRIs can file their ITR online or offline, depending on their preference and eligibility.‍

Let's consider two situation-based examples of filing ITR for NRIs:

Tax for NRI with Rental Income:

An NRI owns a property in India and earns a rental income of INR 6 lakh during the financial year. Since the rental income is earned in India, the NRI is required to file an income tax return, even if the NRI's total income is below the basic exemption limit.

The NRI reports the rental income in the ITR and pays tax on it as per the applicable tax slabs for NRIs.

Tax for NRI with Salary Income and TDS: 

An NRI worked in India for a few months and earned a salary of INR 4 lakh. The employer deducted TDS (tax deducted at source) from the salary. Even though the NRI's total income is below the basic exemption limit, the NRI is required to file an ITR to claim a refund for the excess TDS deducted.

The NRI would report the salary income and TDS details and claim the refund in the ITR.

Please note that the examples provided are for illustrative purposes, and the actual tax liability and filing requirements may vary based on individual circumstances. It's advisable to consult a tax professional or refer to the latest tax laws and regulations for accurate and up-to-date information regarding filing ITR for NRIs in India.

In Conclusion

Understanding NRI taxation can help you manage your tax liabilities and comply with the tax laws in India. It's always advisable to consult with a tax advisor or a chartered accountant to understand the nuances of NRI taxation.

FAQs

1. What is NRI taxation? 

NRI taxation refers to the tax rules applicable to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in India. NRIs are taxed only on the income earned or accrued in India.

2. What is the income tax rate for NRIs in India? 

The income tax rate for NRIs in India is the same as for resident Indians. However, NRIs are not eligible for certain exemptions and deductions available to residents.

3. What is the income tax slab for NRIs? 

The income tax slabs for NRIs are the same as for resident Indians. The tax slabs are subject to change in each Union Budget.

4. What is capital gain tax for NRIs? 

Capital gain tax for NRIs is the tax payable on the gains made from the sale of property or investments in India. The rate of tax depends on whether the gain is short-term or long-term.

5. What is the due date for filing ITR for NRIs? 

The due date for filing income tax return (ITR) for NRIs is usually July 31 of the assessment year.

6. Are NRIs subject to double taxation? 

NRIs may be subject to double taxation - paying tax on the same income in India and their country of residence. However, India has Double Tax Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with several countries to avoid such scenarios.

7. Can NRIs claim tax deductions in India? 

NRIs can claim certain tax deductions under the Income Tax Act, such as deductions under Section 80C for life insurance premium, contributions to provident fund, etc. However, certain deductions available to residents are not available to NRIs.

8. What is the basic exemption limit for NRIs? 

The basic exemption limit for NRIs is INR 2.5 lakhs. If an NRI's taxable income in India during the financial year exceeds this limit, they are required to file an income tax return in India.

9. Are NRIs taxed on their foreign income in India? 

NRIs are not taxed on their foreign income in India. They are only taxed on the income earned or accrued in India.

10. What happens if an NRI does not file an income tax return in India?

If an NRI does not file an income tax return in India and they have taxable income in India, they may be subject to penalties and legal proceedings.

11. Can NRIs file income tax returns online in India? 

Yes, NRIs can file their income tax return online in India using the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department.

12. What is the penalty for late filing of income tax return for NRIs? 

The penalty for late filing of income tax return for NRIs can range from INR 5,000 to INR 10,000, depending on the degree of delay.

13. Are NRIs eligible for standard deduction? 

No, NRIs are not eligible for the standard deduction, which is available to resident individuals.

14. Do NRIs have to pay advance tax in India? 

Yes, if an NRI's tax liability in India exceeds INR 10,000 in a financial year, they are required to pay advance tax.

15.Can NRIs claim refund of the tax deducted at source (TDS)? 

Yes, if the tax deducted at source (TDS) is more than the tax liability of the NRI, they can claim a refund by filing an income tax return.

16. What is the tax rate on short-term capital gains for NRIs? 

The tax rate on short-term capital gains for NRIs is 15% if the asset is held for less than 24 months.

17. What is the tax rate on long-term capital gains for NRIs? 

The tax rate on long-term capital gains for NRIs is 10% if the asset is held for more than 24 months and the gains exceed INR 1 lakh.

18. Are NRIs taxed on interest income from NRE and FCNR accounts? 

No, interest income from NRE and FCNR accounts is tax-free in India for NRIs.

19. Are NRIs taxed on interest income from NRO accounts? 

Yes, interest income from NRO accounts is taxable for NRIs.

20. Can NRIs take advantage of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)? 

Yes, NRIs can take advantage of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and the country of their residence to avoid being taxed twice on the same income.

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