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NRIs' Guide to Indian Taxes & Foreign Tax Credits

Unlocking the Complexities of Tax Relief and Credits for Non-Resident Indians
min read
February 3, 2024

Taxation poses a complex yet critical aspect of financial planning for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), particularly in the context of global income and the potential for double taxation. The interplay of different tax jurisdictions can often lead to income being taxed both in the country where it is earned and in India. To alleviate such tax burdens, the Indian government offers relief through Foreign Tax Credits (FTC), which allow taxpayers, including NRIs, to offset taxes paid abroad against their Indian tax liabilities. This in-depth guide is designed to provide clarity on how NRIs can leverage the FTC provisions under the Indian tax regime for efficient and legally compliant tax planning.

Understanding the Concept of Foreign Tax Credit (FTC)

The FTC is an essential feature of tax systems around the world, designed to protect against the adverse effects of double taxation. For NRIs, understanding the nuances of FTCs is imperative. An FTC essentially acts as a rebate on the taxes paid to a foreign country, which can then be used to reduce the tax liability in India on the same income. This mechanism ensures that the taxpayer does not pay more than the higher of the two tax rates applied to their foreign earnings.

Criteria for Availing FTC for NRIs

The eligibility to claim an FTC is contingent upon several factors. Firstly, the taxpayer must have earned income outside of India which is also subject to tax in India. Moreover, this income must have been taxed in the foreign country and the NRI should have either paid or accrued the said tax. The FTC can only be claimed for the amount of tax that has been paid or is payable in the foreign country, and not for penalties or interest on overdue taxes.

The documentation required for claiming an FTC includes a tax payment certificate or proof of tax deducted at source from the foreign country, as well as Form 67 that must be filed before the due date of filing the income tax return in India. It is crucial to maintain detailed records and to understand the specifications of tax treaties between India and the country in question, if any.

How to Claim FTC on Your Indian Tax Returns

Claiming an FTC on an Indian tax return involves a series of procedural steps that must be carefully followed:

  1. Filling and Filing Form 67: This form is necessary for the calculation of the FTC and shall be filed electronically. Form 67 requires details such as the type of income, the amount of tax paid in the foreign country, the nature of the foreign tax credit, and so on. This must be completed prior to submitting your tax return.
  2. Disclosing Foreign Income: On your income tax return, you must explicitly state your foreign income and disclose the taxes paid on it. Proper disclosure ensures transparency and simplifies the process for tax authorities to grant the FTC.
  3. Income Tax Return: Once Form 67 has been successfully filed, you should proceed with the regular filing of your income tax return, ensuring to include in it the information pertaining to your foreign income and the taxes paid abroad.

Leveraging Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)

India has Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with numerous countries to streamline the process of claiming tax relief on income earned internationally. These agreements outline the scope of incomes covered, the method of eliminating double taxation (either exemption or credit), and special provisions pertaining to specific types of income.

Strategic Considerations

It is imperative for NRIs to plan their tax payments and filings while considering the specific DTAA provisions that apply to their situation. In cases where the DTAA provides for a lower tax rate on certain incomes, it is beneficial to apply that rate and compute the FTC accordingly.

Strategic tax planning becomes more nuanced in light of the GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Rule) provisions in India. Taxpayers need to ensure that, while optimizing tax payments, all transactions are within the framework of legal compliance and do not fall under the purview of tax avoidance schemes.

Recent Changes and Impact on FTC

Indian tax laws are subject to change, and these amendments can significantly affect the existing tax relief measures for NRIs. Recent tax reform initiatives that modify the tax brackets, rates, or introduce new compliances can alter the landscape of how FTC is claimed and utilized. Staying informed about these changes is critical for NRIs to maintain compliance and optimize their tax relief benefits effectively.


Understanding and utilizing FTC can substantially mitigate the tax burden for NRIs, especially in the face of complex global tax implications. By following the prescribed procedures, maintaining accurate records, and staying abreast of the latest changes in tax treaties and domestic laws, NRIs can navigate the Indian tax system to their advantage, ensuring compliance and financial efficiency in managing their global income.

For NRIs looking to maneuver through the intricacies of India’s tax system with regards to foreign tax credits, it is important to understand current legislation, available case studies, and seek expert insights. The Income Tax Act of India provides a clear framework for claiming foreign tax credits that NRIs should familiarize themselves with. Analyzing past case studies can offer practical perspectives on how to address common challenges and benefit from available tax credits.

Experts in the field also play a pivotal role, as they offer strategic guidance that aligns with ever-changing tax laws and treaties. Their insights on leveraging foreign tax credits can significantly benefit NRIs managing overseas incomes. Consulting with a tax professional who understands both domestic and international tax systems will help NRIs to optimize their tax positions and make informed decisions.

Finally, awareness and adherence to the latest amendments in tax regulations are crucial to ensure eligibility for foreign tax credits. Staying informed helps NRIs take timely action, thereby avoiding penalties and making the most of the available tax relief measures. With a proactive approach to tax planning and a solid understanding of Indian taxation for NRIs, foreign tax credits can provide significant financial benefits and contribute to efficient tax management on a global scale.

FAQs related to Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs

1. What are 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs'?

'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' allow Non-Resident Indians to reduce their tax liability in India by claiming credits for taxes paid in their country of residence. This system aims to prevent double taxation on the same income, providing significant relief for NRIs managing cross-border finances.

2. How do NRIs claim Foreign Tax Credits in India?

To claim 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs', individuals must file their Indian tax returns, provide proof of income earned abroad and taxes paid on that income. This documentation is essential to accurately calculate the credit and ensure compliance with Indian tax laws.

3. Are all NRIs eligible for Foreign Tax Credits?

Eligibility for 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' depends on the tax treaty between India and the NRI's country of residence. NRIs in countries with a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with India can avail of these credits.

4. What types of foreign income qualify for these tax credits?

'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' can be claimed on various types of income, including employment income, business profits, and investment earnings, as long as they are taxable in both India and the foreign country.

5. Can NRIs carry forward unused foreign tax credits?

Unused 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' can be carried forward for a set number of years. This provision allows NRIs to offset future tax liabilities in India, making financial planning more flexible.

6. How do exchange rates impact Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs?

When calculating 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs', the exchange rate plays a crucial role. The foreign income and taxes paid must be converted to Indian Rupees using the RBI-prescribed rate on the date of payment.

7. What documents do NRIs need to claim these credits?

To claim 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs', NRIs need to submit tax return forms, proof of income, tax payment receipts, and a certificate of residence from the foreign country's tax authority.

8. How does India's DTAA affect Foreign Tax Credits?

India's DTAA agreements directly impact 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs'. These treaties outline the types of income eligible for tax credits and the methods for calculating them, ensuring fair taxation for NRIs.

9. Are there any limitations on claiming Foreign Tax Credits?

The amount of 'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' claimed cannot exceed the Indian tax liability on the foreign income. This limitation ensures that credits are only used to negate double taxation and not to generate a tax refund.

10. Can NRIs claim tax credits for taxes paid on global income?

'Foreign Tax Credits for NRIs' can be claimed on taxes paid on global income that is also taxable in India, adhering to the provisions of the DTAA and the Indian Income Tax Act.

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Aayush is a strategic growth marketer with over 6 years of experience working in the US and European markets for various financial services companies. He has a proven track record of success in helping businesses grow, increase revenue, and improve marketing strategies.

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