Filing ITR for NRIs: Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating through the ITR process might seem overwhelming, especially for NRIs earning income both in and outside India. As per SBNRI's survey, 73% of NRIs from the USA, UK, and Canada are trying to file ITR. Filing ITR for NRIs includes managing your tax liabilities in your current country of residence and India. Don’t worry, this step-by-step guide will simplify the process for you. Sit back and go through each point carefully to fulfill your tax obligations.

Let’s get started…

NRIs/PIOs/OCIs must file an ITR in India if their total annual income is more than 2.5 lakhs as per the old tax regime or 3 lakhs as per the new tax regime. Here’s everything you need to know before filing an ITR.

The primary step is to confirm your residential status. As per the Income Tax Act 1961 guidelines, you are an NRI if:

1. You have stayed in India for less than 182 days during the financial year.
2. Or, You have stayed in India for less than 365 days during the preceding four years and less than 60 days in the relevant financial year.
If you visit India during the year, the 60-day rule mentioned in point 2 will be replaced by 182 days. The same is applicable if you leave India as a crew member or for employment.
Finance Act 2020 Updates:
The 60-day rule mentioned in point 2 changes to 120 days for Indian citizens or people of Indian origin with an income of 15 lakh excluding foreign income. It also states that if an Indian citizen earns more than ₹15 lakh (excluding foreign income) and is not taxed in any other country, they will be considered a Resident in India.

Form 26AS is an annual tax credit statement that holds information such as tax deducted at the source, tax collected at the source, etc. You can easily view/download Form 26AS on the income tax portal to analyze your financial activities.

In this step, you have to determine your tax liability on your income earned in India. The income includes salary, interest from FDs and bank accounts, rental income.

NRIs will have to pay tax in India for capital gains earned from stocks, mutual funds, etc. The tax rate depends on the type of instrument and the duration of the investment.

While filing your taxable income, you can also opt for various deductions with your tax-saving instruments. For example, you can claim a deduction of up to 1.5 lakhs under section 80C of the IT act against ELSS mutual funds, Tax Saver FD, Public Provident Fund account, etc. You can invest in various tax-saving instruments to reduce your taxable income in a current financial year.

This is a very crucial step while filing ITR for NRIs. Depending on your residential status, you are obliged to pay tax in India on global income. Fortunately, India has signed a treaty with more than 85 countries to help NRIs avoid paying double taxation.

The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) offers three methods:

1. Get tax credit against the tax paid in the resident country and claim it in India while filing ITR.
2. Certain types of income are eligible for exemptions. You can obtain a Tax Residence Certificate to qualify for the exemption.
3. You can also opt for the deduction method which allows you to deduct taxes paid in the foreign country.

Individuals with NRI status must fill out either an ITR-2 or ITR-3 form.

ITR-2 is applicable for residents or NRIs not having income under the head Profits and Gains of Business or Profession.

ITR-3 is applicable for residents or NRIs who have income under the headings of profits and gains of business or profession.

Make sure you fill out accurate details of your income and exemptions. Refer to the in-detail manual of filing ITR provided by the income tax portal.

You must provide a bank account to receive a tax refund (if any). You can either provide an Indian bank account or a foreign bank account as per your situation.

You are required to declare all your assets (movable and immovable) and liabilities if your total earnings exceed INR. 50 lakhs. In this step of ITR filing for NRIs, you must report all your assets and liabilities.

After a roller coaster of filing ITR, you can upload your NRI income tax return. Cross-check all the information before submitting the form. Make sure to verify the form within 120 days. Please note that your ITR will be marked as invalid if you fail to verify it within 120 days.

1. Passport to prove the duration of your stay in and outside India.
2. Overseas employment contract (if any).
3. All your financial statements, including your investments.
4. Form 26AS for annual tax statements.
5. TDS certificates.

Filing ITR for NRIs isn’t as confusing as it appears. By following the above-mentioned steps, you can easily fill out the ITR form. Keeping your documents in handy will ease the process. Make sure you fill in accurate details. With the help of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, it has become easier for NRIs to invest in Indian markets.

Explore the top 5 investment avenues in India for NRIs.