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NRI Problems: Code of conduct for India's crypto entities

H.P. Ranina/Dubai
Filed on June 20, 2021
Leading cryptocurrency exchanges are setting up a board to implement a code of conduct.

(Reuters)

Audits, routine disclosures of company information and funding among dynamics in focus


My friends and I have decided to purchase a residential building in Pune, which we wish to rent out especially to young techies who are working in the IT sector in that area. However, we are worried about losing the property once it is let out in view of the old rent control laws. Is there any way to protect ourselves and ensure that the property reverts to us after the tenant vacates?

If the property is let out under the tenancy law, it would take years to get back vacant possession of the property considering the long-drawn litigation that would be involved. Therefore, you should not rent out the property on tenancy basis but it should be given on 11-month leave and licence basis whereby you can renew the licence at the expiry of each 11-month period, if you so wish. Of course, the agreement will have to be registered every time it is renewed but it is worth going through this hassle in order to protect the ownership right in your property.

A new model tenancy law is proposed. This, of course, will depend on each state government to adopt this model law. Under the proposed tenancy law, the agreements for tenancies would have to be submitted to the rent authority. The landlord cannot evict the tenant during the contract period, but thereafter the tenant would be required to vacate. If the tenant does not do so, the landlord would be entitled to compensation based on a formula prescribed by the government. However, it is advisable that you enter into a leave and licence agreement with the licencee even if the model tenancy law is legislated in future.

Since cryptocurrencies are gaining ground, are safeguards being put in place to make sure that there are no unhealthy business practices?

Leading cryptocurrency exchanges are setting up a board to implement a code of conduct. This is being done under the aegis of the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council. This code will be applicable to all member cryptocurrency exchanges.

It will include standardised annual audits, routine disclosures of company information and funding and improved data storage standards, as well as regular reassessment of customer risk profile. The board will liaison with regulatory and supervisory authorities, such as the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Reserve Bank of India, to identify suspicious transactions.

I have been working in the Gulf for the past few years. Most of my savings are invested in shares of Indian companies. I visit India frequently every year but I have been told to be cautious as I may have to pay tax in India even on my UAE income. Kindly advise me on precautions to be taken to avoid being taxed in India on my UAE income.

With effect from financial year 2020-21, if a citizen of India who is a non-resident earns taxable income in India exceeding Rs1.5 million in a financial year, he would be deemed to be a resident of India for tax purposes if he spends 120 days or more during the financial year in India.

It must be noted that dividends are now liable to tax in India in the hands of a shareholder under the head ‘Income from Other Sources’. Therefore, assuming that your dividend income in each financial year, together with any other Indian income like interest earned on bonds, debentures, etc, or rent from house property, exceeds Rs1.5 million, you should refrain from spending more than 119 days in India during a financial year. If you exceed this limit, you will be deemed to be a resident of India for tax purposes and, therefore, you will have to pay tax on the aggregate of the income earned in and outside India.

H.P. Ranina is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.





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