Income tax returns: India issues clarification for NRIs
NRIs will not have to give details of their bank accounts held outside the country
Non-resident Indians are not required to give details of their bank accounts held outside the country while filing their income tax returns, if they are not seeking refunds, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body for the income tax department, said.
In a statement seeking to address the widespread concerns and confusions among the NRIs regarding the additional information to be provided while filing the Income Tax Returns for the assessment year 2017-2018, the CBDT said providing details of foreign bank accounts is not mandatory but optional.
"It is optional for cases where refund is sought," CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra was quoted as saying.
The department's top boss said this when asked to clarify if it was mandatory for NRIs to provide the details of their foreign bank accounts in certain return forms like the ITR-2.
Chandra said that column in the income tax returns (ITRs) is to be filed in "only one condition, that is, if the NRIs are seeking a refund.
The CBDT brought out new ITRs on 31 March this year and a newly introduced column in the ITR-2 seeks "details of foreign bank accounts held (including any beneficial interest) at any time during the previous year" from the assessee or the filer.
Manu Nair, CEO, Emirates Chartered Accountants Group, said till last year, NRI assesse has to provide only the details of the bank accounts he is operating in India in the ITR. But from the current assessment year onwards such assesse has to provide their overseas bank account details as well if they seek refunds.
"In such cases, NRIs need to give the name of the bank in overseas, bank account number, IBAN / SWIFT code and the country in which the bank account is opened. The ITR form shows an option to submit the details of all the bank accounts they are holding in overseas. Expatriates take this as one of the biggest challenges and is a concern for them. "
Nair said as of now the residents in India have to submit the details of their all overseas assets also through the income tax return. But this requirement is not applicable for expatriates.
If NRIs' taxable income in India is more than Rs250,000 for the financial year 2016-17, they also should file the ITR on or before 31st July 2017. "Such taxable income includes the income from property, and interest. However, the nonresidents have to neither to pay tax on his overseas income nor to disclose the details of his overseas income in the tax return. The returns are to be filed in online through e-filing option. The physical presence in India is not necessary for filing the income tax return."
There have been complaints that the NRIs who do not have taxable income in India also receive email notification to submit their ITR. Allaying such fears, a tax experts said such emails are generated based on the information available from the PAN account number.
"If one doesn't have taxable income more than Rs250,000 in India, such nonresident need not submit the income tax return. However, if the tax has already been deducted from his income (called TDS/ Tax Deducted at Source), though his income does not exceed Rs250,000, such person has to submit the income tax return to get the refund," said Nair.