The changes in the NRI norms in India 2020, resulting in higher tax liability

The changes in the NRI norms in India 2020, resulting in higher tax liability

The changes in the NRI norms in India 2020, resulting in higher tax liability

The novel coronavirus has been spreading across the world very rapidly making millions and millions of people sick. To put a brake on the speedily spreading coronavirus, domestic and international flights had been stopped on an interim basis by the Indian Government. As a result, many NRIs who had visited India had to extend their stay in India till the restrictions on flights are lifted.This extension in the stay of the NRIs and the foreigners in India due to the pandemic COVID-19 might lead to an increase in their tax liabilities. Non-resident Indians may be stuck in the country due to the restrictions imposed on travel, illnesses, or restrictions being imposed by the other countries. This extended stay can cause higher tax incidence if the stay exceeds the prescribed thresholds unless specific exemptions are provided by the Government to reduce the extra tax liabilities. In simple terms, the extended-stay by an NRI in India can bring him into the Indian income tax fold. 

The taxation regime

According to the Income Tax Law, a person can be classified as a resident or a non-resident of India based upon his duration of stay in the country during a financial year. 

  1. An NRI who is visiting India becomes a resident of India if he stays in India for 182 days or more in a financial year along with a stay of 365 days or more in four preceding years. This criterion applies to an NRI who is either a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin.
  2. However, according to the latest Finance Act, 2020 there have been certain amendments made to the tax residence criteria. From the Financial year 2020-21, the threshold for the period of stay for an NRI staying in India has been reduced to 120 days from 182 days. 
  3. So, an NRI can become a tax resident with a minimum of 120 days stay only if the NRI is earning above Rs. 15 lakhs in a particular financial year. In this case, the NRI would be taxed on his global income
  4. However, the threshold of 120 days does not apply for those NRIs who have an Indian income of less than Rs. 15 lakhs and would become a resident only on a stay of 182 days in India.
  5. The Indian Income Tax Law does not differentiate between the voluntary or involuntary stay of an NRI in India for the determination of his residence for taxation. NRIs staying in India beyond their prescribed thresholds would attract tax liability even if they wanted to leave India.

Extension of lockdown and implications of being a tax resident

Due to the ongoing lockdown and non-resumption of International flights, an NRI would be taxable on his Indian income. NRIs would also face problems related to dual tax residency or citizenship. However, an NRI who became a tax resident of India is not liable to file his tax returns in India immediately. The process of taxation would need an evaluation on a case-to-case basis.

An NRI who has a taxable income in India above the basic limit of exemption i.e. Rs. 2.5 lakhs should file an income tax return in India. NRIs becoming tax residents of India might also face other problems such as taxability of the interest on their NRE accounts. Moreover, there might be changes in the TDS rates on their Indian income. 

However, the Government of India might give some clarification on the matter related to the tax residency of the NRIs who have been bound to stay longer in India due to the current COVID-19 situations.  The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has recommended for some exemptions in the threshold limits related to the tax residency of NRIs. However, there has been notification on this but the Government might issue relaxation on this.

If there are no relaxations from the Indian Government, then the NRIs will have to file income tax returns in India. But, the NRIs need not pay any tax in case of the absence of an income in India. Also, they do not need to pay any tax on their foreign income in India.


Hence, it is important for the NRIs who have been held up in India due to the lockdown to consult about the impact of the new regulations related to tax residency rules in India. They must understand the rules and fulfill the compliances if applicable in their case.


Buying a property in India? Here’s all you need to know about taxation norms

Buying a property in India? Here’s all you need to know about taxation norms

Buying a property in India? Here’s all you need to know about taxation norms

Whether you have bought a property in India or are planning to buy one, here all you need to know about taxation norms, it is quintessential that you are aware of the tax implications. This will help you plan your taxes and make the most of the available tax breaks. And most importantly, it will keep you away from surprises which might burn a hole in your pockets.

Property Taxes in India

In simple terms, any taxes that you must pay for your property would be tagged as property taxes. Primarily there are two types of property taxes in India,

  • Maintenance Taxes
  • Sales Taxes

Buying Property in India

Before you can proceed with buying a property in India, you must be aware of the eligibility criteria. There are no restrictions when it comes to buying a property for resident Indians. Indian nationals or people with Indian origin can buy property in India even if they live abroad. However, you cannot buy a property if you have moved to Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

If you are neither a resident of India nor Indian, you cannot buy a property in the country. To be a legal resident, you must have spent at least 183 days in a financial year.

Who Must Pay Property Taxes?

A buyer of the property would end up paying most of the taxes in the form of sales tax. And if you are selling a property, you would be entitled to pay any capital gains taxes. And the owner of a property is responsible for paying out any maintenance taxes applicable.

Types Of Property Taxes

Here are the different types of property taxes that one must bear during ownership.

  1. Sales Tax

The sales tax comes into the picture while both buying or selling a property. And the tax collected is used for the following purposes.

  • Registration charges
    • The buyer of the property must pay the registration charges in front of a registration officer. The registration charges are set by the respective states and are usually at 1%.
  • TDS
    • TDS or Tax Deducted at Source comes into the picture when the property transactions qualify to be ofhigher value. The TDS must be paid by the buyer of the property and is applicable for transactions that exceed INR 50 lakhs. The buyer must deduct the TDS from the total transaction value and submit the same to the income tax department.
  • Service Tax for properties that are under construction
    • For properties that are under construction, you might have to pay service taxes. The central government is responsible for these taxes and not the local authorities. The charges are usually 3.75% to 4.5% of the total property value.
  • Capital gains tax
    • If you sell a property and make profits in the transaction, you are liable to pay capital gains tax on the same. Properties held for 2 years, long term capital gains are applicable and the properties which are held for a lesser duration, qualify for short term capital gains tax. Currently, the short term capital gains tax is at 15% and long term capital gains tax is at 20%.
  • Stamp duty
    • The Stamp duty charges are paid to the state government and depend on a variety of factors such as the location of the property, the property, its age, etc. The stamp duty charges vary depending on the state and can range between 35 to 10%.

Being aware of the above property tax types will help you plan your taxes and take appropriate actions so that you are not caught off guard.


What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

There can be an array of reasons for taxpayers not to file their taxes in the US. For starters, an individual might not have filed their taxes because they cannot pay their taxes. Or the more common reason is that individuals get consumed with life and work and cannot get things aligned to be able to file their taxes on time.

Irrespective of what your reason maybe, it is essential that you file your taxes at the earliest. Simply because non-filing of taxes is a serious issue for the IRS. There are three straightforward outcomes when it comes to filing your taxes. Firstly, you do not owe any taxes to the government. Secondly, the government owes you tax refunds and thirdly, you owe taxes to the government.

While the first and second scenarios are still easy to live by, the third one can take a hefty toll on you. In the event that you owe taxes to the government, you are liable to pay fines and penalties on the top of the taxes that you are liable to pay. And things can get ugly, quite fast.

File your Tax Returns

For individuals who have not yet filed their taxes, they must start immediately. The first question that will come to your mind is, for how many years should I file my taxes. As per the IRS guidelines, you must file your taxes for at least 6 years to establish a good understanding with the IRS.

If there are any changes to the same, the IRS management will have to approve of the same. Depending on the situation, the IRS management can ask you for tax returns exceeding 6 years as well. Here are some of the common reasons for the same.

  • If there are relatively larger tax bills on your past filings. The absence of any withholdings for large wages, property taxes or Form 1099-Misc is red flags for the same.
  • The IRS would most probably do additional scrutiny if any businesses are involved since the possibility of non-compliance is higher.

Tips For Filing your Taxes

Citizens who have not filed their taxes and wish to do so, here are some tips that will help you get through.

  • It is essential to get a confirmation whether the IRS needs 6 years of taxes or beyond. You can either call the IRS to find out the same or reach out to a tax consultant for the same.
  • One more reason to file your taxes at the earliest is that the IRS will not pay older tax refunds. As per the IRS guidelines, it will pay refunds up to a maximum of 3 years from the date of filing. Thus, you might lose any refunds even if they are valid.
  • There is a good possibility that you might have to pay hefty fines on your taxes. The failure to pay and failure to file penalties can accrue up to 47.5% of your liable taxes.
  • The IRS usually starts a process called the substitute for return, if the due date exceeds three years. When you file your taxes, the IRS will compare your returns with the SFR (substitute for return). And this can be time consuming, sometimes these cases might take up to four months.
  • In the event you cannot pay your liable taxes, it is recommended that you reach out to the IRS and ask for an agreement. Depending on your needs, there are several typesof agreements that you can opt for.

Irrespective of your reasons, if you haven’t filed your returns, you must initiate the same at the earliest to minimize its impacts.


Is lottery/gambling winnings taxed for an NRI in the US?

Is lottery/gambling winnings taxed for an NRI in the US?

Is lottery/gambling winnings taxed for an NRI in the US?

It is hope that gets us to buy another lottery ticket or head out to a casino. Is Lottery taxes for an NRI in the US The hope that we might win the next lottery or hit the jackpot. If you have won either of them, first of all,congratulations. Before you start planning how to spend the amount, here is something that you must consider, taxes. The winning amount is taxable,but you choose how you wish to get the winning amount.

You can either opt for a lump-sum payout or as an annuity. Taxpayers usually have 60 days to decide the method and it has an impact on the taxes that you must pay to the IRS. If you have not won a lottery or winnings, it still might be a good idea to be aware of the tax implications. Here is all that you need to know.

Lump-Sum or Annuity?

Each method has its pros and cons. Should you opt for the payout as an annuity, you will be placed in a lower tax bracket and a fewer amount of taxes. The only caveat being, the taxes might go up in the future since you do not have any control over it. If the winning is relatively lower, you can opt for the annuity method.

Taxpayers who have won millions, taking the payout as a lump sum is a better option. While it might take a decent chunk of your winnings, you still getthe remaining money at a single shot. If you opt for an annuity, the lottery will pay only 4.5% of the total earnings per year. It will take a long time to recover the entire amount. It is recommended that taxpayers who take the lump sum reach out to a financial advisor to help them with the winnings. Putting the winnings at the right places will ensure you do not spend a lot of it rather earn more from it.

Taxes on Both the Methods

Should you go ahead with a lump sum payout, 25% of the total earning is withheld before making the payment to you. This amount is not the actual taxes that you owe to the government. Once you file Form W-2G, your total liable taxes will be calculated. And you will get to know the total taxes that you owe to the government in April.

And for the annuity method, each installment is taxed as they are handed over to you. Similar to lump sum payout, this is not the actual amount of taxes. Only when you file your Form W-2G, you will get to know the total amount of taxes that you owe to the government.

Depending on the state that you live in, you might have to pay state taxes as well. You must only pay federal taxes and no state taxes if you live in Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Alaska, New Hampshire, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Pennsylvania or Washington.

Minimize Your Tax liabilities

There are a couple of steps that you can take to reduce your tax liability when it comes to earnings from a lottery or gambling. For starters, you can donate some of your earnings to charity. You can then itemize your deductions and reduce your liability.

Alternatively, you can gift a portion of the earning to friends and family. As per the law, you can gift up to $15,000 per person before the gift taxes come into the picture. And lastly, you can create a trust and put your money in it, which will reduce estate taxes should anything happen to you.

Knowing the tax liability for lottery or gambling will ensure that you do not get a surprise in April during the filing of taxes. Being aware will help you better plan your taxes.


Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Step by Step process to pay off your Income Tax Bill

Discovering that you owe a lot more taxes to the IRS than you can afford can be a very concerning situation. To find out that you do not have any tax refunds is bad enough and if you must pay additional taxes to the IRS, it is pretty much the worst nightmare.However, such a predicament is not the end of the road or the world. You can pay off your income tax bill by following a few simple steps, without taking a lot of stress.

  • Your Tax Liability

Knowing the amount of taxes that you are liable to pay to the IRS is the very first step. Before you submit your tax returns during the tax season, it is essential that you go through your returns more than once. A little bit of scrutiny here can save you from a lot of pain. It is quite common to forget a deduction or accidentally add the same item twice.

Forgetting a checkbox or a question can at times turn out to be expensive in this matter. Thus, cross-check your return thoroughly before clicking on the submit button. You can compare your current return with that of the previous year to see if there are any major changes. This holds good if there hasn’t been a dramatic change in your tax situation.

And if the IRS sends you a letter for tax dues, do not jump to any conclusions immediately. There is a probability that it might be wrong. If you feel so, you can ask them for clarification.

  • Minimize any penalties or interest

Penalties and interest can worsen the already grim situation. If you have a large tax bill to pay off, interest or penalties can bloat this number. Fortunately, you can minimize them using any of the following methods.

  • Underpayment Exception

There might be a situation where you underpaid your taxes this year but had paid your taxes accurately the previous year. If the taxes of the previous year were considerably lower and you paid your current taxes by the due date, you don’t have to pay penalty on your underpayment of taxes.

  • Pay ASAP

Should you owe any taxes to the government and you do not see a way out, paying it off at the earliest is your best bet. Even if you do not pay the entire amount, pay off as much as you can.

  • Abatement of Penalties

The IRS is known to reduce or even remove the penalties on a taxpayer if they write a letter to the IRS and make them aware of the situation. Do not forget to ask for an abatement in your letter to the IRS.

  • Installment Agreement Request

If there is no other way for you to pay the taxes, you can file Form 9465, which is Installment Agreement Request. You are essentially setting up an installment of your tax liabilities. And filing the form online will prevent you from paying the payment user fee. The installment is applicable if:

  1. The taxes you owe are less than $10,000.
  2. A taxpayer can prove that they are unable to pay the dues.
  3. A taxpayer can pay the taxes within 3 years.
  • Compromise

You can negotiate with the IRS for Offer In Compromise (OIC). In this method, you must offer as much as your net worth is. An OIC resembles bankruptcy in a lot of ways and must only be considered if there is absolutely no other way.

The above steps will help you pay off your income tax bill to the IRS. It is important not to panic and look for a solution if you owe taxes to the IRS.




Top 10 Tax Refund Takeaways From 2019

Top 10 Tax Refund Takeaways From 2019

Top 10 Tax Refund Takeaways From 2019

As winters approach, Tax Refund Takeaways 2019, taxpayers across the country have even less time to plan for their taxes. In no time Spring will be looming and you do not want to be caught in the crosswinds. This festival season, you can set aside some of your time and plan for your taxes, if you haven’t already done this. It is to ensure that your tax liability is low and that you have a better chance at a higher tax refund. Here are the top 10 takeaways considering the proposed changes in taxes in 2019.

1.401(k) and HSA

You can contribute towards traditional IRAs up to the 15th of April of next year. However, you will miss out on the provisions for 401(k) and Health Savings Account if you do not make any contributions till the 31st of December. Taxpayers can deductions up to $7,000 for contributions towards health insurance plans.

2.Delay Your Mutual Fund Purchase

If you wish to buy mutual funds during this time of the year, you might want to rethink the decision. Especially if you want to hold them in a taxable account. The problem with buying at this time is that you would have to pay taxes on the year end dividends. This is applicable even if you just purchased the shares.

3.Capital Loss Harvesting

Should you own any stocks that are at a loss, you can sell them and deduct up to $3,000 on the federal taxes that you owe. The only thing that you need to be careful about is that you do not violate the wash-sale rule. According to the rule, you cannot purchase the exact same stock or something substantially similar within 30 days of selling the stocks.

4.Opportunity Funds

You have the option to defer paying capital gains tax if you choose to reinvest in Qualified Opportunity Funds. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought the Opportunity Funds into existence. The fund aims at creating jobs and opportunities in communities that are distressed.


On reaching the age of 70 ½ years, senior citizens must take minimum distribution if they have 401(k) or IRA. If you do not need the amount for living, you can send it to a charity. Essentially it is a check issued by the IRA to the charity.

6.Traditional To Roth IRA

Any amount that you withdraw on retirement from a traditional IRAs taxable but any distribution from Roth IRA is fax-free. Roth IRAs also do not have minimum requirements, which can be beneficial to reduce your taxes. You can convert your traditional IRA to Roth IRA, but you need to be cognizant of the fact that the converted amount can be taxed.

7.Opt For Capital Gains Tax

If you belong to the 10% or 12% tax bracket, you can consider selling your stocks that are in green. You can sell stocks that have seen significant appreciation as you do not have to pay any capital gain taxes for the mentioned brackets.


You can club your charitable contributions together for more effective tax planning. You can club your contributions for two years and file in a single year. This will allow you to claim itemized deductions for alternate years.

9.Flexible Spending Account

You cannot carry forward any balance that is in a flexible spending account. It might be a good idea to put the amount to use before it expires.

10.Tax Advisor Services

To maximize your tax refunds, reaching out to tax advisor might be a good idea. And the earlier you meet, the better chances you have of getting a good advisor and good refunds.

Knowing the basics of taxation and ways to reduce liability is helpful in the long run and something that all tax payers must be aware of.