Hassle Free Loan Tips for NRIs

Hassle Free Loan Tips for NRIs

NRI/PIO/OCI Definitions and General Guidelines

Q1. Who is a Non Resident Indian (NRI)?

Non Resident Indian (NRI) is a citizen of India, who stays abroad for employment/carrying on business or vocation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intension for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is a non-resident. Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian origin are treated at par with Non Resident Indian (NRIs).

Q2. Who can purchase immovable property in India?

Under the general permission granted by RBI, the following categories can purchase immovable property in India:

a)    Non-Resident Indian (NRI) – i.e a citizen of India residing out side India.

b)    Person of Indian Origin – i.e an individual (not being a citizen of Pakistan , Bangladesh , Sri Lanka , Afghanistan , China ,Iran , Nepal , Bhutan), who

(i)            at any time, held Indian passport or

(ii)          who or either of whose father or whose grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955).

c)     Overseas citizen of India (OCI) can purchase immovable property in India except agricultural land/plantation property/farm house.

The general permission , however covers only purchase of residential and commercial property and not for purchase of agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India.

Tax on income from immovable property selling / renting

Q1. What is the Tax treatment for income generated from property selling or renting for NRI/PIO/OCI?

The mere acquisition of property does not attract income tax. However, any income accuring from the ownership of it, in the form of rent(if it is let out)/annual value of the house(if it is not let out & it is not the only residential property owned by that person in India) & / or capital gains (short term or long term) arising on the sale of this house or part thereof is taxable in the hands of the owner.

Q2. Do NRI/PIO/OCI have to file return in India for their property rental income & Capital Gains Tax?

The government of India has granted the general permission for NRI/PIO/OCI to buy property in India & they do not have to pay any taxes even while acquiring property in India. However, taxes have to be payed if they are selling this property. Rental income earned is taxable in India, & they   will have to obtain a PANcard& file return of income if they have rented this property. On sale of they property, the profit on sale shall be subject to capital gains. If they have held the property for less than or equal to 3 years after taking actual possession then the gains would be short term capital gains, which are to be included in their total income as tax as per the normal slab rates shall be payable & if the property has held for more than 3years then the resultant gain would be long term capital gains subject to 20% tax plus applicable cess.

Q3. How does the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement work in the context of tax on income and Capital Gains tax paid in India by NRI?

India has DTAA’s with several countries which give a favourable tax treatment in respect of certain heads of income. However, in case of sale of immovable property, the DTAA with most countries provide that the capital gains will be taxed in the country where the immovable property is situated. Hence, the non-resident will be subject to tax in India on the capital gains which arise on the sale of immoveable property in India. Letting of immoveable property in India would be taxed in India under most tax treaties in view of the fact that the property is situated in India. Information on countries having DTAA with India and other relevant details can be obtained on www.incometaxindia.gov.in


Capital Gains Tax On NRI/PIO/OCI

Q1. Does Capital Gains Tax (CGT) apply to NRI/PIO/OCI ?

YES, Long-term and Short-term capital gains are taxable in the hands of non-residents.

Q2. How is Rate of CGT computed?

Type of asset: Assets like house property, land and building, jewellery, development rights etc.

Rate of tax deduction at source (TDS)

Long term, Short term

Exemption Available (only for long term capital gains)

The long term capital gains arising on sale of a residential house can be invested in buying/constructing another residential house, within the prescribed time. The Exemption is restricted to the amount of capital gains or amount invested in new residential house, whichever is lower.

If the amount of capital gains is invested in bonds of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) or Rural Electrification Corporation , then the entire capital gains is exempted, else the proportionate gain is exempted. As per financial budget 2007-08, a cap of Rs. 50 lakhs has been imposed on investment that can be made in capital tax saving bonds.

Q3. How does Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement work in the context of CGT paid in India on the foreign tax treatment?

In case the non-resident pays any tax on capital gains arising in India, he would normally be able to obtain a tax credit in respect of the taxes paid in India in the home country, because the income in India would also be included in the country of tax residence. The amount of the tax credit as also the basis of computing the tax credit that can be claimed are specified in the respective country’s DTAA and is also dependent on the laws of the home country where the tax payer is a tax resident.


Repatriation of funds

Q1. What are the rules governing the repatriation of the proceeds of sale of immovable properties by NRI/PIO as prescribed by the Reserve Bank Of India?

(a) If the property was acquired out of the foreign exchange sources i.e. remitted through normal banking channels/ by debit to NRE/FCNR (B) account, the amount to be repatriated should not exceed the amount paid for the property.

(i) In foreign exchange received through normal banking channel or

(ii) By debit to NRE account (foreign currency equivalent, as on the date of payment) or debit to FCNR (B) account.

Repatriation of sales proceeds of residential property purchased by NRI’s/PIO’s out of foreign exchange is restricted to not more than two such properties. Capital gains, if any, may be credited to NRO account from where the NRI’s/PIO’s may repatriate an account upto USD one million, per financial year, as discussed below.

(b) If the property was acquired out of rupee sources, NRI/PIO may remit an amount upto USD one Million per financial year, out of the balance held in the NRO account (inclusive of sale proceeds of assets acquired by way of inheritance or settlement), for all the bonafide purposes to the satisfaction of the Authorized Dealer bank and subject to tax compliance. The NRI/ PIO may use this facility to remit the capital gains, where the acquisition of the subject properties was made by funds sourced by remittance through normal banking channels/ by debit to NRE/ FCNR (B) account.

Q2. Is the rental income from property repatriable and what are the RBI rules?

The rental income, being a current account transaction, is repatriable, subject to appropriate deduction of tax and the certification there of by chartered accountant in practise. Repatriation of sale proceeds is subject to certain conditions. The amount of repatriation cannot exceed the amount paid for acquisition of immovable property in foreign exchange. Answers to specific questions on rental income and repatriation can be obtained on www.rbi.org.in



Q1. Are NRI/PIO/OCI eligible for Housing loans to buy property from any Indian Bank?

An authorized dealer or a housing finance institution in India approved by Nation Housing Bank may provide housing loans to a non-resident Indian or a person of Indian origin residing outside India. For acquisition of residential accommodation in India, subject to the following conditions, viz:

(a) the quantum of loans, margin money and the period of repayment shall be at part those applicable to housing finance provided to a person residing in India.

(b) for loan amount shall not be credited to Non-resident External (NRE) / Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) / Non-resident Non- repatriable (NRNR) account of the borrower.

(c) the loan shall be fully secured by equitable mortgage by deposit of title deal of property proposed to be acquired, and if necessary, also be lien on the borrowers other assets in India.

(d) the instalment of loan, interest and other charges, if any, shall be paid by the borrower by remittances from outside India through normal banking channels or out of funds in his Non-resident External (NRE) / Foreign Currency Non-resident (FCNR) / Non-resident Non-repatriable (NRNR) / Non-resident Ordinary (NRO) / Non-resident Special Rupee (NRSR) account in India, or out of rental income derived from renting out the property acquired by the utilization of the loan or by any relative of the borrower in India by crediting the borrowers loan account through the bank account of such relative (the word “relative” means “relative” as defined in section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956.)

(e) the rate of interest on the loan shall confirm to the directives issued by Reserve Bank Of India, or as the case may be, the National Housing Bank.



Q1. Who should file tax returns?

If you are an NRI/OCI/PIO, you would have to file your income tax returns if you fulfil either of these conditions:

(a) your taxable income in India during the year was above the basic exemption limit of Rs. 2 lakh OR

(b) you have earned short-term or long-term capital gains from sale of any investments or assets, even if the gains are less than the basic exemption limits.

Note: The enhanced exemption limits from senior citizens and women is applicable only to residents and not to non-residents.

Q2. Are there any exceptions?

YES, there are two exceptions:

(a) if your taxable income consisted only of investment income (interest) and / or capital gains income and if tax has been deducted as source from such income, you do not have to file your tax returns.

(b) if you earn long-term capital gains from the sale of equity shares or equity mutual funds, you do not have to pay any tax ant therefore you do not have to include that in your tax return.

Tip: You may also file a tax return if you have to claim a refund. This ay happen where the tax deducted at source is more than the actual tax liability. Suppose your taxable income the year was below Rs. 2 lakh, but the bank deducted tax at source on your interest amount, you can claim a refund by filling you tax return.

Another instance is when you have a capital loss that can be set-off against capital gain. Tax may have been deducted at source on the capital gains, but you can set-off (or carry forward) capital loss against the gain and lower your actual tax liability. In such cases, you would need to file a tax return.

Q3. What’s the best way to file tax returns?

Traditionally, you could file your return either by giving a power attorney to someone in India or by sending your form and documents to a tax experts in India, who would then file returns on your behalf.

But now-a-days, the easiest option for NRI’s to file their indian tax return is by using the online platform, there are several options to file online. More details on the same can be obtained on www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

Indicative list of documents required for home loans


  • Copy of employment contract
  • Last six month salary slip
  • Latest work permit
  • Bank Statements for six months or NRE/NRO a/c 6 ,months statement
  • Passport / Visa copy
  • Utility bill for address proof
  • PIO/OCI Card
  • Power of Attorney (if applicable , in respective bank’s format)
  • Customer credit check report
  • Property agreement duly registered or other related docs
  • Income Tax returns last 3 years
  • Pan Card (Permanent account Number)
  • OCI/PIO card (in case of OCI/PIO)
  • Passport (in case of NRI)
  • Passport size photographs
  • Address Proof


  • Balance sheets and P&L a/c of the company for last 3 years.
  • Bank account statement for last 6 months for company and individual, both.
  • Income Tax returns (3 years)
  • Passport / Visa copy
  • Utility bill for address proof
  • PIO/OCI Card
  • Power Attorney (if applicable, in respective bank’s format)
  • Customer credit check report
  • Property Agreement or other related docs.
  • Pan Card (Permanent account Number)
  • OCI/PIO card (in case of OCI/PIO)
  • Passport (in case of NRI)
  • Passport size photographs
  • Address Proof

Disclaimer: These are the broad guidelines meant for ready reference with respect to acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by NRI/PIO/OCI and in each case prospective buyer or seller of property in India must consult his/her own legal/ finance/tax advisor and obtain suitable advice for their specific transaction. We assumes no responsibility or legal liability for transactions entered into by placing reliance on these FAQ’s . These guidelines are subject to amendment by the regulatory authority. We assumes no responsibility for updating these FAQ’s.

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