Do NRIs need to file income tax returns in India?

Understanding your residency status as an NRI and how it affects your tax liability is essential. In this article, we’ll discuss the significance of filing income taxes as an NRI, how to calculate your tax burden, important factors to keep in mind while submitting ITR, the advantages of doing so frequently, requirement of tax filing, and typical mistakes to avoid for NRIs.

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Understanding the NRI Residential Status

Understanding the idea of NRI residence status and its significance in calculating your tax liabilities is essential for NRI. if you are an NRI, your residency status is a key factor in determining whether you must submit an income tax return in India or not.A citizen of India who spends a set amount of time working, conducting business, or living elsewhere is known as an NRI. Knowing your residency status is crucial since it affects which tax laws apply to you and whether you must file an income tax return.

Importance of Filing Income Tax for NRIs

For Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), submitting income tax returns by the law is crucial. It not only guarantees adherence to domestic tax regulations but also provides multiple advantages and averts potential fines.NRIs should give their income tax filing top priority for the following reasons:

1. Legal Compliance: As an NRI, it’s important to pay your taxes on time. The act of filing your income tax shows that you are committed to abiding by all applicable laws and supports the maintenance of a spotless tax history.

2. Avoid Penalties: Failure to file income taxes as an NRI may result in fines and/or legal repercussions. Tax officials have the authority to punish violators and possibly bring legal action. You may prevent these fines and pointless hassles by filing your taxes on time.

3. Requesting Refunds: If NRIs have overpaid taxes or qualify for any tax deductions, they may request refunds by filing income tax returns. You may avoid missing out on any potential refunds by consistently filing your income taxes.

4. Utilizing Deductions and Exemptions: NRIs can utilize several tax-related deductions and exemptions by filing income taxes. These deductions can assist in lowering your taxable income, which in turn lowers your tax burden and enables you to pay less in taxes.

Also Read: NRI Taxation – How is the Income taxed?

Calculate your taxable income Your taxable income must be computed. We must comprehend what total gross income means. It speaks about total income before deductions for taxes. Do you earn more than Rs. 2.5 lakhs in gross income overall? In that instance, India requires that you pay taxes. This money may come from a variety of sources. It can take the form of your pay. It can be capital gains from the selling of mutual funds and shares. The bracket also includes rental income and interest from deposits in NRO accounts. NRIs, however, can profit from tax treaties. If TDS is taken out of their income, NRIs may also be eligible for refunds. To do this, you must match up the advance tax and TDS credit as shown in Form 26AS.

Please refer the table below for income that is taxed in India for NRI –

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Filing ITR as an NRI: Key Considerations

1. Understanding Different ITR Forms – Understanding the various ITR forms and choosing the right one to file your tax returns is crucial if you’re an NRI. The choice of the form is based on several variables, including the kind of income, where you live, and your income sources. For instance, you should select ITR-2 if you receive a salary or pension or own property outside of India. On the other side, you should select ITR-3 if you make money from a business or profession. Selecting the appropriate ITR form requires carefully assessing your income sources and, if necessary, seeking advice from a tax expert.

2. Additional Reporting Requirements to be Met – You may need to file additional reports as an NRI in addition to your standard income tax return. This involves disclosing information on investments held outside of India as well as about overseas assets, foreign income, and foreign bank accounts.

Before beginning the tax filing procedure, make sure to obtain all the relevant data and papers about your foreign assets and income. By accurately disclosing your income and assets, you can avoid fines and other legal repercussions.

3. Fulfilling Tax Residency Obligations – Knowing your tax residency status is crucial while filing your ITR as an NRI. Depending on how many days you spent in India during a fiscal year, you may qualify for tax reasons as a resident, non-resident, or resident but not ordinarily resident (RNOR). It is essential to comprehend your tax residency status because it impacts your tax obligations and the revenue that is taxable in India. On income earned or received in India, NRIs are normally required to pay tax. For NRIs, however, money generated outside of India is typically not subject to taxation.

Benefits of Regularly Filing ITR as an NRI

1. Maintaining a Clean Tax Record: Filing ITR regularly aids in keeping a clean tax record. For NRIs, this is crucial since it proves their tax compliance and shows that they are sincere about meeting their financial obligations.

2. Opportunities for Claiming Refunds:  NRIs have access to options to claim refunds by routinely completing ITR. Filing an ITR guarantees that they can collect any refunds that are owed to them in situations where too much tax has been deducted or if they are eligible for deductions.

3. Avoiding Penalties and Legal Difficulties: One of the biggest benefits of consistently reporting ITR is avoiding penalties and legal difficulties. Tax law violations may result in penalties, fines, or even legal action. NRIs can avoid these disadvantages by paying their taxes on time and filing their ITRs.

Common Errors to Avoid When Filing ITR as an NRI

  • Not disclosing worldwide income Not including their international income in their ITR is a mistake that many NRIs commit. To avoid fines or other legal repercussions, it’s critical to record all revenue received from all sources.
  • Inaccurate determination of residential status: NRIs frequently make mistakes when determining their residential status. Understanding the standards for identifying NRI status and appropriately reporting it in the ITR is essential.
  • Failure to file ITR even when there is no taxable income: Some NRIs believe they are exempt from filing an ITR if they have no taxable income in India. To maintain compliance with tax rules, it is crucial to file a Nil ITR.
  • Not taking into account the advantages of tax treaties: India and many other countries have Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA), which exclude taxpayers from having to pay taxes on the same income in both countries. NRIs frequently ignore these advantages and overpay taxes as a result.
  • Lack of foreign asset reporting: NRIs frequently overlook the need to record their foreign assets, such as bank accounts and real estate, in their ITR. To avoid fines and scrutiny from tax authorities, it is crucial to disclose all overseas assets.


In addition to being required by law, filing income taxes as an NRI is a wise move. You can prevent potential penalties and preserve a spotless tax record by being aware of your residential status as an NRI and meeting your tax requirements. By consistently reporting your ITR, you can maximize your tax-saving potential by claiming refunds and taking advantage of deductions. To reduce your tax bill, it’s crucial to be aware of the typical errors to avoid while completing your ITR as an NRI. You may efficiently navigate the income tax laws and reduce your taxes as an NRI by being informed and taking the right actions.


This article should not be construed as investment advice, please consult your Investment Adviser before making any sound investment decision.

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