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Is there any centre which would provide with information and guidance?

(B K Singh, Dubai) / 14 May 2012

I earn rental income from shops in India.  This will require me to pay tax and file tax returns.  Is there any information centre set up by the Government of India which would provide me with information and guidance?

The tax department in India has become more technologically savvy than it was before.  It has recently set up five call centres across the country to attend to queries from the general public.  The main centre is in Gurgaon with regional ones in Kochi, Jammu, Shillong and Jangipur in West Bengal.  Information services will be available in eight regional languages, apart from English and Hindi.

The information that will be available from the call centres pertains to application for a permanent account number, e-filing of returns, status of refunds in respect of tax deducted at source, etc.  Information about the ward under whose jurisdiction a tax payer comes will also be made available through the call centre.

After I return to India, I will be taking up a job with a multinational company as whole-time director.  I may have to apply for qualification shares of the foreign company.  Will I be able to subscribe to the foreign shares after becoming resident in India?  Can I ask the foreign company to issue shares to me in lieu of the fees/remuneration which I earn in India?

P C Juneja, Doha

It is definitely possible for you to subscribe to the qualification shares issued by a foreign company if you are employed by it.  For resident individuals there was a cap of one percent of the share capital of the company.  This cap has now been removed.  Hence, you can remit rupee funds from India after becoming a resident Indian for subscribing to the qualification shares.  The only limit is the amount of $200,000 which every resident Indian can utilise in a financial year.

The Reserve Bank of India has also granted general permission to resident individuals to acquire shares of a foreign entity in consideration of professional services rendered to the foreign company or in lieu of director’s remuneration.  This too would be subject to the overall limit of $200,000 in a financial year. 

Resident employees or directors are also permitted to subscribe to shares offered by a foreign company under the Employees’ Stock Option Scheme.  Such scheme should be part of a global scheme introduced by the company, applicable to all its employees who may be working in different parts of the world.

My father who is resident in India proposes to go on a holiday.  How much foreign exchange can he obtain through his bank account and by what mode can he carry such foreign exchange which is safe and secure?

Aditi Shah, Sharjah

Your father is permitted to draw from his bank account any amount in foreign exchange equivalent to US $ 10,000.  While a part of that amount can be carried in currency notes depending on the country which he is visiting, the balance can be in the form of traveller’s cheques or prepaid travel cards.  These travel cards are fairly safe and secure.  The unspent amount on the travel card would be refundable to him after he returns to India from his foreign trip.

Banks are required by RBI regulations to redeem the unutilised balance in the cards subject to retention of the amounts that are authorised by the card user.  Such date of redemption is upto the completion of the respective settlement cycle.  Banks are permitted to retain a small balance not exceeding $ 100 for meeting any pipeline transactions until the completion of the settlement cycle. 

The writer is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.

Money Times adviser H.P. Ranina answers questions from our readers. Write to: Money Times, P.O. Box 11243, Dubai, UAE or CLICK HERE

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