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Sat, 07 Apr 2012 11:42:37 GMT | By Kul Bhushan

Budget benefits NRIs and quashes tax fears

When a non-resident Indian (NRI) lands in India now, he or she can zoom through customs with duty-free goods worth Rs.35,000 ($685). That's a small increase from the earlier duty-free allowance of Rs.25,000.

Budget benefits NRIs and quashes tax fears

As millions of Indians travel abroad every year and have become big spenders, they have been clamouring for a duty-free allowance of at least Rs.50,000 ($1,000).

They argue that considering the prices of designer goods which the middle and upper income Indians and NRIs aspire for, even this amount is not enough. So we just thank the government for small mercies as we walk the green channel with goods worth Rs.35,000 plus a laptop, a mobile and a camera, among other small items.

The budget has quashed a major fear of NRIs to pay income tax on their global income if they stay in India for more than 60 days a year. Frantic e-mails on this topic were whizzing around for weeks before the budget.

It was feared that if an NRI goes to India on different trips and stays for a total of 60 days in the year, he will be considered as a resident and will have to declare his foreign income and pay tax on it. It does not matter if the person has lived outside India for decades.


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