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FAQ about Cryptocurrency Taxation

Below are few FAQ about Cryptocurrency Taxation. This post is based on CA or Chartered Accountants perspective on Cryptocurrency Taxation. For any other questions, please schedule an appointment

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1) Is it legal to hold, trade or invest in cryptocurrencies in India?

There is no explicit ban on holding/trading/investing/dealing in cryptocurrencies.

The only prohibition in place is on banks, regulated by the RBI, from providing banking access/services to any individual or entity dealing in virtual currencies.

2) Do I have to pay tax on income or profits earned from cryptocurrencies?

Absolutely. It is essential to declare such income in the Income Tax returns and pay tax accordingly.

While investing or trading in cryptocurrencies is not illegal, any income earned thereof on which tax is not paid would be deemed as illegitimate wealth.

3) What is the rate of tax applicable to income from cryptocurrencies?

Depends upon the nature of activity undertaken with cryptocurrencies. The rate of tax would differ for investors vis-à-vis traders, miners or blockchain businesses.

4) What if I don’t pay tax?

The Indian Income Tax Department can obtain information on persons/entities holding cryptocurrencies from various sources.

In case a person/entity is found to have evaded taxes, severe penal provisions under the Income Tax Act would become enforceable.

5) Do I need to report cryptocurrencies held/traded outside India?

Yes.

In case you are an Indian Resident, all assets held outside India are required to be disclosed in the Income Tax return. Further, any income earned from such assets shall be chargeable to Income Tax in India. Failure to do so can invite severe penalties under the Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

6) How do I monitor all my transactions and track profits/gains?

We at CA Mitesh and Associates will help you maintain a consolidated and up-to-date record of all transactions and incomes earned from any Blockchain or cryptocurrency exchange.

7) How do I compute and report my Income Tax liability?

We at CA Mitesh and Associates will help you to comprehensively ascertains any and all tax liabilities, followed by assistance in completing and filing Income Tax Returns.

8) Can I receive an Income Tax notice?

Yes.

A notice may be served under several circumstances including non-reporting of income, shortfall in payment of tax or non-disclosure of foreign assets/holdings.

9) What happens when I receive an Income Tax notice?

The tax assessment notice shall need to be responded to via personal representation or a written submission.

We at CA Mitesh and Associates will handle end-to-end assessment procedures. All responsibilities of corresponding with the Income Tax Department are handled, ensuring least possible inconvenience to our clients.

10) How is crypto tax calculated?

You can be liable for both capital gains and income tax depending on the type of cryptocurrency transaction, and your invididual circumstances. For example, you might need to pay capital gains on profits from buying and selling cryptocurrency, or pay income tax on interest earned when holding crypto.

11) I lost money trading cryptocurrency. Do I still pay tax?

The way cryptocurrencies are taxed in most countries mean that investors might still need to pay tax, regardless of if they made an overall profit or loss. Depending on your circumstances, taxes are usually realised at the time of the transaction, and not on the overall position at the end of the financial year.

12) Which of your crypto activities are taxable?

Taxability doesn’t mean you will pay tax on every crypto engagement under the sun. These are the cryptocurrency trading and investment activities that require you to pay tax. These activities cut across almost all countries. 

- When you sell your cryptocurrency for fiat (USD, GBP, INR, AUD, JPY, EUR…)
- Exchanging your cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency
- Using your crypto assets to pay for goods or services
- When you receive cryptocurrency as earnings (either through mining or as payment for services offered to a third party)

13) Which of your crypto activities are Non-taxable?

Not all cryptocurrency engagements attract taxes. Here are the activities you don't need to pay taxes on: 

- When you move your cryptocurrency from one wallet to another or between crypto exchanges. 
- Donating cryptocurrency to a non-taxable charity organization
- When you buy crypto with fiat 
- When you give cryptocurrency as a gift to a friend or family. 


Disclaimer: The content of this post is not to be considered to be professional or legal advice, We aren't responsible for any damages arising from your access to the location content & must not be relied on or used as a substitute for Financial or legal advice from a Professional in your jurisdiction. CA Mitesh and Associates is Mumbai's leading Cryptocurrency Taxation Firm which is committed to helping people navigate complex tax laws and banking regulations. Our main aim is to assist the individuals with applicable laws & regulations compliance and providing support at each & every level to make sure that they stay compliant and grow continuously. For any query, help or feedback you may get in touch here - Appointment with CA

Cryptocurrency Taxation CA in Mumbai | Cryptocurrency Taxation Chartered Accountant in Mumbai | Cryptocurrency Taxation Tax Consultant | Cryptocurrency Taxation Tax Advisor | Borivali | Kandivali | Malad
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FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS FOR YOUR BITCOIN PROFITS - 2021

Profited from Bitcoins or other Cryptocurrencies and not sure how to file your income tax returns? Did you know gains from bitcoin can be treated as capital gains or Forex trading gains and hence taxed? We are India’s leading tax filing portal to help you to file your returns to calculate your tax and finish filing income tax returns within 2 days.

Anyone who earns any income in Bitcoin needs to declare their income and pay taxes. That seems fair enough. But this is also where things start getting confusing for most people.

The fact is that, in the absence of any guidelines from CBDT, ICAI, RBI or the Income Tax Department, cryptocurrency investors from India are largely left to figure this out on our own. As an early adopter to crypto, I was perplexed with the subject of accounting my income in cryptocurrency from blogging and consulting. During my research into this subject, I’ve interviewed professional tax consultants and an income tax official.

The fact is that the IT Act does not stop you from earning or profiteering from investments in cryptocurrencies and allows you to declare your gains and pay taxes on it. Therefore, as per a professional tax consultant, the four most common and safe ways of filing your returns after declaring your income from cryptocurrencies are as follows:

Capital Gains

If you are a casual investor in Bitcoins, any profit resulting from the sale of your cryptocurrency is taxed as short-term capital gains as per your income tax slab rate. If your income exceeds Rs 10 lakh then there will be a 30 percent tax on the profits plus surcharge and cess.

Professional tax consultants seem to be favoring these parameters to consider Bitcoin as a store of value similar to a stock in a company as opposed to a mode of payment in order to make it easier to file returns for their respective clients.

In case of any long-term capital gains, the tax rate applicable is only 20 percent on your profits. The time period of the asset needs to be considered here while making an assessment and most auditors seem to be preferring to equate the time period of equity (minimum holding period of 2 years) to Bitcoins. You can also account for indexation to reduce your tax burden.

Business Income

If you are a Bitcoin trader with substantial and frequent transactions it could be considered as a business (trading) income. Here you can account for your profit and loss accordingly. CBDT in the past has issued a circular to distinguish when equity is held short-term as an investment versus a stock-in-trade.

Here, an applicable rate of income tax as per your income slab will apply. If your income exceeds 10 lakh rupees then the applicable tax rate is 30 percent plus surcharge and cess.

Professional Income

If you are a blogger, freelancer, or consultant earning in Bitcoins, you may be wondering how to file your taxes for income from any services rendered to clients in India or abroad.

For example. one of my client is a consultant paid in Bitcoin and also a professional blogger on Steemit.com. On Steemit, he earns in the cryptocurrency, ‘Steem’, which he then sells to purchase Bitcoin. Then, he uses an Indian Bitcoin exchange such as CoinSecure.in or Zebpay to sell Bitcoin for Indian rupees and cash out his earnings. This is fully transparent as all Indian exchanges adhere to KYC norms.

Here, an applicable rate of income tax as per his income slab will apply. If his income exceeds Rs 10 lakh then the applicable tax rate would be 30 percent plus surcharge and cess.

Income from Other Sources

What if you are mining Bitcoins? If you fall under this category of Bitcoin users then you are likely to be only selling and never purchasing any Bitcoins. This is somewhat similar to rendering services as a consultant and earning in Bitcoin with the only difference being that you are not a professional.

You will be taxed as per the Income-tax slabs and if your income exceeds 10 lakhs, then the applicable tax rate is 30 percent plus surcharge and cess.

It is wise to declare your income from Bitcoins in your annual tax returns and hire an excellent professional tax consultant to do your accounting if you plan on mining, earning, or investing regularly in Bitcoins.

WORLDWIDE CRYPTO LICENSING

Our lawful service includes helping the world’s leading blockchain and cryptocurrency ventures to enhance and retain adherence with securities law, representing investors and consumers in high personal and class action lawsuits, resolving disputes between clients and virtual currencies, helping peer-to-peer traders and exchanges comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and the State Money Transmitter Act.

LOOKING TO HELP YOU RESOLVE LEGAL CRYPTOCURRENCY CHALLENGES

There are a number of complicated difficulties with cryptocurrency. If you are a company owner or an investment firm who wants to invest in IEO, IDO, ICO, DeFi Project & STO or use digital currency as a medium of exchange, you must be aware of the various securities and commodities, money transfer, financial fraud, corporate and tax laws throughout every country.

We help our client base navigate and excelle in the blockchain industry. With a thorough knowledge of the market framework, we can share useful insights for entrepreneurs on the crucial integration of these innovations into their current and potential products and services. Offer, safeguard their corporate investment and schedule, and call for the changes needed to current blockchain legislation and regulations.

Our legal counsel is also well established for securing, managing, and implementing intellectual property privileges is one of the regions where blockchain really can stand out, endorsed by a well-extended adoption structure.

FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS FOR YOUR BITCOIN PROFITS - 2021| Cryptocurrency CA in Mumbai | Cryptocurrency Chartered Accountant in Mumbai | Cryptocurrency Tax Consultant | Cryptocurrency Tax Advisor | Borivali | Kandivali | Malad
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Bitcoin Taxation in India

  • Reserve Bank of India has requested its own controlled entities (such as banks) to avoid offering services to individuals or business entities engaged in cash cryptocurrencies (INRs) up and down routes. This restricts the purchase/selling of INR cryptocurrencies via banks. Despite all the weaknesses, India represents one of the largest nations in the world, taking into account the share of currency kept (though not actually traded), which is 44% of the world’s share. Given the uncertainty surrounding Bitcoin and the fairly developing state of its growth, one thing is for sure-Bitcoin will take time to be widely accepted as a currency or a medium of payment in India.
  • This will contribute to the usual reaction of this ex-change shifting base outside India, and the subsequent loss of big potential tax revenues. The handling of bitcoins would be perfect if the government were to legalize the trade of these currencies. Currencies should be viewed as current assets, and GST should be paid at the margins that bitcoin exchanges charge their users. This would ensure that currency trade is limited, as well as the addition of tax Income to the government of India.
  • In the Budget Speech of Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, said in his 2018 budget, He said that “Blockchain technology or Distributed ledger system enables the Firms of any chain of records or transactions without the need for intermediaries. The Govt of India does not consider cryptocurrencies to be a coin or legal tender and will take all steps to eliminate the usage of such crypto assets in the funding of illegal activities or as part of the payment system.
  • The Centre Govt will possibly explore the use of blockchain technology to usher in the digital economy.” Further, the RBI has also chosen to reiterate its earlier message to ‘users, holders and traders of Virtual Currency (‘VCs’)/ CryptoCurrencies like bitcoins regarding financial, operational, legal, potentially global, consumer protection and security risks associated with dealing with such risks.
  • Although this article is aimed at addressing the taxability of Bitcoins only, the tax treatment of transactions with other cryptocurrencies will also be similar to that of cryptocurrencies /Bitcoins.

Global Bitcoin Situation

The bitcoin industry differs significantly from country to country.

  • The United States of America considers Bitcoin to be a commodity that can be a fixed asset or an inventory asset.
  • On the other hand, the UK considers it to be a ‘private currency.’
  • Australia has a case-by-case approach to Bitcoins, spanning from traded products to investment, with different care for related mining or exchange facilitation services.
  • Singapore considered Bitcoin to be a legal normal currency in its country,
  • Japan considered Bitcoin to be commodities.

What are the different situations/ Scenario of CryptoCurrencies taxed in India?

The theory of CryptoCurrencies being really new to the Indian economy, obviously, the government has not yet introduced the taxability of bitcoins into the books of the law. At the present time, the tax levy on bitcoins cannot be excluded out since the Indian income tax regime has always tried to tax income earned regardless of the form in how it is received.

The prospect of a tax on bitcoins can therefore be recognized in the following four situations:

Situation 1: Income from Bitcoin Mining

  • Bitcoins created by mining are self-generated capital assets. Later selling of such bitcoins will, in the normal course of business, give rise to capital gains. Even then, one should note that the acquisition cost of a bitcoin can not be calculated since it is a self-generated asset. Moreover, it does not fall within the meaning of the provisions of Section 55 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, which specifically addresses the cost of acquiring such self-generated assets.
  • The capital gains computation process is still not in operation following the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of CIT v. B.C. Srinivasa Shetty (1981). The Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as various High Courts of the country had held that taxation on capital gain was not chargeable where the cost of acquisition was not ascertainable or nil. i.e No Gain in case of Nil cost of acquisition. Such issues were covered by various No of decisions Court of the country. Thus, No Capital Gain Tax will be levied on the mining of bitcoins.
  • This status will be preserved until such time as the government has decided to amend Section 55 of the Act. At this point in time, given that the Indian tax systems are completely silent on the taxability of bitcoins, we thought it right to elaborate on the possibly opposite view of the income tax authorities. There is a chance that bitcoins will not be considered by the government to be capital assets at all. Consequently, the provisions on capital gains will not occur at all. Consequently, the income tax authorities can choose whether to tax the value of bitcoins obtained from mining under the head “Income from other sources”

Situation 2: Bitcoins kept as a transfer of investment in exchange for real currency 

  • If bitcoins, which are capital assets, were retained as an investment and traded in exchange for actual cash, value appreciation will result in a long-term capital gain or short-term capital gain based on the holding duration of the bitcoin. In addition, long-term gains will be taxed at a flat rate of 20%, while short-term gains will be taxed at the individual slab rate. The purchase cost for the acquisition of long-term capital gains will be calculated after the indexation benefit has been awarded.
  • Understanding and appreciating the likely opposite point of view of the income tax authorities referred to in paragraph 1 above, the IT authorities do not consider Bitcoins as a capital asset and thus the capital gains provisions will not apply. The income tax authorities may therefore prefer to tax the earnings from bitcoins under the heading “Income from other sources.”
  • In addition, if the income is taxable under “Income from other sources,” the taxpayer will have to pay taxes at the rate applied to the tax leg from which the income is taxed. For example, if his taxable income exceeds Rs 10 lakh, he will be liable to a tax of at least 30 percent against a flat tax rate of 20 percent, which he would be responsible for paying if taxed on long-term capital gains. The advantage of indexation, as would be available if taxed on capital gains, would also not be accessible if taxed on income from other sources.

Situation 3: Bitcoins kept as a stock-in-trade transfer in exchange for real currency

  • Income from Bitcoins trading would give rise to business income and, as a consequence, income from such business would be subject to income tax as per personal slab rates.

Situation 4: Bitcoins gained as consideration for the selling of Goods & Services

  • Bitcoins obtained in this way shall be treated at the same time as receiving the money. It will represent income in the hands of the beneficiary. Moreover, since the recipient gained this income from a business or a profession, it will generally be taxed under the heading of gains or profits from a business or a profession.
  • As far as the disclosure requirement for Bitcoins in the income tax return forms is concerned, there is still a lack of clarity.

DIGITAL CURRENCY AND BLOCKCHAIN & LEGAL CONSULTATION SERVICES

We have global digital currency lawyers who can encourage companies, investors, and institutions to navigate the lawful complexities of digital currency and blockchain. We are committed to representing our clients tactically and aggressively in their transaction-based and lawsuits matters, whether ICO, IEO, Defi Project, organizers, Crypto Exchange, STO cryptocurrency suppliers, or investment firms associated in cryptocurrency projects, in order to address the complex legal issues presented by Blockchain technologies and online currencies.

Bitcoin Taxation in India | Cryptocurrency CA in Mumbai | Cryptocurrency Chartered Accountant in Mumbai | Tax Consultant for Cryptocurrency | Tax Advisor Cryptocurrency | Borivali | Kandivali | Malad

 

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Your Guide to Bitcoin Taxation

With all the confusion on Cryptocurrency, This is your Guide to Bitcoin Taxation When you look at recent years, you will soon find that there has been a steady increase when it comes to the overall use of virtual currencies. This includes Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and…

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How to claim Benefits Under DTAA for NRIs

If you are an NRI living abroad, Read here to know How to claim Benefits Under DTAA for NRIs. NRIs can avoid paying double tax as per the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). Usually, Non-Resident Indians (NRI) live abroad, but earn income in India. In…

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NRI and Income Tax implications - 2021

This article primarily focusses on NRI and Income Tax implications in India

This articles we will cover the following:

  1. How do I Determine My Residential Status?
      1. Is My Income Earned Abroad Taxable?
      2. Am I Required to File My Income Tax Return in India?
      3. When is the Last Date to File Income Tax Return in India?
      4. Do NRIs Have to Pay Advance Tax?
  1. Taxable Income for an NRI
      1.  Income from Salary
      2.  Income from House Property
      3.  Rental Payments to an NRI
      4.  Income from Other Sources
      5.  Income from Business and Profession
      6. Income from Capital Gains
      7.  Special Provision Related to Investment Income
      8. What are the Investments that Qualify for Special Treatment?
      9.  Special Provision Related to Long-Term Capital Gains
  1. Deductions and Exemptions for NRIs
      1. Deductions Under Section 80C
      2. Deductions allowed to NRIs under Section 80C
  1. Other Allowable Deductions
      1. Deduction from House Property Income for NRIs
      2. Deduction under Section 80D
      3. Deduction under Section 80E
      4. Deduction under Section 80G
      5. Deduction under Section 80TTA
      6. Deductions not Allowed to NRIs
      7. Investment under RGESS (Section 80CCG)
      8. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DD
      9. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DDB
      10. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80U
      11. Exemption on Sale of Property for an NRI
      12. How are You Taxed When You are a…
      13. Income Tax Filing for Foreign Nationals
NRI and Income Tax implications - 2021

1. How do I Determine My Residential Status?

You are considered an Indian resident for a financial year: i. When you are in India for at least 6 months (182 days to be exact) during the financial year ii. You are in India for 2 months (60 days) for the year in the previous year and have lived for one whole year (365 days) in the last four years If you are an Indian citizen working abroad or a member of a crew on an Indian ship, only the first condition is available to you – which means you are a resident when you spend at least 182 days in India. The same is applicable to a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) who is on a visit to India. The second condition is not applicable to these individuals. A PIO is a person whose parents, or any of his grandparents were born in undivided India.   You are an NRI if you do not meet any of the above conditions. For FY 2019-20 if an individual has come to India on a visit before 22nd March, 2020 and a) has been unable to leave because of lockdown on or before 31st March, 2020, period of stay from 22nd to 31st March shall not be considered. b) has been quarantined due to Covid19 on or after 1st March, 2020 and departed on evacuation flight on or before 31st March, 2020 or unable to leave India his period of stay from the beginning of quarantine to 31st march shall not be considered. c) has been departed on a evacuation flight on or before 31st March, 2020, period of stay from 22nd March 2020 to date of departure shall not be considered

  1. Is My Income Earned Abroad Taxable?
  2. Am I Required to File My Income Tax Return in India?
  3. When is the Last Date to File Income Tax Return in India?
  4. Do NRIs Have to Pay Advance Tax?

a. Is My Income Earned Abroad Taxable?

An NRI’s income taxes in India will depend upon his residential status for the year. If your status is ‘resident,’ your global income is taxable in India. If your status is ‘NRI,’ your income which is earned or accrued in India is taxable in India. Salary received in India or salary for service provided in India, income from a house property situated in India, capital gains on transfer of asset situated in India, income from fixed deposits or interest on savings bank account are all examples of income earned or accrued in India. These incomes are taxable for an NRI. Income which is earned outside India is not taxable in India. Interest earned on an NRE account and FCNR account is tax-free. Interest on NRO account is taxable for an NRI.

b. Am I Required to File My Income Tax Return in India?

NRI or not, any individual whose income exceeds Rs.2,50,000 is required to file an income tax return in India.     

 

c. When is the Last Date to File Income Tax Return in India?

July 31st is the last date to file income tax return in India for NRIs.

d. Do NRIs Have to Pay Advance Tax?

If your tax liability exceeds Rs 10,000 in a financial year, you are required to pay advance tax. Interest under Section 234B and Section 234C is applicable when you don’t pay your advance tax.

2. Taxable Income for an NRI

Your salary income is taxable when you receive your salary in India or someone does on your behalf. Therefore, if you are an NRI and you receive your salary directly to an Indian account it will be subject to Indian tax laws. This income is taxed at the slab rate you belong to.

  1.  Income from Salary
  2.  Income from House Property
  3.  Rental Payments to an NRI
  4.  Income from Other Sources
  5.  Income from Business and Profession
  6. Income from Capital Gains
  7.  Special Provision Related to Investment Income
  8. What are the Investments that Qualify for Special Treatment?
  9.  Special Provision Related to Long-Term Capital Gains

a. Income from Salary

Income from salary will be considered to arise in India if your services are rendered in India. So even though you may be an NRI, but if your salary is paid towards services provided by you in India, it shall be taxed in India immaterial of where you are receiving the income. In case your employer is Government of India and you are the citizen of India, income from salary, if your service is rendered outside India is also taxed in India. Note that income of Diplomats, Ambassadors are exempt from tax. Ajay was working in China on a project from an Indian company for a period of 3 years. Ajay needed the salary in India to take care of the needs of his family and make payments towards a housing loan. However, since salary received by Ajay in India would have been taxed as per Indian laws, Ajay decided to receive it in China.

b. Income from House Property

Income from a property which is situated in India is taxable for an NRI. The calculation of such income shall be in the same manner as for a resident. This property may be rented out or lying vacant. An NRI is allowed to claim a standard deduction of 30%, deduct property taxes, and take benefit of an interest deduction if there is a home loan. The NRI is also allowed a deduction for principal repayment under Section 80C. Stamp duty and registration charges paid on the purchase of a property can also be claimed under Section 80C. Income from house property is taxed at slab rates as applicable. Nandini owns a house property in Goa and has rented it out while she lives in Bangkok. She has set up the rent payments to be received directly in her bank account in Bangkok. Nandini’s income from this house which is in India shall be taxable in India.

c. Rental Payments to an NRI

A tenant who pays rent to an NRI owner must remember to deduct TDS at 30%. The income can be received to an account in India or the NRI’s account in the country he is currently residing. Maria pays a monthly rent of Rs30,000 to her NRI landlord. She must deduct 30% TDS or Rs 9,000 before transferring the money to the landlord’s account. Maria must also get a Form 15CA prepared and submit it online to the Income Tax Department. A person making a remittance (a payment) to a Non-Resident Indian has to submit Form 15CA. This form has to be submitted online. In some cases, a certificate from a chartered accountant in Form 15CB is required before uploading Form 15CA online. In Form 15CB, a CA certifies details of the payment, TDS rate, and TDS deduction as per Section 195 of the Income Tax Act, if any DTAA (Double Tax Avoidance Agreement) is applicable, and other details of nature and purpose of the remittance. Form 15CB is not required when:

i. Remittance does not exceed Rs 5,00,000 (in total in a financial year). Only Form 15CA has to be submitted in this case.

ii. If lower TDS has to be deducted and a certificate is received under Section 197 for it or lower TDS has to be deducted by order of the AO.

iii. Neither is required if the transaction falls under Rule 37BB of the Income Tax Act, where it lists 28 items.

In all other cases, if there is a remittance outside India, the person who is making the remittance will take a CA’s certificate in Form 15CB and after receiving the certificate submit Form 15CA to the government online.

d. Income from Other Sources

Interest income from fixed deposits and savings accounts held in Indian bank accounts is taxable in India. Interest on NRE and FCNR account is tax-free. Interest on NRO account is fully taxable.

e. Income from Business and Profession

Any income earned by an NRI from a business controlled or set up in India is taxable to the NRI.

f. Income from Capital Gains

Any capital gain on transfer of capital asset which is situated in India shall be taxable in India. Capital gains on investments in India in shares, securities shall also be taxable in India. If you sell a house property and have a long-term capital gain, the buyer shall deduct TDS at 20%. However, you are allowed to claim capital gains exemption by investing in a house property as per Section 54 or investing in capital gain bonds as per Section 54EC.

g. Special Provision Related to Investment Income

When an NRI invests in certain Indian assets, he is taxed at 20%. If the special investment income is the only income the NRI has during the financial year, and TDS has been deducted on that, then such an NRI is not required to file an income tax return.

h. What are the Investments that Qualify for Special Treatment?

Income derived from the following Indian assets acquired in foreign currency:

  1. Shares in a public or private Indian company
  2. Debentures issued by a publicly-listed Indian company (not private)
  3. Deposits with banks and public companies
  4. Any security of the central government
  5. Other assets of the central government as specified for this purpose in the official gazette

No deduction under Section 80 is allowed while calculating investment income.

i. Special Provision Related to Long-Term Capital Gains

For long-term capital gains made from the sale of transfer of these foreign assets, there is no benefit of indexation and no deductions allowed under Section 80. But you can avail an exemption on the profit under Section 115 F when the profit is reinvested back into:

  1. Shares in an Indian company
  2. Debentures of an Indian public company
  3. Deposits with banks and Indian public companies
  4. Central Government securities
  5. NSC VI and VII issues

In this case, capital gains are exempt proportionately if the cost of the new asset is less than net consideration. Remember, if the new asset purchased is transferred or sold back within 3 years, then the profit exempted will be added to the income in the year of sale/transfer. The benefits above may be available to the NRI even when he/she becomes a resident – until such an asset is converted to money, and upon submission of a declaration for the application of the special provisions to the assessing officer by the NRI. The NRI may choose to opt out of these special provisions and in that case the income (investment income and LTCG) will be charged to tax under the usual provisions of the Income Tax Act.

 

3. Deductions and Exemptions for NRIs

Similar to residents, NRIs are also entitled to claim various deductions and exemptions from their total income. These have been discussed here:

  1. Deductions Under Section 80C
  2. Deductions allowed to NRIs under Section 80C

a. Deductions Under Section 80C

Most of the deductions under Section 80 are also available to NRIs. For FY 2019-20, a maximum deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakhs is allowed under Section 80C from gross total income for an individual.

b. Of the Deductions Under Section 80C, those allowed to NRIs are:

i. Life insurance premium payment: The policy must be in the NRI’s name or in the name of their spouse or any child’s name (child may be dependent/independent, minor/major, or married/unmarried). The premium must be less than 10% of sum assured.

ii. Children’s tuition fee payment: Tuition fees paid to any school, college, university or other educational institution situated within India for the purpose of full-time education of any two children (including payments for play school, pre-nursery and nursery).

iii. Principal repayments on loan for the purchase of a house property: Deduction is allowed for repayment of loan taken for buying or constructing residential house property. Also allowed for stamp duty, registration fees and other expenses for purpose of transfer of such property to the NRI.

iv. Unit-linked insurance plan (ULIPS): ULIPS is sold with life insurance cover for deduction under Section 80C. Includes contribution to unit-linked insurance plan of LIC mutual fund e.g. Dhanraksha 1989 and contribution to other units -linked insurance plan of UTI.

v. Investments in ELSS: ELSS has been the most preferred option in recent years as it allows you to claim a deduction under Section 80C upto Rs 1.5 lakhs, it offers the EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) benefit to taxpayers and simultaneously offers an excellent opportunity to earn as these funds invest primarily in the equity market in a diversified manner.

4. Other Allowable Deductions

Besides the deduction that an NRI can claim under Section 80C, he is also eligible to claim various other deductions under the Income tax laws which have been discussed here:

  1. Deduction from House Property Income for NRIs
  2. Deduction under Section 80D
  3. Deduction under Section 80E
  4. Deduction under Section 80G
  5. Deduction under Section 80TTA
  6. Deductions not Allowed to NRIs
  7. Investment under RGESS (Section 80CCG)
  8. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DD
  9. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DDB
  10. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80U
  11. Exemption on Sale of Property for an NRI
  12. How are You Taxed When You are -  We will discuss few scenarios
  13. Income Tax Filing for Foreign Nationals

a. Deduction from House Property Income for NRIs

NRIs can claim all the deductions available to a resident from income from house property for a house purchased in India. Deduction towards property tax paid and interest on home loan deduction is also allowed. 

b. Deduction under Section 80D

NRIs are allowed to claim a deduction for premium paid for health insurance. This deduction is available up to Rs 30,000 ( increased to Rs 50,000 effective 1 April 2018) for senior citizens and up to Rs 25,000 in other cases for insurance of self, spouse, and dependent children. Additionally, an NRI can also claim a deduction for insurance of parents (father or mother or both) up to Rs30,000 (raised to Rs 50,000 effective 1 April 2018) if their parents are senior citizens, and Rs 25,000 if the parents are not senior citizens. Beginning FY 2012-13, within the existing limit a deduction of up to Rs 5,000 for preventive health check-ups are also available.

c. Deduction under Section 80E

Under this Section, NRIs can claim a deduction of interest paid on an education loan. This loan may have been taken for higher education for the NRI, or NRI’s spouse or children or for a student for whom the NRI is a legal guardian. There is no limit on the amount which can be claimed as a deduction under this Section. The deduction is available for a maximum of 8 years or till the interest is paid, whichever is earlier. The deduction is not available on the principal repayment of the loan.

d. Deduction under Section 80G

NRIs are allowed to claim a deduction for donations for social causes under Section 80G. 

e. Deduction under Section 80TTA

Non-resident Indians can claim a deduction on income from interest on savings bank account up to a maximum of Rs 10,000 like resident Indians. This is allowed on deposits in savings account (not time deposits) with a bank, co-operative society or post office and is available starting FY 2012-13.

f. Deductions not Allowed to NRIs

Some Investments under Section 80C:

i. Investment in PPF is not allowed (NRIs are not allowed to open new PPF accounts, however, PPF accounts which are opened while they are a resident are allowed to be maintained)

ii. Investments in NSCs

iii. Post office 5-year deposit scheme

iv. Senior citizen savings scheme

g. Investment under RGESS (Section 80CCG)

Deduction under Section 80CCG or Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme was introduced in effective assessment year 2013-14. The main purpose behind this deduction was to increase retail investor participation in equity markets. Upon satisfaction of certain conditions the deduction allowed is lower of 50% of the amount invested in equity shares or Rs 25,000. This deduction is not available to NRIs. No deduction under this section shall be allowed in respect of any assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2018.

h. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DD

Deduction under this Section is allowed for maintenance including medical treatment of a handicapped dependent (a person with a disability as defined in this Section) is not available to NRIs.

i. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80DDB

Deduction under this Section towards medical treatment for a dependent who is disabled (as certified by a prescribed specialist) is available only to residents.

j. Deduction for the Differently-Abled under Section 80U

Deduction for disability where the taxpayer himself suffers from a disability as defined in the Section is allowed only to resident Indians.

k. Exemption on Sale of Property for an NRI

 Long-term capital gains (when the property is held for more than 3 years) is taxed at 20%. Do note that long-term capital gains earned by NRIs are subject to a TDS of 20%.

NRIs are allowed to claim exemptions under Section 54, Section 54 EC, and Section 54F on long-term capital gains. Therefore, an NRI can take benefit of the exemptions from capital gains at the time of filing a return and claim a refund of TDS deducted on Capital Gains. Exemption under Section 54 is available on long-term capital gains on sale of a house property. Exemption under Section 54F is available on sale of any asset other than a house property. 

Exemption is also available under Section 54EC when capital gains from sale of the first property is reinvested into specific bonds.

i. If you are not very keen to reinvest your profit from sale of your first property into another one, then you can invest them in bonds for up to Rs.50 lakhs issued by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) or Rural Electrification Corporation (REC). ii. The homeowner has 6 months’ time to invest the profit in these bonds, although to be able to claim this exemption, you will have to invest before the tax filing deadline. iii. The money invested can be redeemed after 3 years, but cannot be sold before the lapse of 3 years from the date of sale. With effect from the FY 2018-2019, the period of 3 years has been increased to 5 years. iv. With effect from FY 2018-19, the exemption under section 54EC has been restricted to the capital gain arising from the transfer of long term capital assets being land and building or both. Earlier, the exemption was available on transfer on any capital assets. The NRI must make these investments and show relevant proof to the buyer to get no TDS deducted on the capital gains. The NRI can also claim excess TDS deducted at the time of return filing and claim a refund.

l. How are You Taxed When You are a…

i. Resident Individual on a Temporary Foreign Assignment

Rahul worked out of Singapore on a temporary assignment for 4 months and earned in Singaporean Dollars during that time. He got this income credited to a bank account here in India. He has returned back home now. How should he file his income tax return? Rahul’s taxes for this year will depend on his residential status. Since Rahul has not been outside of India for more than 182 days, he will be considered a resident. He will be required to file his income taxes in India this year. This will also include his salary earned during the foreign assignment in Singapore. If the assignment extends to more than 182 days, Rahul’s residential status will change and he will be required to pay taxes only on the Indian income earned thus far. Here, note that Rahul’s foreign income credited to an Indian bank account is taxable in India.

ii. Resident Individual recently moved abroad

Prashant moves to the US on a new assignment. He gets his US income credited to an NRE account in India. He continues with his FD investments and has some money put away in a savings account in India. He just received Form 16 from his Indian employer. Should he file his returns this year in India? NRI or not, every individual must file a tax return if their income exceeds Rs 2,50,000. But note that NRIs are only taxed for income earned/collected in India. So, Rahul will pay taxes on income earned while in India, and income accrued from FDs and savings account.

Prashant’s income from India
Income from Indian employerRs 3,00,000
Interest income from FDsRs 25,000
Bank account savings interestRs 4,500
Gross total incomeRs 3,29,500
Deductions
Section 80C – PPF investmentsRs 20,000
Section 80TTA exemptionRs 4,500
Taxable incomeRs 3,05,000
Tax slab at 10%Rs 5,500
Cess at 3%Rs 165
TDS deducted by employerRs 4,000
TDS deducted by bankRs 4,500
Tax RefundRs 2835

iii. Living in a Foreign Country

It’s been 3 years since Arjun moved to the US. He is paid in US dollars. He has his money invested in a savings account and FDs in India. He has bought an apartment and gave it on rent for Rs.35,000 per month. He gifts his parents a car and transfers Rs.10,000 every month to their account to help with their household expenses during the year. He also transfers Rs 20,000 in his father’s account to meet the cost of the insurance policy he has purchased for his parents.

Rental IncomeRs 4,20,000
Less: Standard 30% deduction under Section 24Rs 1,26,000
Income from house propertyRs 2,94,000
Income from FDs and bank accountRs 30,000
Gross total incomeRs 3,24,000
Deduction under Section 80DRs 20,000
Taxable incomeRs 3,04,000

  Arjun’s gift to his father and money transfer of Rs 10,000 to his mother are exempt from tax. Regarding the insurance expenses on his parents, Rahul can claim a deduction under Section 80D of Rs 20,000, since his father is over 65 years of age. He will be required to file a tax return in India as his gross income exceeds Rs 2,50,000.

iv. NRI Recently Moved Back to India

Returning NRIs assume RNOR (Resident, Non-Ordinary Resident) status when: a. You have been an NRI in 9 of the 10 financial years preceding the year of your return b. You have lived in India for 2 years or less (729 days or less) in the last 7 financial years The IT Department allows RNORs to continue to enjoy exemptions available to NRIs for a period of 2 years after their return. Therefore, deposits held in foreign currency, which are exempt for an NRI, shall be exempt to returning NRIs for 2 years. After these 2 years, returning NRIs are treated as resident individuals.

v. A resident with Global Income

If you are a resident Indian, your global income is taxable in India. This income may have been earned or received outside – but it shall be taxed in India. In case this income is also taxable in another country, you can take benefit of DTAA (Double Tax Avoidance Agreement).

If you are a resident and have earned any income from abroad, remember to disclose it in your income tax return.

m. Income Tax Filing for Foreign Nationals

An expatriate in India is someone who comes to live in India but is not a citizen of India.

5. How can NRIs Avoid Double Taxation?

NRIs can avoid double taxation (meaning: getting taxed on the same income twice in the country of residence and India) by seeking relief from DTAA between the two countries. Under DTAA, there are two methods to claim tax relief – exemption method and tax credit method. By exemption method, NRIs are taxed in only one country and exempted in another. In tax credit method, where the income is taxed in both countries, tax relief can be claimed in the country of residence.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

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Taxation on crypto currencies in 2021

Regulations on cryptocurrencies are different in different countries across the globe. Even the trading process is regulated differently by the financial authorities of the various countries. In India, there is very little clarity about how to deal with crypto. India is still undecided on whether…

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CA for Cryptocurrency Taxation

We are CA for Cryptocurrency Taxation located in the heart of Mumbai. We have handled dozen's of client with myriad complexities on Cryptocurrency Taxation. No matter what crypto coin you are trading in - Be it Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Dash, Ripple etc, we can help you navigate the regulatory path with it.

 

Crypto investors and traders have been plagued by regulatory uncertainty in India. As the Indian Government authorities continue to struggle in fundamentally differentiating. Bitcoin from Blockchain, the subcontinent's economy is positioned to lose out on, what is possibly, the century's biggest revolution.

Having added to the fear, uncertainty and doubt, is the ring-fencing notification issued by the RBI, restricting banking access to Indian crypto exchanges. Despite the speed-bump, believers of the Blockchain technology remain undeterred, thanks to which trading volumes have picked up on the Indian exchanges.

Although there isn’t any clarity in tax legislation, the Indian Revenue Authorities are breathing down the necks of crypto traders. It is, therefore, imperative to accurately compute and report any income from cryptocurrencies.

Lets understand some basic fundamentals in this area

1. What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is one of the earliest forms of cryptocurrency, forming part of the worldwide peer-to-peer payment system.  Cryptocurrency is digital money. It is considered to be more secure that the real money. Cryptocurrency uses something called cryptography to secure its transactions. Cryptography, to put it in simple words is a method of converting comprehensible data into complicated codes which are tough to crack. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies, alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Bitcoin was the first ever cryptocurrency created in the year 2009. Subsequently, there has been a rapid increase in the number of cryptocurrencies that have been created some of which are Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Dash, Ripple etc. Bitcoins, in India, have slowly started gaining popularity, given the efforts of the government to move towards a cashless economy. However, one should know that bitcoins, as of today, are not centrally administered or regulated by any specific body like the RBI which administers physical currency in India. In fact, peer-to-peer transactions with bitcoins are managed using something known as the blockchain technology which serves as a public ledger for all transactions.

2. Where does bitcoin come from or how is it generated?

One can obtain bitcoins either by :
  • Mining

Mining is an activity where an individual (called the “miner”) uses his computer prowess to crack computationally difficult puzzles. The process of cracking such puzzles which are integral to the blockchain technology, help in maintaining them. As a reward for this, the miner gets new bitcoins which is nothing but creation of a bitcoin or mining.
  • Purchasing them from a bitcoin exchange against real currency

Everyone cannot be a bitcoin miner. Hence, you can consider buying bitcoins from bitcoin exchanges and store them in an online bitcoin wallet in digital form. Unicorn, Bitxoxo, Zebpay, Coinbase etc., are some of the bitcoin exchanges presently in India. Such bitcoins would be purchased in consideration for real currency. It would be interesting to note that currently, the value of 1 bitcoin is approximately about INR 3,61,610.
  • Receiving bitcoins in consideration of selling goods and services

Though this may not be a common phenomenon in India currently, there are few savvy businessmen who accept bitcoins (instead of real currency) on sale of goods or services, they deal in.

3. Is bitcoin legal in India?

As earlier discussed, bitcoin, as a medium of payment, has neither been authorized nor been regulated by any central authority in India. Further, no set rules, regulations or guidelines have been laid down for resolving disputes that could arise while dealing with bitcoins. Hence, bitcoin transactions come with their own set of risks. However, given this background, one cannot conclude that bitcoins are illegal as, so far, there has been no ban on bitcoins in India. The Supreme Court of India has in its ruling pronounced on 25 February 2019 required the Government to come up with Cryptocurrency regulation policies. The matter had been adjourned in the hearing on 29 March 2019 and has been rescheduled for hearing in the second week of July 2019.

4. How are bitcoins taxed in India?

The concept of bitcoins being quite new to the Indian market, apparently the government has not yet brought taxability of bitcoins into the statute books. At the same time, the levy of tax on bitcoins cannot be ruled out because the Indian income tax laws have always sought to tax income received irrespective of the form in which it is received. Therefore, the possibility of tax on bitcoins can be looked at under the following circumstances:

Scenario A : Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoins created by mining are self-generated capital assets. Subsequent sale of such bitcoins would, in the ordinary course, give rise to capital gains. However, one may note that the cost of acquisition of a bitcoin cannot be determined as it is a self-generated asset. Furthermore, it does not fall under the provisions of Section 55 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 which specifically defines the cost of acquisition of certain self-generated assets. Therefore, the capital gains computation mechanism fails following the Supreme Court decision in the case of B.C.Srinivasa Shetty. Hence, no capital gains tax would arise on the mining of bitcoins. This position would hold till such time the government thinks of coming up with an amendment to Section 55 of the Act. At this juncture, given that the Indian tax laws are silent on the taxability of bitcoins completely, we thought it right to comment on a probable contrary view by the income tax authorities. There is a possibility that the department may not consider bitcoins as capital assets at all. Hence, the provisions of capital gains would not apply at all. Accordingly, the income tax authorities may choose to tax the value of bitcoins received from mining under the head “Income from other sources”  

Scenario B: Bitcoins held as an investment being transferred in exchange for real currency

If bitcoins, which are capital assets, have been held as an investment and are transferred in exchange for real currency, the appreciation in value would give rise to a long term capital gain or a short term capital gain depending on the period of holding of the bitcoin. Further, long term gains would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% while short term gains would be taxed at the individual slab rate. The cost of acquisition for arriving at long term capital gains will be determined after giving the benefit of indexation. A simple example is given below to understand this :
 
ParticularsValue in INR (Only hypothetical)
No. of bitcoins purchased10
INR equivalent of 1 bitcoin at the time of purchase2.72
Value of bitcoins (A)27.2
INR equivalent of 1 bitcoin on the date of transfer8.72
Value of bitcoins (B)87.2
Capital gains (B - A)60.00
Reiterating the probable contrary view of the income tax authorities discussed under Point 1 above, the IT authorities may not consider Bitcoins as a capital asset and hence the provisions of capital gains would not apply. Accordingly, the income tax authorities may choose to tax the gains from bitcoins under the head “Income from other sources”. Further, if the income gets taxed under “Income from other sources”, the taxpayer would have to pay taxes at a rate as applicable to the tax slab he falls under. For eg, if his taxable income exceeds Rs 10 lakh, he would be liable to a tax @ 30% as against the flat rate of tax of 20% he would be liable to pay if charged to tax under long-term capital gains. The benefit of indexation as would be available if taxed under capital gains, would also not be available if taxed under Income from other sources.

Scenario C: Bitcoins held as stock-in-trade being transferred in exchange for real currency

The income arising out of bitcoins trading activity would give rise to income from business and accordingly, the profits arising out of such business would be subject to tax as per the individual slab rates.

Scenario D: Bitcoins being received as consideration on sale of goods and services

Bitcoins being received so shall be treated on par with receipt of money. It would constitute income in the hands of the recipient. Further, since the recipient received this income out of a business or profession, he would be taxed, normally, under the head profits or gains from business or profession. As regards the disclosure requirement of bitcoins in the income tax return forms, there continues to be a lack of clarity. In the budget 2018, our Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, has stated in the budget speech, “112. Distributed ledger system or the blockchain technology allows the organisation of any chain of records or transactions without the need for intermediaries. The Government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system. The Government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”Further, the Central Bank also has chosen to reinforce its earlier message to “users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (“VCs”) including bitcoins regarding the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks associated in dealing with such VCs.” Therefore, considering that bitcoin transactions are gradually picking up in India, while, laws regulating them are significantly absent, we are hopeful that the government will come up with a notification soon to dispel the ambiguity around the legality of bitcoins, their taxability and disclosure requirement of bitcoins. While this article aims at discussing the taxability of Bitcoins only, the tax treatment on transacting with other cryptocurrencies would also be similar to that in the case of Bitcoins.  
 
CA for Cryptocurrency Taxation | Bitcoin Taxation | Ethereum Taxation