Indians account for highest immigration into the UK

london-snow

Next time you go to the United Kingdom, chances are you will see more Indians than any other ethnic group there. This is because, Indians accounted for the highest immigration into the UK of any ethnic group in the last decade.  Indians toppled the Irish who previously held the top spot among the immigrants.

The census also gives credence to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s claims of a truly cosmopolitan city. The report shows that London became the first region in UK where the White British ethnic population is in a minority. Around one in three London residents are born overseas, and 24% are non-UK nationals.

As for the UK, of the 7% rise in its population from the previous decade, 60% is attributed to immigration, with the biggest chunk from the Indian subcontinent.

In 2001, the most common countries of origin were Ireland, India, Pakistan and Germany. Ireland has now fallen to fourth place, with the influx of Poles jumping by 10. White ethnic Britons in the country as a whole dropped to the psychologically-sensitive 80% mark at the end of 2011, down from 87% in 2001.

Supporters of a multicultural society point out that the data shows up exactly how the face of Britain has changed in the past 10 years, and London – which is far ahead of the curve on being a truly international city – is an example of the new society that Britain has to come to terms with, and is no different from other EU countries.

The question that arises from this is; will UK continue to be immigrant friendly as the white ethnic population keeps sliding or will the government shut its doors to the immigrants.

Impact on gifts received by Indian Americans

tax

In the US, tax on gifts is levied in the hands of the donor or person making the gift and not the receiver. Moreover, this only applies where the person making the gift is a US taxpayer, that is, a US resident, green card holder or citizen. Where a gift is made by a person resident in India to a US person, no gift tax is payable as the donor is not a US taxpayer. However, the person receiving the gift, being a US taxpayer, must fill up form 3520 – ‘Annual return to report transactions with foreign trusts and receipt of certain foreign gifts’
Expert’s advice “Even if there is no tax liability at the time of receiving the gift, US residents, citizens and Green Card holders who receive gifts over $100,000 from someone in India must file Form 3520 along with their tax return. This applies to financial assets such as cash, investments and also physical assets like property.”

In case the gift is in the form of property, the recipient must disclose the fair market value of the property on the date of the gift on Form 3520.

Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks inaugurated its first store in India

India a country known for tea lovers has witnessed yet another historic moment; Starbucks the coffee giant has opened its first store in India in association with Tata Global Beverages.

Like KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut, Starbucks too has menu items that reflect local as well as western tastes, featuring items such as Elaichi Mawa croissants – made with cardamom and milk solids – and tandoori paneer rolls.
With over 42 items on the menu, seating capacity of 120 people and free Wi-Fi it promises to appeal both youngsters as well as the office executives.

With the likes of Cafe Coffee Day, that has around 1,350 outlets (current market leader) along with a host of international players, like Gloria Jean’s, Costa Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf already scrambling to catch up. Dunkin Donuts which also debuted this year, it would be interesting to know how the coffee giant goes about its business in India.

The Legendary Superstar of Bollywood turns 70 today

Call him – Big B, Angry Young Man, Sr. Bachchan or India’s Greatest Superstar – one thing is certain, Amitabh Bachchan is the most known face of the Indian Film Industry. The legendary Bollywood mega-star Amitabh Bachchan turns 70 today, and we would like to wish him all the happiness and good health forever.

He stands tall at 6′ 2″ and is the biggest star of the Indian film industry. Amitabh made his acting debut with “Saat Hindustani” in 1969 and there has been no looking back for Big B. He rose to stardom between 1973 and 1983 and it was during this period that he earned the catchphrase, ‘Angry young Man’ with Prakash Mehra’s “Zanjeer”.

After his illustrious movie career he started his iconic innings on the small screen with Kaun Banega Crorepati. His debut with KBC as TV host brought him back to prominence. Now in its 6th season, no host has been as popular or loved by audiences as much as AB senior.

Amitji also tried his hand at politics after deciding to take a break from Bollywood. Although his political ambitions were short-lived, he still had a magical stint in politics in the year 1984. He succeeded in defeating Hemvanti Nandan Bahuguna.

He has received the Padma Shri in 1984 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to cinema.

The Bollywood superstar has reinvented himself at each instance. When there was a hint of him going out of the frame and he came back even stronger. The way he survived the personal and professional setbacks only adds to the myth of the persona he so humbly carries on his now lean shoulders.

Remit2India NRI Family Day celebrated in New Delhi with great enthusiasm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Known for its historical and political importance as also for its famous architectural monuments like the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s tomb and the Red Fort, India’s capital witnessed a spectacular evening this Sunday, filled with a wide variety of performances, activities and contests at the NRI Family Day, organized by Remit2India.

Remit2India, that serves over a million NRIs worldwide with its online money transfer service, extended its consumer connect initiative to New Delhi and recently gave 500 of its NRI families and friends a reason to celebrate. The Lalit, New Delhi played host to Remit2India NRI Family Day, an evening that witnessed a mélange of entertainment for each and every one present. From a breathtaking performance by India’s fastest guitarist Apernit Singh, to dance performances by talented international artists, the event had it all. The evening also witnessed activities like no other, and included free health check-ups, face painting, tarot card reading & photo sessions, all of which saw excellent participation from the families.

 

Speaking on this occasion, Kunnal Sharma, Business Head – Global Remittances, TimesofMoney said, “No countrywide celebration is complete without Delhi on its map. And true to its reputation, the city welcomed the NRI Family Day with great enthusiasm. We are delighted with the overwhelming response we received from over 500 NRI families for the Remit2India NRI Family Day. The event has provided us an opportunity to connect with our valuable customers, and thank them and their families for their continued support.”

Key partners for the event included Harit Dharaa, Jet Airways, Leonia Resorts, LIC Housing Finance Ltd., Moolchand Hospital and Volvo.

Remit2India The Light of India Awards 2012 comes to your television

Remit2India the pioneer in online money transfer service to India has, over the past 11 years strived to offer its customer a simple, trusted and secure money transfer service.

Today we take pride of having over a million happy customers and strive in making our services better every day.

‘Remit2India The Light of India Awards’, our humble initiative introduced last year to thank the people that have helped shape the image of India around the world, witnessed another stupendous gathering this year. Arguably one of the largest gatherings of eminent Indians abroad under one roof.

Global Indians such as Arun Sarin (ex-CEO Vodafone), Lisa Ray (Model & Actress), Sabeer Bhatia (founder hotmail), Padma Lakshmi (Model, host & actress) and many more graced the occasion with their presence.

Catch them receiving the awards on SONY 18th August 2012 at 6:30 PM (local time) on your television sets.

Remit2India wishes the Indian Olympics 2012 contingent the very best

Chak De India!

As the world wakes up to embrace the biggest sporting affair ‘The 30th edition of the Olympics games’ in London, over a billion population back home would be waiting anxiously to see its heroes win some medals.
Unlike China, India is a sleeping giant when it comes to the Olympics but this time they, too, have arrived with hope in their hearts and fire in the belly.
India has send an 83-member athlete team to London; this is India’s largest contingent ever at the games. The athletes will participate in 13 sporting categories which include:-

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Boxing
  • Field hockey
  • Judo
  • Rowing
  • Shooting
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

As the world focuses on the big names, keep an eye on the Indians too, with a prayer on your lips. They too, will be trying to raise the bar.

Are you looking to return back home?

Watch out for the clause in Wealth Tax Act, highlighted in the new budget 2012

Wealth tax: A quick summary
All resident Indians are required to pay wealth tax and file a wealth tax return if their net wealth from assets exceeds Rs 30 lakh. ‘Assets’ in this case include land, property, jewellery, cars, aircrafts, yachts and cash in excess of Rs 50,000. For Resident Indians (Resident Ordinary Residents – ROR), wealth tax is payable on all these assets, irrespective of whether they are located in India or abroad.
For Non Resident Indians (NRIs), wealth tax is payable only on those assets that are located in India.

The new clause
A new clause has been added to section 17 of the Wealth Tax Act. This section deals with ‘wealth escaping assessment.’ Under this section, if a taxpayer fails to disclose certain assets and pay wealth tax on those assets, the assessing officer has the right to open the taxpayer’s returns for the last 4 years. In addition, if this net wealth that has escaped assessment is likely to be more than Rs 10 lakh, the assessing officer has the right to open returns for the last 6 years.
The intention of the new proviso is to bring to book all those tax evaders with significant assets in offshore locations or global tax havens.

Grey area
But this clause has a shade of grey. According to this clause, asset includes financial interest in any entity. That is, it could include shareholding in foreign entities. However, this inclusion of financial interest appears only in this clause. The main definition of ‘asset’ as defined in the Wealth Tax Act does not seem to be amended to include financial interest. One can only wait for clarity on this aspect.

How NRIs are benefiting from investing in Indian real estate

With real estate prices around the world sinking, investing in Indian real estate is ringing. This is the reality of the situation. Non know this better than the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

However, before venturing into investment in real estate in India, the Non-Resident Indians in particular should take care of the provisions contained in the Foreign Exchange Management Act as well as the Income-tax Act.

A fair knowledge of these two enactments will help the Non-Resident Indians to take a wise decision of investment in real estate keeping in view the provisions of law affecting such real estate investment.

As per the said Foreign Exchange Management Act an Indian citizen who resides outside India is permitted to acquire any immovable property in India other then agricultural/plantation property or a farm house. Thus, it is very clear that Non-Resident Indians enjoy almost all the privileges which are enjoyed by a resident Indian with reference to purchase of immovable property in India.

As per the said Foreign Exchange Management Act an Indian citizen who is a resident outside India popularly known as Non-Resident Indian has the permission for the following activities with reference to acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India :-

1. acquire immovable property other than agricultural land/plantation property or a farm house by way of purchase subject to the conditions regarding RBI rules mentioned in clause (a) of the Regulation;

2. acquire any immovable property other than agricultural land / plantation property / farm house by way of gift from an Indian citizen resident outside India or from a PIO;

3. acquire property by inheritance;

4. transfer by way of sale any immovable property other than agricultural / plantation property of a farm house by way of sale to a person resident in India;

5. transfer agricultural land / farm house or plantation property way of gift or sale to an Indian citizen resident in India;

6. transfer residential or commercial property in India by way of gift to a person resident in India or to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or to a person of Indian origin resident outside India.

Before making any investment in real estate the Non-Resident Indian should very carefully prepare the basic objective or the purpose of making investment in real estate sector in India.  Is it for investment in real estate or acquiring a residential property for self use.

 

Purchase of Property by NRI for Self Use

The Non-Resident Indian can make investment in a residential property for his own use.  This property can be in the form of ownership flat or it could be in the form of buying a piece of land and constructing a house thereon.  In both the situations it is of advantage for a Non-Resident Indian to make investment in a residential self-occupied property by taking a loan.

The Non-Resident Indian would be very happy to note that if he takes loan for a self-occupied house property, then he would enjoy a deduction from his Indian income in respect of interest paid on loan taken for such self-occupied residential property. This loan can be taken either from the bank or financial institution so also the loan can be taken from any member of the family or friend or relative. The maximum deduction in respect of interest on loan that is allowed for self occupied house property is Rs. 1,50,000.

Similarly, as per the provisions contained in section 80C of the Income-tax Act, 1961 within the overall deduction of Rs. 1 lakh the Non-Resident Indian just like a Resident Indian would also enjoy deduction in respect of repayment of the housing loan for self occupied property. However, the deduction for repayment of the loan would be permissible only in respect of loan taken from bank, financial institution etc., etc. Hence, whenever the Non-Resident Indian is contemplating to purchase a residential house property for self use, then surely the best investment strategy would be to take loan and make investment in your lovely self occupied house property.

Real Estate Investment for Rental Income

The Non-Resident Indian can make investment in a residential property or in a commercial property with the objective of receiving a regular flow of rental income. The provisions of taxing rental income are simple, easy and investor friendly.  Broadly speaking, from the rental income derived by a Non-Resident Indian deduction is available in respect of actual payment of house tax as also a special 30 per cent deduction is available towards repairs, maintenance and collection charges of the property.

This special deduction is permissible irrespective of the fact whether you spend on the repairs or you do not spend on repairs.  Thus, this is a big deduction available from rental income which is instrumental in cutting down the tax payment by a a Non-Resident Indian on rental income.

Another important feature of taxation relates to complete deduction without any upper limit of the interest paid by the Non-Resident Indian for purchase of property which is given on rent.  Thus, the entire interest payment for purchase of property which is given on rent is allowed as a deduction from the rental income.  This is a great big advantage.  Hence, it is worthwhile for the Non-Resident Indian to make investment in real estate specially the real estate acquired for receiving a fixed flow of rental income by taking a loan for such purchase.

 

Taxation on NRI accounts

There are different types of bank accounts that are used by Non Resident Indians (NRI) and the two most common ones are the Non Resident Ordinary (NRO) and the Non Resident External (NRE) bank account.
There are different ways in which the money can be handled in these accounts in terms of the repatriation of the amounts and there is also a tax angle that will have to be considered for the individual non resident when they earn income from these account. With several changes recently with respect to these accounts it is important to take a close look at the position.

Nature of account
The NRO savings bank account is a rupee account usually consisting of money earned in India before or after becoming a NRI. A specified amount is repatriable abroad from this account for specific purposes. This is the reason why most of the income that is earned in India can be put here. On the other hand the NRE savings bank account is meant for fund that would be repatriated and hence the amount of the contribution to the bank account also comes from outside earnings in foreign exchange.
The principal as well as interest on the account is repatriable. This account is also present in rupees so there is a currency risk that is present at the time of transfer of money. There are two types of accounts where the amounts can be invested and the first one is the savings account mentioned above. Further the investor can also ensure that there are fixed deposits that can be put with the bank so these will offer an additional investment opportunity for the individual Non Resident Indian.

Interest rate changes
One of the major changes that have been witnessed in the account in recent times is that the interest rate on the NRE fixed deposits has been decontrolled. This means that the banks are free to price the deposits as they deem fit and the immediate impact of this has been that the rates have shot up to over 9% in most cases. This is a significant rise for the investor and they will be able to ensure that there is a good return that they are getting on their investment. While there is this kind of benefit that is present a need is also present to take a careful look at how the taxation will work out.

Tax free
What will come as a bonanza for the non resident investors is the fact that the income earned in the form of interest from the NRE accounts are tax free in their hands. There is no taxation on the interest that is earned here and for this reason there will also not be any Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on the income earned here. This is a good thing because the individual will be free to ensure that they are investing what they want into the deposits and there is no tax element that they have to worry about.
This reduces the situation of having to claim back amounts from the government as refunds after filing the tax return. The interest earned on the savings bank NRE account as well as the fixed deposit NRE account will be tax free for the investor.
On the other hand when it comes to the NRO account the amount that is earned here is taxable. So the first thing that the NRI has to plan for is the fact that any income from such accounts will have to be included in the tax working. In many cases the fact that the income is taxable might not be such a major point because the total income earned by the NRI and taxable in India might not be very high so they might not have to pay tax.

However there will be a TDS that is done on the account and hence there could be a situation where the NRI will have to go and get a refund of the amount that they have faced as a deduction from the government. This will be done only when they file a return with the necessary details and the amount will be refunded back to them.

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