RBI Concepts: Types of Bank Deposits and Advances for NRIs/NRIs/PIOs/OCBs #8

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1) Ordinary Non-Resident Rupee Accounts (NRO Accounts):
These are Rupee denominated non-repatriable accounts and can be in the form of savings, current recurring or fixed deposits. These accounts can be opened jointly with residents in India. When an Indian National / PIO resident in India leaves for taking up employment, etc. outside the country, his bank account in India gets designated as NRO account.
The deposits can be used to make all legitimate payments in rupees. Interest income, from NRO accounts is taxable. Interest income, net of taxes is reportable. NRO account can be funded through any of the following sources:
(i) By proceeds of foreign exchange remittance from abroad through banking channels in an approved manner
(ii) By proceeds of foreign currency notes and traveler cheques brought into India by the non-resident while on a temporary visit to India
(iii) By transfer from an existing non-resident account in the name of the same person
(iv) By funds from a local source representing bonafide transactions in rupees
Conditions regarding repatriation of balances in NRO accounts:
(i) Repatriation is allowed up to US dollars 1 million per calendar year for any purpose from the balances in NRO accounts subject to payment of applicable taxes
(ii) Limit of US dollars 1 million includes sale proceeds of immovable properties held by NRIs / PIOs for a period of 10 years
(iii) In case a property is sold after being held for less than 10 years, remittance can be made if the sale proceeds have been held by the NRI/PIO for the balance period

2) Non-Resident (External) Rupee Accounts (NRE Accounts):
NRIs, PIOs, OCBs are eligible to open NRE Accounts. These are rupee denominated accounts and can be in the form of savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit accounts. Accounts can be opened by remittance of funds in free foreign exchange. Foreign exchange brought in legally, repatriable incomes of the account holder, etc. can be credited to the account. Joint operation with other NRIs/PIOs is permitted. Power of attorney can be granted to residents for operation of accounts. The deposits can be used for all legitimate purposes. The balance in the account is freely repatriable. Interest lying to the credit of NRE accounts is exempt from tax in the hands of the NRI. Funds held in NRE accounts may be freely transferred to FCNR accounts of the same account holder. Likewise, funds held in FCNR accounts may be transferred to NRE accounts of the same account holders. Immediately upon return of the account holder to India and on his becoming a resident in India, NRE Account will be re-designated as Resident Rupee Account or converted to RFC account as per the option of the account holder. However, if the account holder is only on a short visit to India, the account will continue to be treated as NRE account.
The initial deposit in NRE account can be made in any of the following manners:
(i) By proceeds of foreign exchange remittances from abroad through banking channels in an approved manner
(ii) By proceeds of foreign currency notes and traveler cheques brought into India by the non-resident while on a temporary visit to India
(iii) By transfer from an existing NRE Account of the same person

3) Foreign Currency (Non –Resident) Accounts (Banks) (FCNR (B) Accounts):
NRIs / PIOs / OCBs are permitted to open such accounts in US Dollars, Sterling Pounds, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen and Euro. The account may be opened only in the form of term deposit for any of the following maturity periods;
(i) one year and above but less than two years,
(ii) two years and above but less than three years,
(iii) three years and above but less than four years,
(iv) four years and above but less than five years, and
(v) five years.
Interest income is tax free in the hands of NRI until he maintains a non-resident status or a resident but not ordinarily resident status under the Indian tax laws. Money lying in FCNR (B) accounts can also be utilised for local disbursements including payment for exports from India, repatriation of funds abroad and for making investments in India, as per foreign investment guidelines.

4) Non-Resident (Non-Repatriable) Rupee Deposit Accounts (NRNR Accounts):
NRIs / PIOs / OCBs, other non-resident Individuals/entities are permitted to open these accounts by transfer of freely convertible foreign currency funds from abroad, or from NRE / FCNR accounts. Non-residents can open joint accounts with other Non-Residents (except Pakistan and Bangladeshi nationals) or resident close relatives in India. Deposits can be held jointly with a resident. Deposits can be for a period from 6 months to 3 years, and can be renewed further. Accounts may also be opened by transfer of funds from the existing NRE/FCNR accounts of the non-resident accounts holders. The principal is non-repatriable; interest can be repatriated. There is no income tax on the interest. Accounts under the Non-Resident (Non-Repatriable) Rupee Deposit Scheme may be opened in Indian rupees out of the funds in freely convertible foreign exchange transferred for the purpose to India in an approved manner from the country of residence of the prospective non-resident account holder or from any other country. Transfer of funds from the existing NRE / FCNR Accounts of the non-resident account holder may also open accounts.

5) Non-Resident (Special) Rupee Accounts with banks in India:
NRIs/PIOs presently have the facility of maintaining bank accounts and undertaking financial transactions in India subject to certain exchange control regulations. In order to simplify the procedures and to provide greater freedom to NRIs/PIOs for putting through financial transactions in India, NRIs and PIOs are now permitted to open bank accounts in India, which will be at par with rupee accounts, maintained by residents. They can now open Non-Resident (Special) Rupee Accounts with banks in India which will have the same facilities and restrictions as are applicable to rupee accounts maintained in India by residents relating to repatriation of funds held in these accounts and/or income/interest earned on them. The procedure for opening such accounts is the same as that of domestic accounts of resident individuals. The existing facilities for NRIs / PIOs to maintain and operate NRO, NRE and FCNR accounts also continues. The repatriation facilities available under these accounts will continue as before.

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