5 Common Mistakes NRIs Make When Investing in India

Considering the boom in the Indian market, many NRIs are heavily investing in India to grow their wealth. There are a host of NRI investment options in India. They can invest in stock markets, mutual funds, FDs, gold and a lot more. While some NRIs are getting the full advantage of their investment in India, due to lack of experience and expert advice, others commit mistakes that complicate things later on. Here are 5 common mistakes NRIs make when investing in India. 

5 Common Mistakes NRIs Make When Investing in India
5 Common Mistakes NRIs Make When Investing in India

Also Read: NRI Repatriable Demat Account: Meaning and Purpose

5 common mistakes NRIs make when investing in India

1. Keep using their resident accounts

Generally, NRIs continue with their resident accounts as before, which is not legal. As per the RBI guidelines, once someone attains NRI status, he/she can’t operate a resident account to conduct transactions in India. Non Resident Indians are required to change their bank account and Demat account, and KYC details. If you want to use your resident accounts after a change in resident status, you must convert the savings account into an NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) account and Demat account into an NRO Demat account. If you have invested in mutual funds, you must inform your AMC about the status change and update the KYC details. 

You can’t use the usual trading account for NRI investment in stock market. NRIs planning to trade in shares and non-convertible debentures of Indian companies on the Indian stock exchange need to open a designated Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) account. Non-compliance may carry heavy financial penalties from the regulator. 

NRIs can continue with their PPF account opened in India, but it can’t be extended beyond 15 years (maturity period) and they can’t open a new PPF account as an NRI. 

2. Ignore tax implications

NRI investment in India in financial instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, gold, bonds, IPOs, etc. is subject to TDS (tax deducted at source). For example, TDS for LTCG made in equity funds is applicable at 10% and 20% for debt funds. For NRIs who have rented property in India, there is compulsory TDS to be paid by the tenant at the rate of 30%. Likewise, TDS of 20% – 30% is applicable on capital gains made from sale of property by an NRI. 

Also Read: NRI Capital Gains Tax on Shares 2021 | Tax Slab for NRIs 2021-22

Moreover, NRIs often pay double tax i.e. in India and where they live. You must know that India has signed Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with more than 90 countries in the world. NRIs living in these countries don’t have to pay double tax. If an NRI has already paid taxes in India for any type of capital gains, he/she is not required to pay tax for the same in the country of their residence. 

3. Disproportionate investment in real estate

While young tech-savvy NRIs tend to diversify their portfolio, most NRIs still disproportionately invest in traditional fixed-return assets such as real estate, bank FDs and gold. However, it makes little financial sense in terms of diversification and income generation. Rental yields of 2 – 3% from residential properties are very low. Moreover, maintenance costs of property are quite high.

Also Read: Can an NRI buy or own property in India?

For the last few years the Indian market has changed a lot and so has the perception of informed investors’. There are several more investment avenues available in India that are known to perform better and also come with better liquidity. Some of the NRI investment options in India that offer higher returns include direct equity, ETFs, mutual funds, IPOs, NCDs, etc. 

Also Read: TDS on Sale of Property by NRI (Non-Resident Indian) in India

4. Not seeking professional help for investment

It is one of the common mistakes made by investors including NRIs. Generally, people prefer to take advice from relatives and acquaintances when investing in the market. To get desired returns and avoid potential hurdles, you must make informed decisions. First of all you should be clear about your financial goals, future plans like returning to India, etc. If you are investing in both countries, make sure these investments are working together towards your financial goals. 

NRIs must consult certified investment professionals who keep abreast of markets and are well versed in the rules and regulations for both countries. They will guide you in the NRI investment process and also provides robust planning that will facilitate smooth transfers of your assets in India and abroad in case of any unfortunate event. 

NRI Investment in Mutual Funds | Expert Advice

5. Overlook the changes in changes in the status of previous investments

NRIs must review or settle their investments made before leaving India because they may not be able to enjoy the same privileges and retain them as before. For example NSCs are considered encashed, a PPF account can’t be continued beyond 15 years and you won’t be eligible to hold savings or postal schemes once you attain the NRI status. 

Also Read: Common problems faced by NRIs when investing in India

These are some of the most common mistakes NRIs make when investing in India. You must keep the above points in mind to ensure your hard-earned money is invested judiciously. SBNRI has a team of experts to help NRIs invest in India, in tax filing and NRE account opening, etc. You can download SBNRI App from the Google Play Store or App Store to ask any questions related to investment in stock market/ mutual funds, NRI account opening online and tax filing in India. To ask any questions, click on the button below. Also visit our blog and YouTube channel for more details. 

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FAQs

Who is NRI?

As per the Indian Income Tax Law, an individual will be treated as a resident Indian for a year if he/she satisfies any of the following conditions:
– He/ she has lived in India for a period of at least 182 days during the financial year. Or
– He/ she has lived in India for a period of 60 days or more in the year and for a period of at least 365 days or more in the preceding four years.
If the individual satisfies any one or both the conditions, he/she is considered a resident.  If he/she satisfies no conditions, he/she will become a Non-Resident Indian (NRI). 

How can I invest in Indian stock markets through PIS?

You need to open an NRE (Non-Resident External) account with a RBI-registered bank to invest in stock markets. You can have a single PIS account for investment in stock markets.

What are some important facts that NRI investors need to know?

Here are some important facts about NRI investment in India:
– NRIs can’t participate in intraday trading in stock markets.  
– NRIs can only trade on a delivery basis in the Indian stock market. 
– NRIs can acquire shares and convertible debentures of an Indian company via the stock exchange, but there is a ceiling for overall investment. 
– As per an RBI mandate, NRIs are barred from investing in some stocks and sectors. 
– NRIs can’t trade in some financial instruments like currency derivatives and commodities. 

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