NRI selling inherited property in India: Tax Implications 2020

Becoming an NRI means staying away from one’s home country. Staying away doesn’t let you stay in the house where you spent your entire childhood. When you inherit these properties, you have multiple options. You can keep it as your retirement plan, rent it out, gift it to your relatives or sell it for good if you want to stay abroad after retirement. In this article, we will understand the elements of inherited property in India and the tax implications for an NRI selling inherited property in India and other related aspects.

In this Article, we will cover:

NRI selling inherited property in India

Before we move ahead, it’s better that we understand what are the properties NRIs can deal in, which one’s can they buy and what they can inherit in India.

NRI and Real Estate: What properties can an NRI buy and inherit?

NRIs can buy both residential and commercial properties in India. However, they can not buy any Agricultural Land, Farm House or Plantation property. They can only be inherited or received as gifts.

Now, it’s clear that almost every property can be inherited by NRIs so let’s explore more. In the next section we will look into taxation on inheritance of property.

NRI selling inherited property in India: Tax Implications 2020

Is there any tax on inheritance of property for NRIs?

No. There are no taxes on inheritance of property for NRIs. Capital gain does not arise on inheritance of a property as the tax laws specifically exempt assets received by way of an inheritance. However, capital gains tax shall be applicable when the inherited property is sold.

This brings us to the next segment where we will understand how can the inherited property be dealt with and the associated taxation. There are only a few options that can follow inheritance of the property, which are:

  1. NRI continues ownership of property: An NRI can choose to continue the ownership of the inherited property. There are no taxes on continuing the ownership of the property. There is a catch here, if only one property is held by an NRI, then he/she can keep it vacant and no taxes will be charged. However, if the NRI holds more than one property in India then:
  • only one of the houses will be treated as self-occupied and all others will be treated as deemed to be let out
  • In such cases, a notional rent is computed and offered to tax as if the property was rented out
  1. Rent from inherited Property: The property that is inherited can be rented out to tenants and the income from rent is taxable. This tax can be deducted on source by the tenant at 31.2% or the tenant can pay the complete rent and the NRI will pay the taxes while filing his returns.
  1. Sale or gift of inherited Property: The inherited property can be gifted to another resident, NRI or PIO or sold off. In case of a gift to a non-relative, the recipient will have to pay tax on the market value of the property that is received as a gift. Also, there are taxes on capital gains depending on whether it is a long term or short term sale. We will understand the taxation aspect of selling a property in India in the next few segments.

Before we get into taxation, we must explore one middle process which is:

Transfer of Inherited property in India

Transfer of inherited property refers to transferring the registration of a property that you have inherited from your father, mother or next of kin, to your name. For the transfer of Inherited Property in India, you will need the following documents:

  • Registered Will
  • Succession Certificate (in case of no will)
  • Purchase Deed and Registration Papers
  • Encumbrance Certificate (validates that the property is free from any monetary and legal liabilities and disputes)
  • Khata (proof of the entry of the person’s property in the records of the Municipality or Corporation)

After successfully inheriting the property, an NRI can go ahead with the sale of the property which we will discuss in the next segment.

NRI selling inherited property in India

Sale of property is a very tiresome job especially when you are an NRI. In the next few segments we will explore and understand the multiple questions that an NRI asks concerning the sale of inherited property in India.

Can NRI sell inherited property in India?

Yes. NRIs can sell inherited property in India. Sale of property will have tax implications which are either long term and short term. Let’s understand them:

NRI selling property in India Tax

Minimum Holding Period for Long Term Capital Gains2 years
Nature of Profits/IncomeTax LiableTDS
Short Term Capital Gains TaxationAs per tax slab30%
Long Term Capital Gains Taxation20%20% (plus surcharge and cess) with indexation benefits

NRIs guide to selling property in India 

Tax Liable

From what we have discussed, we understood that the taxation on the sale of property is different for different terms of capital gains. If you sell the inherited property before 2 years, you will be liable for short term capital gains as per your tax slab and selling the property after 2 years will bring in a 20% tax rate. 

Also Read: Investment in India by NRI: Real Estate 2020

TDS on sale of property by NRI

The TDS is same in case of a long term capital gain, deducted at 20% along with surcharge and cess with indexation benefits, but the TDS in case of a short term capital gain will be deducted at 30% along with surcharge and cess with indexation benefits.

Another question that is often asked revolves around Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), Can they sell inherited property in India? Is taxation any different from NRIs?

OCI selling property in India tax 

Firstly, YES! An OCI can sell inherited property in India as they are given the similar benefits as an NRI. The taxation on the sale of property by OCIs is the same as it is for an NRI.

We have discussed the major aspects of inheriting a property in India by NRIs and what follows next. To browse through more queries and doubts on NRI selling inherited property in India, you can visit our SBNRI Blog.


US Citizen inheriting property India?

An US Citizen can inherit property in India if he/she is a PIO/OCI. Only the US citizens with an Indian Origin can inherit property in India. To know more about how an NRI can invest in Real Estate in India, contact us using the button below.
Invest in Real Estate in India

How can I avoid capital gains tax on inherited property in India?

There is no capital gains tax on inheritance of property in India. 

However, if you want to avoid capital gain taxes on sale of inherited property, you can opt for any of the following steps:

1. When the amount of long-term gain is invested for purchase/construction of a new residential house property in India, a deduction to the extent of the gains invested shall be available. The new property should be purchased either one year before or two years after the date of transfer or the property should be constructed within three years from date of transfer.

2. The gains can be temporarily invested under the ‘capital gains account scheme’ by opening an account with specified banks or institutions in India. The gains can be held in this account for three years within which period the amount needs to be withdrawn for purchase or construction of the new residential property

3. Capital gain amount to the extent of 50 lakh may also be invested in specified bonds within six months from the date of transfer of the long term capital asset to obtain a deduction from capital gains tax

Can NRI sell property in India without an Aadhar card?

Yes. An NRI can sell property in India without an Aadhar Card as it is not mandatory for NRIs to have an Aadhar Card. The buyer must check for an NRO Account in the name of the NRI though where the proceeds from the sale of property will be deposited.

How can buyers deduct TDS u/s 195 if they are buying a property from NRI i.e. property sale by NRI?

When a buyer purchases a property from a NRI, the transaction is covered u/s 195 of Income Tax Act and for payment of TDS, the TAN (Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number) of the buyer is mandatory without which the buyer will not be able to make payment of TDS.

To deduct TDS, buyers must consult their tax advisor for the following:

1. Obtain a TAN
2. Deduct and deposit TDS to authorities within seven days from the end of the month in which the payment or credit has been made
3. File Form 27Q (withholding tax return) within 31 days from the end of the quarter
4. Issue Form 16A within 15 days from the due date of filing the withholding tax return

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