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Old 28th April 2009, 22:52   #1
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Smile NRI Returned ! Now What ? Are you One ?

This thread is intended to bring Returned Indians (or planning to return soon) from different countries to one discussion place. There are huge number of issues, doubts, clarifications, sharing etc. that could be worth posting and very helpful to many people. I myself had lot of doubts and many of them are still not cleared by social interactions. Some of them I will pin point here and expect other members to share their valuable views and experiences in related matters.

I spent 5 years in Oman from 2001 to 2005. It was on a proper Labour Visa with family status. As everyone else, I opened my bank account with Bank Muscat (Savings Acc, but no Cheque book for Savings like Indian Banking). That account is maintained from 2002 till date (good 7 years !). Everything is done online, therefore there is never a chance that account gets closed unless I myself write to them requesting for a closure. I heard from many sources that an NRI who was on a work Visa abroad can maintain Bank Accounts as long as one wants regardless of the place of residence later. Now dear members, please share your knowledge on this.

I have my direct sister and family, own uncle and family, cousine sister and family, wife's cousines' families and many friends and family who are working and staying in Oman. Same applies to Dubai, Saudi, Baharain and Kuwait too. As usual with many family members, we still have money matters that goes in the 'give and take' situations whenever someone is in need. Most of such things are through my Bank Muscat account. As long as money that comes to India from Mid East is 'tax-free', I dont have any issues legally, as I understand. If anyone is in the similar situation, please post your suggestions or experience.

Since, I spent 5 years in a business that dealt with top-class and very well-to-do citizens of Oman, I can invite some of them to invest in any projects in India. But where do we stand legally in such things ? As a result of my enquiries and discussions with few auditors and consultants, money coming into India for Govt approved projects have no blocks nor scrutiny. But how do we pay the profits back to them ? Transfering money out of India has 101 hurdles ahead, specially when its above few lakhs.

There are plenty of NRIs losing jobs and returning totally unprepared and unexpected. Do we have any system that can help them settle back ? Do our governments lend a hand on any legal or social matters ? I have not heard of any so far, except few totally private enterprises that has more of a charitable nature. Please post some links or tips if someone knows about it.

Now its about NRO/NRE accounts that one maintain back in India while being abroad. Majority of NRIs maintain an account in one of the banks. When I returned, my HDFC executive had told me to close all my 3 NRE and NRO accounts within 6 months. I had one in Canara Bank too. Although none contacted me, I closed it myself, thinking I should not get into trouble due to this. What if someone do not close these accounts and continue using them ?

My return was unprepared. Me and wife had no plans to return atleast for another 5 years. She was employed with one of the top 5 companies. My company Chairman (second employer) got into some legal issues and the govt closed down the company leaving around 30 people thrown into streets, including missing the last 2 months salary and perks. I could have looked for a similar job at that time, but our passports were taken away and locked at the ROP (Royal Oman Police) Crime Investigation department. At the same time, wifee was pregnant for a month and somehow things didnt look promising for us. For my luck, one of the senior ROP official was my junior in the first company I worked. So, I managed to get my passport and the permission to either find another job or leave the country. Therefore the decision to return was taken well-thought. We always thank God, things whatever happend at that time, happend for our good. We are happy to be in our own soil, our dear motherland, enjoying great freedom of mind and soul ! This is real freedom.. Until one goes out of the country and feels the difference, its tough to understand the full meaning of this freedom people enjoy here.

I will keep updating many other issues that are faced by my own family members who have returned in different years. Lets make this thread filled with sharing of knowledge, experiences, troubles, thereby helping each other for a better life in our own soil !
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Old 28th April 2009, 23:02   #2
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i am happy for you and your family. good post. i love happy endings. sniff sniff!

i agree with you about the freedom (a bit too much at times) and sense of belongingness we get to enjoy in our own country.
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Old 28th April 2009, 23:12   #3
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Good to know that you are back and happy. Happy ending!!

I agree with you that we realise the attachment towards our country and countrymen only when we travel outside. Whatever said, an outsider is outsider!!
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Old 28th April 2009, 23:31   #4
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a great forum with all info for returning indians - definitely worth a visit:

R2IClubForums - Return to India, made easy !

cheers

Last edited by anekho : 28th April 2009 at 23:33.
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Old 29th April 2009, 00:58   #5
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I collectively spent 9 years in NJ between 1993-2004. I was so sure of coming back, I never even tried for GC. Recently completed 5 years since my return.

Regarding the abroad account, I don't think it is legal. Once you lose your NRI status, you are not supposed to keep any foreign bank accounts.

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Originally Posted by anekho View Post
a great forum with all info for returning indians - definitely worth a visit:

R2IClubForums - Return to India, made easy !
I was a member of this forum for more than 5 years, even after returning. I finally quit in 2007 when it become increasingly irrelevant to me. That's the irony of that forum, it helps members to move out of it's target demography.
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Old 29th April 2009, 01:09   #6
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Hey Shaju,

Hope you had a safe trip back and that everyone in your family is safe, this is really what matters, my perspective and take is that money can be made all over again, jobs can be changed, mostly better than before.

Well, I hope and pray that you get back on track soon and without any further traumatic events in life, whatever you have gone through does seem substantially large as in emotional trauma.

Wishing you all the best for the future.

warm regards

M

Last edited by mmmjgm : 29th April 2009 at 01:10.
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Old 29th April 2009, 01:17   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Regarding the abroad account, I don't think it is legal. Once you lose your NRI status, you are not supposed to keep any foreign bank accounts.

should that include swiss accounts?
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Old 29th April 2009, 08:01   #8
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Hey Shajufx I have been through this cycle a few times (NRI-RI-NRI-RI-NRI ) and since some members of my family were either NRIs and returning NRIs so have some understanding of how this works

RE NRO/NRE Accounts, these are not allowed to be maintained but should be simplly converted. You could keep a dollar account for returning residents. I think ICICI has one. Its called the RFC account.
ICICI Bank :: NRI::Accounts::Middle East::RFC Savings
also see 29 B here Reserve Bank of India

The NRO account (which is the Rupee account) just gets converted to a regular savings account.

RE Maintaining foreign accounts
. its allowed now. I think even residents can open one. see no 30 & 34 here Reserve Bank of India
The cap is generous per year.

RE Foreign Investements Since I dont know what you planning to invest in, I would say go thru this for proper information.
Reserve Bank of India
Transferring money out of India isnt as complex as it use to be. There are fewer ristrictions now. However Foreign loans and investments are still regulated.

If you have any further questions pm and I will be happy to guide you.

Also I have preferred to opening my foreign accounts in nationalized branch with the main foreign exchange department. The staff usually is very knowledgeble compared to a regular branch or say ICICI where you dont get face time and the person receiving or sending remittances has no clue of procedures.

Wish you luck with your move back home!

Last edited by Raj1008 : 29th April 2009 at 08:04.
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Old 29th April 2009, 16:34   #9
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Hey Shaju happy for you and your family "all is well that ends well". Finally you are here and free and i am so sure it is nice to be back on your soil. Freedom here comes so easily to us that we start taking it for granted. But only when you loose it you realise how important it is!!!
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Old 29th April 2009, 16:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Regarding the abroad account, I don't think it is legal. Once you lose your NRI status, you are not supposed to keep any foreign bank accounts.
Yes this is a point which is debated around. I still have no clear answers from anyone. I keep my account active until I get a clear answer to this, because once its closed, I will never be able to open it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
should that include swiss accounts?
So here we have some swiss customers !! Can I have your number ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raj1008 View Post
RE Maintaining foreign accounts. its allowed now. I think even residents can open one. Wish you luck with your move back home!
That was pretty useful info and links. Regarding my moving back, that happend in December 2005. So, we have settled, got our own home, vehicles and trying to be part of the crowd. Wifee was pregnant when we moved back. Now the first kid is 3 years old boy and we have been blessed with the second kid 15 days back, this time a girl. So, mother India is happy that we are back.

Thanks everyone for the compliments. This thread will be meaningful if many could share their experiences, problem situations, and any other related stuff without reservations. We are here to learn from each other.
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Old 29th April 2009, 16:52   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shajufx View Post
Yes this is a point which is debated around. I still have no clear answers from anyone. I keep my account active until I get a clear answer to this, because once its closed, I will never be able to open it again.
I still have my savings account open in the U.S.

Recently an NRI candidate who stood for election had declared assets in U.S banks. No one raised any objection to that.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:08   #12
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Are you talking about Shashi Tharoor who stood at thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) ? If yes, then he was born in London and spent major part of his life as an NRI and still remains as an NRI as I understand. So, such people can maintain any number of accounts without any legal issues. And that can not support our reasoning on foreign accounts.

The link of RBI above throws some light and infact a sigh of relief in my case. Let more members comment about it. I prefer to share it in the open than getting a surprise incident one fine morning.

Here the question is: An active account outside India. Transactions that happen in that account, by any means, relate to the PAN status ? Its bit complicated than anyone could assume. Basic reason being, there is no tax for mid east money coming to India.

Last edited by shajufx : 29th April 2009 at 17:10.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:25   #13
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Originally Posted by shajufx View Post
Most of such things are through my Bank Muscat account. As long as money that comes to India from Mid East is 'tax-free', I dont have any issues legally, as I understand.
I havent been through your entire post, but this one is something I can comment on:

NO. You do have issues legally.

Remittances from abroad are not automatically tax-free. It is your status as an NRI (and there are some simple rules on what qualifies for 'Non Resident' and what qualifies for "Resident but not ordinarily Resident") that makes your INCOME (not remittances) abroad tax-free.

If you have been in IND since 2005 and have not kept track of your residency status requirements by travelling abroad periodically, you are most probably RESIDENT and not a Non-Resident.

Again, you could be a Non-Resident but if it proven that you were not employed or otherwise earning there all remittances MAY be treated as taxable income that is not declared - depending on the mood of your Assessing Officer.

Getting your friends abroad to invest here in your business is also simple if they do it the legal way as partners or shareholders.

What you need is a good Chartered Accountant. A meeting with one will clear your doubts more than a few dozen posts on the forum.
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Old 29th April 2009, 17:40   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shajufx View Post
Here the question is: An active account outside India. Transactions that happen in that account, by any means, relate to the PAN status ? Its bit complicated than anyone could assume. Basic reason being, there is no tax for mid east money coming to India.
Yes All external accounts are (*actually should be*) related to your PAN Number.

When I moved back, I informed BOA for change of address. They called back for more info and changed status of account to "non-Resident" that from Point of View of US.

BOA delinked my accounts from SSN and linked it to PAN (They call it "Tax ID" number).

Now federal Tax is not deducted for my account. And I need to include that income while filing returns here.
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Old 29th April 2009, 18:26   #15
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Alrite, all points taken with due respect. I feel its right time to meet a chartered accountant. Worse case situation could be closing my account and using my sister's account (she is an NRI in Oman).

Infact I have met few people who have returned years back and still operating their foreign accounts. The difference is, most of them have money put in stocks (stocks of Oman/UAE etc. taken from local security markets). Returns whatever is taken or given gets automatically credited to the local bank account overseas. They use either online transfer to India or use the ATM card (Master and Visa) to spend here.

Also I recall a meeting with my Bank Muscat Personal Manager before leaving Oman. I had checked with him about closing the account or getting it closed by default when I exit the country. He said, "As long as there is a minimum 1 OMR remaining in the account every month, it will stay active life-long". He also claimed 100s of accounts active in the Bank with the account holder no more in the country.

We have been discussing only about the bank transactions field. There are plenty of other issues a returned Indian can have. I will post various things whenever time permits.
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