Transfer of Funds from India to UAE

Introduction

Most countries globally employ certain foreign exchange controls in order to keep a check on both the inflow and outflow of currency from one state to another. Similarly, the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 as amended (FEMA), and the Directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India under the same are the forex controls employed in India. This article primarily assumes that the inquirer is a Non-Resident Indian residing in the United Arab Emirates, who is seeking to make transfers of cash from India. It is important to note that in a scenario where money is flowing into United Arab Emirates, the regulatory climate is such that no prior approvals from the Authorities have to be taken before this influx except as detailed below. Thus, the article discusses the regulatory procedures for remitting funds from India to the United Arab Emirates.

Procedure for remitting funds from NRO account

The Indian Government permits the remittance of amounts upto USD 1 million per financial year out of an individual’s NRO account (as per Regulation 3.2(i) of the FEMA (Remittance of Assets) Regulations of 2016). In order to remit funds that are deposited in an NRO account, an individual must submit both Form 15 CA and CB, which ensure that any tax liability on the funds is extinguished prior to the remittance. This is merely to ease the enforcement of such liability, as it would be significantly more difficult for Indian tax authorities to pursue tax liabilities once the funds have already been transferred abroad. While the disclosures under both forms are similar, Form 15 CA is an undertaking by the individual intending to remit funds, while 15 CB is a certification of such undertaking by an authorized chartered accountant. Form 15CB is not required in the event that the remittance is of amounts less than INR 15 lakhs.

Form 15CA must be submitted online at the Indian Tax Information Network Website (www.tin-nsdl.com). . Upon submitting the Form on the website, the individual is provided with an acknowledgement of submission, which must be retained as it is required consequently. After the submission of Form 15CA, the Chartered Accountant hired by the individual must fill Form 15CB, certifying that all tax liabilities have been fulfilled. The Form also specifies the nature of the funds to be remitted, whether received via dividends, interest, through proceeds of a sale, etc. This is also the stage where the Chartered Accountant shall enquire whether the individual comes under any applicable Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, which allows the individual to come under a lower tax slab which is to be deducted from the money to be remitted (the general rate that applies is 30%). While the procedure is entirely online, it is important to note that it may be difficult to do so from outside India, as the filling and filing of the forms requires consultations with the Chartered Accountant, as well as signatures of the individual on the hard copies of the Forms.

Procedure for remitting proceeds from sale of property

For properties that have vested with the individual by means of succession, Regulation 4(2) of the FEMA (Remittance of Assets) Regulations, 2016 allows the individual to remit any proceeds upto USD 1 million from the sale of such properties via the procedure elaborated above. However, in the event that the property disposed by manner of sale is one that the NRI had purchased earlier, Regulation 5(A) of the FEMA (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India) Regulations, 2000 shall apply, which requires such remittance to fulfil the following conditions –

  1. The immovable property was acquired by the seller in accordance with the provisions of the foreign exchange law in force at the time of acquisition or the provisions of these regulations;
  2. The amount to be repatriated does not exceed
    • the amount paid for acquisition of the immovable property in foreign exchange received through normal banking channels;
    • or the amount paid out of funds held in foreign currency Non-Resident Account;
    • or the foreign currency equivalent (as on the date of payment) of the amount paid where such payment was made from the funds held in Non-Resident External account for acquisition of the property;
  3. in the case of residential property, the repatriation of sale proceeds is restricted to a maximum of two such properties.

The Regulation also requires the NRI to seek the approval of the RBI before remitting any proceeds from a sale of purchased property in India.

Remittance of Money by Foreigners who are not NRIs/PIOs

In the event that the individual seeking to remit money out of India is not a Non-Resident Indian, or a Person of Indian Origin, it is important to note that only a certain class of foreigners are permitted to remit monies outside India (as provided by Regulation 4 of the FEMA (Remittance of Assets) Regulations, 2016). Such foreigners must have –

  1. either retired from employment in India; or
  2. inherited property in India; or
  3. is a non-resident widow/widower and has inherited assets from her/his deceased spouse who was an Indian national resident in India?

Any remittance by such foreigners should not exceed a similar limit of USD 1 million, however, such limit is not triggered by the sale proceeds of assets held on a repatriation basis. In case any remittance is to be made in instalments, they should be routed via the same bank that carries out the first remittance.

Conclusion

Due to the nature of Foreign Exchange Controls in India which monitor the influx and outflow of monies from and to India, the process of remitting funds outside India is a slightly tedious one which often requires assistance of those with significant knowledge of the process and the relevant regulations. In recent times, most nations including India have become more concerned about the money that is leaving their jurisdiction rather than the money entering their economy. It is advisable that individuals obtain the help of qualified professionals to navigate through the regulatory compliances when it comes to inter-jurisdictional transfer of funds.

Authors:

ADV. Richa Dewan
Corporate & Commercial | Property – Real Estate | DIFC Litigation | Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
richa.dewan@goodwinslaw.ae