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FAQs w.r.t. TCS on foreign remittance through Liberalised Remittance Scheme
The e-Gazette notification dated May 16, 2023 omits Rule 7 of the FEM(CAT) Rules, 2000.
Here are the Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs") w.r.t. Tax Collection at Source (TCS) on foreign remittance through the Liberalised Remittance Scheme.
Part A. Some clarifications on Tax Collection at Source
1. Why is TCS required to be collected?
Ans. Section 206C of the Income-Tax Act 1961 provides for TCS in the business of trading in alcohol, liquor, forest produce, scrap etc. Sub-section (1G) of the aforesaid section provides for TCS on foreign remittance through the Liberalised Remittance Scheme and on the sale of overseas tour packages.
2. Is TCS applicable to all remittances made abroad?
Ans. No. Only such remittances which are covered under LRS are liable to TCS. These have been detailed in the answer to Q (5) in Part B of the clarifications.
3. What is the reason behind the increase in rates of TCS?
Ans. The reasons for the amendment are:
4. What are the changes or increases in rates of TCS?
Ans. The TCS rates with the changes brought about in Finance Act 2023 are tabulated as under,
(i) Remittance for the purpose of any education [NO CHANGE]
(ii) Remittance for the purpose of any medical Treatment [NO CHANGE]
(iii) Sale of Overseas tour package
(iv) Any other Remittance (for Bonds, shares, real estate gifts etc.)
5. What is the impact on travel and incidental expenses related to education and medical treatment?
Ans. For TCS on remittance for travel and incidental expenses related to education and medical treatment, the rates of TCS as applicable to remittances for education and medical treatment, respectively, shall apply. A detailed clarification will be issued separately.
Part B. Clarifications on the Liberalized Remittance Scheme
1. What is the notification dated 16th May 2023 amending the FEM (CAT) Rules, 2000?
The notification dated 16th May 2023 omits Rule 7 of the FEM(CAT) Rules, 2000. In effect, it removes the exemption given to the use of international credit cards for meeting his/her expenses by a person when he is abroad. Even earlier, all current account transactions undertaken on international credit cards in India were subject to Rule 5 of the FEM(CAT) Rules and covered under Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS). The notification dated 16th May 2023 does not effect any changes in the use of international credit cards by residents while in India.
2. What is Rule 7 of FEM(CAT) Rules, 2000?
Rule 7 of the FEM(CAT) Rules, 2000 exempted the use of international credit cards from the LRS for payments by a person towards meeting expenses while such a person is on a visit outside India.
3. What was the need for the notification?
While on a visit abroad, a person could use international debit cards or other methods or international credit cards for undertaking current account transactions. Payments by debit cards etc. have been treated as LRS even earlier. Due to the exemption under erstwhile Rule 7, expenditures through credit cards were not accounted for under the specified LRS limit, which has led to some individuals exceeding the LRS limits. Data collected from top money remitters under LRS reveals that international credit cards are being issued with limits in excess of the present LRS limit of USD 2,50,000. The differential treatment between debit cards and credit cards needed to be removed in the interest of uniformity and equity in the treatment of modes of drawal of foreign exchange and for capturing total expenditures under LRS for prudent foreign exchange management and to prevent by-passing of LRS limits.
RBI had written to the government on more than one occasion, pointing to the need to remove this differential treatment.
4. What modes of expenditure of foreign exchange are covered under FEM(CAT) Rules, 2000?
It includes the drawal of foreign exchange from an authorised person and use of an International Credit Card. International Debit Card or ATM Card. All such drawals for the purposes specified in Schedule III (as explained in FAQ 3 above) are eligible for the limit of US$2,50,000.
5. What are the purposes under FEM (CAT) Rules, 2000, under which a resident individual can avail of a foreign exchange facility?
As per Rule 5 of the FEM (CAT) Rules, 2000, Individuals can avail of a foreign exchange facility for the following purposes, as detailed in Schedule III of the Rules. within the LRS limit of USD 2,50,000 on a financial year basis. Prior approval of the Reserve Bank would be required for remittances exceeding the specified limits.
i. Private visits to any country (except Nepal and Bhutan) ii. Gift or donation iii. Going abroad for employment iv. Emigration v. Maintenance of close relatives abroad vi. Travel for business, attending a conference or specialised training or for meeting expenses for meeting medical expenses, or check-up abroad, or for accompanying as an attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/ check-up vii. Expenses in connection with medical treatment abroad viii. Studies abroad viii. Any other current account transaction. ix. The Master Direction of RBI on LRS, available (here) may be referred to.
6. Does LRS cover business visits of employees?
No. When an employee is being deputed by an entity for any of the above, and the expenses are borne by the latter, such expenses shall be treated as residual current account transactions outside LRS and may be permitted by the AD without any limit, subject to verifying the bona fide of the transaction.
7. What is Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS)?
Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year (April - March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both. Further, resident individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the purposes mentioned in Para 1 of Schedule III of FEM (CAT) Rules 2000 within the limit of USD 2,50,000 only. The Scheme is not available to corporates, partnership firms, HUF, Trusts etc.
Under the LRS, in the financial year 2021-22, a total of USD 19.61 billion was remitted, rising from USD 12.68 billion in 2020-21. In 2022-23, it rose to more than USD 24.0 billion, of which overseas travel accounted for more than half.
8. What is a current account transaction?
As per FEMA Act, 1999, a "current account transaction" means a transaction other than a capital account transaction and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such transaction includes,
(i) payments due in connection with foreign trade, other current business, services, and short- term banking and credit facilities in the ordinary course of business,
(ii) payments due as interest on loans and as net income from investments,
(iii) remittances for living expenses of parents, spouse and children residing abroad, and (iv) expenses in connection with foreign travel, education and medical care of parents, spouse and children.