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After having lived abroad for a substantial amount of time, if you are an NRI coming back to India along with your family, there are several factors that may concern you. Finding a well-paying job that is the best fit for your skill set, admitting your kids into good schools, finding a good place to stay - the list is endless, so it is rather natural for you to feel anxious about the big move. Here are some tips for NRI returning to India to help ease out your worries and to help you put things into perspective:
Make sure you have your PAN card (that can be obtained through the Income Tax Department online) and your Voter ID Card (that can be applied through the National Voter’s Service Portal online) handy. With these documents, all your accounts can be verified.
Often times when NRIs come back to India, they relocate to the Indian office of the company that they were working for, abroad. If that’s not your plan, make sure you start your job search even before you make the move back to India. This way, you will have a list of prospective jobs that will help you save time and effort and lower the pressure since you will already have so many arrangements to make on moving back.
To avoid being charged a penalty, ensure you give enough notice to your house owner before moving back to India.
Things like old books and magazines, old clothes, home decor items, cutlery, etc. can either be sold on websites like Craigslist or can be donated. Understand that shipping these items back to India can be even more expensive than their cost price. For things like your car, TV or your house, make sure you put them on sale well in time before your move back to India else you may have to suffer losses.
If you have a school-going kid, ensure you do proper research about the academic record, staff and reputation of the possible schools you can send your child to. Additionally, make sure your move doesn’t happen in the middle of an academic year since then getting your child admission anywhere will be a big hassle.
If your kids were born in a foreign country and have a foreign citizenship, you will have to create an OCI or PIO card for them so as to visit India.
No matter how much stuff you discard or part away with, there will still be plenty of stuff to ship too. Make sure you get in touch with reliable packers and movers after doing thorough research. Good packers and movers provide insurance to cover damage and loss of items.
a) Transfer Your Money Into an Indian Bank Account
Ensure you get all your NRI accounts set up with a recognised Indian bank to transfer your money to your NRI accounts. It always helps to keep a lookout for a day when the exchange rate in favour of the Indian Rupee. On returning back to India, you can convert the NRI accounts to regular savings account.
b) Budget Enough Cash For the First Few Months After Your Return to India:
The first few months after your return to India will see a volley of foreseen and unforeseen expenses. There will be your house rent deposit, your kids’ school/college admission fee. In case you don’t have a job waiting for you as soon as you reach India, you must also account for the period where there will be limited flow of cash into your account as you hunt for a job. As a safety measure, budget about 6 months of your projected monthly household expenditure as a contingency fund.
c) Choose Your Investments Correctly:
While choosing your investments in India, you must keep in mind the tax implications of it. For example, if you invest over Rs. 1 lakh in income funds, your earnings will be subject to high taxes. Dividends from stock market investments are also taxable. Make sure you prepare a proper investment plan in consultation with an investment adviser at least three months before coming back to India. Tax planning for NRIs returning to India will help you get high returns on investments and will reduce your tax liability.
While there are many other requirements that will have to be taken care of when you plan your move back to India, to begin with the aforementioned tips for NRI returning to India would surely help you. Good luck!
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