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NRIs can lodge tax-related complaints with IT ombudsman

Your complaint should be signed by you or your authorized representative

Q. I have recently acquired US citizenship. I want to buy a property in India. What will be my tax status/liability when I sell the same property?

Expert Comment: Any income earned from the sale of property situated in India would be treated as income earned in India and such income will be taxable in India. However, if you are a non-resident for Indian tax purposes you may be eligible for benefits under the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) between India and the country in which you may be a tax resident when you sell the particular property.

Such benefits would prevail over the income tax law in India. Therefore, it is important for you to determine your residential status in the year in which you sell the property.

In the absence of any benefits in the DTAA, the gains that you make on selling the property will be treated as capital gains taxable in India.

Further depending on the period for which you have held such a property, the gains could be categorized as either long term-capital gain (LTCG) or short-term capital gain (STCG). Currently, LTCG is taxable at 20% (plus applicable surcharge and education cess) and STCG is taxable at 30% (plus applicable surcharge and education cess).

Q. Where can a non-resident Indian (NRI) lodge tax related complaints in India? What is the procedure?

Expert Comment: You can lodge your complaints regarding delay in disposal or settlement of claims, refunds, non-credit of taxes paid and so on, with the income tax ombudsman. Your complaint should be signed by you or your authorized representative. You could also file an online complaint. However, you will have to take a printout of the complaint lodged and send it to the ombudsman clearly indicating the name, address, Permanent Account Number, officer against whom the complaint is being lodged, facts of the case and the relief being sought.

There are 12 tax ombudsmen across India. It is important to note that before making an application to the tax ombudsman, a written representation should have been made to the income tax authority superior to the one complained against and same should have been unaddressed.

If your grievance is resulting from any proceedings under the income tax law, you can also consider filing an appeal before the appropriate appellate authority after consultation with your tax adviser.

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