Property law in India and its relevance for NRIs

Property law in India and its relevance for NRIs

Property law in India is a vast subject. It is a study under various statutes like The Transfer of Property Act, The Indian Contract Act, Registration Act, Indian Stamp Act, RERA, Land Acquisition laws, etc. Apart from these, for NRIs, special rules and regulations are provided under FEMA by RBI.

Property can be moveable, immovable, tangible or intangible.

There are various property-related activities like an investment in a property through sale and purchase, renting out a property, registration of property documents, updating revenue records and municipal records, exchange and transfer of ownership of property, etc.

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Many top lawyers, including property lawyers and property management companies, offer services to deal with such activities. There are property lawyers in India, assisting in property-related documentation and transactions and settling legal disputes if the need arises.

Property law in India covers a lot of areas. Some of the everyday activities relate to:

  • Under property law in India, real estate investment is a significant area. It has been an attractive option for NRIs and serves the dual purpose of maintaining a connection with roots and profit-making. NRIs are permitted to invest in residential and commercial properties just like any other resident Indian. But for agriculture and plantation, the requirements are different. For promoting the buying and selling of the real estate, the Government provides different loan options through banks and other financial institutions. NRIs have to be aware of the regulations made by RBI under FEMA for the sale and purchase of the real estate, payment as well as repatriation of sale proceeds.
  • For the purchase of property by NRI, money is remitted through proper banking channels. Funds maintained in NRE/NRO/FCNR accounts can also be used. A loan facility is available to buy a house and banks transfer the amount directly to the seller or developer’s account.
  • Intangible property like shares, bonds, and intellectual property rights like patents, copyrights, etc. are also a part of property law in India. NRIs can invest in Mutual funds, Government Securities, Bonds, Equity and Hybrid Funds, etc. Investment in Mutual Funds offers higher returns as compared to investment in Fixed Deposits but is subject to market risk. Mutual Funds Investment is regulated by SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India).
  • Other property matters concerning NRIs like title search, especially in case of agricultural properties, transfer of ownership in case of inherited properties, settling the issues related to distribution or partition of joint properties or ancestral properties, etc., all come under the purview of property law in India. 
  • Most property-related transactions can be done by NRIs either by personally visiting India or through a power of attorney.

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We have top lawyers, property lawyers, and property management companies taking care of such investments/property matters for NRIs.

The relevance of property law in India for NRIs

The property market in India offers unlimited investment opportunities for NRIs. All investments made in India should abide by the respective laws. There is no doubt that property law in India is relevant for NRIs. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is vital to protect and safeguard the huge amount of investments which NRIs make. There has to be clarity of rights and government policies. NRIs need to remain updated on property law in India.

For any investment in property by NRIs, property laws, TDS rules, and tax implications go hand in hand. NRIs must be aware of the tax implications of all the property transactions they wish to undertake. Rules and regulations under FEMA have to be followed. It is imperative to comply with all the legal formalities to avoid any dispute later on.

Property Management Companies help NRIs to manage their property in India while staying in their native place.

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NRIs face many questions when it comes to property-related transactions in India. Some of the most common queries are:

Experts in the legal and financial field, including property lawyers, are available to assist NRIs in understanding the property law in India and helping them sail through the process.

Tax implications on a gifted property

Tax implications on a gifted property

Gifting a property is a kind gesture, and it is better to be aware of tax implications for gifting a property.

We had a case where Mr Bhushan, an NRI was gifted with land situated in India by his father, a resident Indian. He wanted to know:

  • If a land in India can be gifted by his father who is a resident Indian
  • The legal requirements to complete this gift transaction
  • Tax implications

Our advice and guidance – Parties to a gift deed:

  • Donor (giver)
  • Donne (recipient)

Donor or Donne can be a Resident Indian or an NRI or a PIO.

Which property can be gifted: Any movable or immovable property like –

  • Land /Building
  • House
  • Jewellery
  • Shares and Securities
  • Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures – Any other work of art
  • Archaeological Collections

Agricultural Land, Farmhouse and Plantation Property in India cannot be gifted to NRI.

Legal Requirements for gift deed:

A gift is a voluntary transfer of movable or immovable property without consideration, by a donor to donne which is accepted by the donne during the lifetime of the donor. For a gift deed, we require:

  • Donor – voluntary transfer
  • Donne – acceptance of a gift
  • Property to be gifted in existence
  • Gift deed preparation
  • Registration of gift deed

Tax Implications:

Both Donor and Donne are charged with the payment of tax as per Income Tax Act, 1961, under certain conditions mentioned as below. Tax is levied in the year in which the gift is received.

Tax Implications

  • Any rent received by the Donor on a gifted property is added to his income for tax purposes.
  • For calculating Fair Market Value and Stamp Duty Value, it is better to take advice from a tax consultant

Exemptions from tax in case of Gift:

  • If the aggregate value of the gift is less than Rs 50,000
  • Gift received from the relatives (list of relatives provided in the Income Tax Act) – No tax irrespective of the value of the gift. In the case of Hindu Undivided family, all members are relatives.
  • On Marriage of the recipient
  • Gift received by will or inheritance
  • From local authority
  • From Charitable Trust/Find/Institution as per the provisions of the Act