Decoding the Right ITR Form for NRIs


Non-resident Indians (NRIs) play a significant role in the global economy, and it’s crucial for them to fulfill their tax obligations in India. Filing Income Tax Returns (ITR) is an essential responsibility for NRIs as it helps maintain transparency and contributes to the overall development of the nation. However, determining the appropriate ITR form for NRIs can be confusing due to the various options available. In this article, we will explore the different ITR forms and help NRIs understand which one suits their specific circumstances.

Determining residential status

The first step in determining the correct ITR form for an NRI is to establish their residential status. The residential status of an individual is determined by specific criteria laid down by the Income Tax Act, of 1961. NRIs fall into different categories, including Non-Resident, Resident but Not Ordinary Resident (RNOR), and Resident.

Tax form

Different ITR forms for NRIs

  •  ITR-1 (Sahaj)

ITR-1, also known as Sahaj, is the simplest ITR form primarily meant for salaried individuals. However, it has certain limitations when it comes to NRIs. To be eligible for filing ITR-1, an NRI should have income from salary, one house property, other sources such as interest, and total income up to Rs. 50 lakhs.

  •  ITR-2

ITR-2 is the application form for individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) not eligible for ITR-1. NRIs who have income from multiple sources, including salary, capital gains, and foreign assets, can use ITR-2 to file their returns. Additionally, those who hold directorships in companies or have investments in unlisted equity shares need to file ITR-2.

  • ITR-3

ITR-3 is designed for individuals and HUFs having income from business or profession. NRIs engaged in any business or profession in India are required to file ITR-3. This form is more comprehensive than ITR-1 and ITR-2, taking into account the complexities of business income.

  • ITR-4 (Sugam)

ITR-4, also known as Sugam, is applicable for individuals, HUFs, and firms (other than LLPs) with presumptive income from business or profession. NRIs who meet the eligibility criteria and have income from a small business or profession can use ITR-4 for filing their returns. However, certain conditions apply, and they may not be suitable for all NRIs.

  • ITR-5

ITR-5 is applicable for partnerships, LLPs, associations, and Bodies of Individuals (BOIs). NRIs who have income from these entities need to file ITR-5. It provides a comprehensive format for reporting income, deductions, and other relevant details.

  • ITR-6

ITR-6 is specifically designed for companies that are not claiming exemptions under Section 11 (income from property held for charitable or religious purposes). NRIs with income from a company that falls into this category should file ITR-6.

  • ITR-7

ITR-7 is meant for individuals, trusts, political parties, and associations whose income is exempt from tax. NRIs falling into this category need to file ITR-7, providing details of their income and other relevant information.

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Factors to consider while choosing the right ITR form

When deciding which ITR form to use, NRIs should consider the following factors:

1. Nature and source of income: 

Different ITR forms are tailored to specific types of income, such as salary, capital gains, business income, or exempt income. NRIs should select the form that aligns with the nature and source of their income.

2. Residential status: 

The residential status of an NRI affects the eligibility criteria for different ITR forms. NRIs should evaluate their residential status as per the Income Tax Act, of 1961, to ensure they choose the correct form.

3. Exemptions and deductions: 

NRIs should consider the exemptions and deductions they are eligible for while choosing the appropriate ITR form. Some forms may provide specific provisions for claiming deductions or exemptions, which can impact the choice of form.

Tax Return

Importance of accurate ITR filing for NRIs

Accurate and timely filing of ITR holds several benefits for NRIs, including:

1. Compliance with tax laws: 

Filing ITR ensures that NRIs are compliant with Indian tax laws, promoting transparency and ethical tax practices.

2. Avoiding penalties and legal issues:

 Failing to file an ITR or using the wrong form can result in penalties and legal complications. By choosing the correct ITR form and filing accurately, NRIs can avoid such issues.

3. Establishing financial credibility:

 Accurate ITR filing helps NRIs establish their financial credibility, which can be beneficial when applying for loans, visas, or other financial transactions.



Determining the appropriate ITR form for NRIs is crucial to fulfilling their tax obligations effectively. Understanding the different ITR forms, considering factors such as residential status and nature of income, and filing accurately can help NRIs meet their tax responsibilities and contribute to the growth and development of India. By seeking professional advice, NRIs can navigate the complexities of tax filing and ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.

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