20% TCS On International Credit Card Spends: Everything You Need To Know

Any foreign currency spends made through international credit cards will soon attract a tax collected at source (TCS) of 20% as per an amendment that brings these transactions under the liberalised remittance scheme (LRS).

Let’s break down the details of this new rule and see how it affects your foreign trips and international subscriptions.

What Is The New Rule And When Will It Come Into Effect?

A recent rule introduced under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) brought international credit card spending within the purview of the Reserve Bank of India’s LRS. Effective from July 1, all such spending will be subject to a 20% TCS, a tax paid at the time of making a transaction.

How Does The New Rule Work?

When you use your credit card abroad and make purchases in foreign currency, those expenses will now be counted towards the annual limit of $250,000 (₹2.06 crore) per person set by the LRS. On top of that, you’ll also have to factor in the TCS that will be added to your bill. In the past, international credit card swipes were exempt from TCS since they didn’t count towards the LRS limit.

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If you’re planning a trip abroad, make sure to include the cost of TCS in your budgeting to avoid any surprises and ensure you’re prepared for the additional expense it brings along. It even applies when you’re trying to load up your forex card. So cash might be your best bet for now.

If you happen to go beyond the $250,000 limit, you’ll need prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to indulge in those extra expenses.

Do Transactions Made In India Count?

Essentially, every spend made in a foreign currency will attract a 20% TCS, which will have to be added to the total cost of such a transaction. However, if you’re using your credit card to pay an overseas company in rupees, it will not fall under the LRS nor will it attract TCS. So if you want to buy a ₹10,000 product from Amazon’s US website and have it shipped to your doorstep in India, you will have to pay an extra ₹2,000 as TCS. But if you’re paying for a Netflix subscription in rupees, the tax doesn’t apply.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Credit card transactions made for educational and medical purposes can breathe a sigh of relief, as they are exempt from the new rule and still attract only a 5% TCS. Corporate credit cards will also be exempt from the new rule as they do not come under the LRS.

Can Taxpayers Reclaim TCS?

Taxpayers will have the opportunity to claim back the 20% TCS as a credit against their income tax liability. This means that when filing their income tax return (ITR) for the financial year in which the remittance was made, taxpayers can include the TCS amount as a credit. However, if you’re not a taxpayer, the TCS is simply an additional cost that you have to bear.

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