Diwali is the festival of lights celebrated annually between October and November by millions of people in India and around the world. It is customary to exchange gifts between family and friends during Diwali.
On the occasion of this festive season, every business gears to serve its consumers by offering heavy discounts and exclusive offers. Diwali season accounts for 35-40% of annual sales of consumer durables. Although Diwali just got over, the festive sale of Diwali in the e-commerce industry is estimated to be worth $3.7 billion, 60-65% higher than $2.3 billion last year, according to estimates from RedSeer.
Economists and policymakers have predicted to see a revival in the economy with the rise in consumer spending during Diwali amidst the economic slowdown. Furthermore, money sent as gifts by the growing Indian diaspora around the world is expected to contribute towards the uptick of Indian economic recovery.
Remittances sent by Indians living outside the country make significant contributions towards the loved ones living in India and the economy in general. India was the top recipient of inward remittances with a whopping $79 billion last year. It is expected to reach 82 billion this year, according to the World Bank.
NRIs living abroad may not visit India every Diwali but they partake in the merrymaking by sending gifts back home. In the digital era, sending digital gifts and money are increasingly popular as compared to tangible gifts shipped from abroad.
For long, economists have talked about “the deadweight loss” of gift-giving, which is the portion of the retail value of the gift that is a waste when the gift is given. The economist Joel Waldfogel , estimated that the deadweight loss from gift-giving is one-tenth to one-third of the gift's value.
Let’s say, for example, you spend $200 on a gift and another $50 in shipping charges. But the recipient does not like the gift at all, and would only be willing to pay $10. Now, the value of your $250 gift has lost $230.
Why spend time and money on a gift the recipient may not like after all? Hence, sending money is the best gift. If you had sent the $250 to their bank account, they can use it to buy what they really need. It could be fees for school, new clothes, food, or for decorations for a celebration like Diwali. So, the best way to send money to India is through an online money transfer company like Remit2India, A pioneer in online remittances with over 17 years of experience, offering easy, fast, and secure money transfer to India.
Remit2India has helped millions of NRIs transfer billions of dollars back home. From medical emergency to EMIs, and investments to Diwali gifts. They bring your promises home to India from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland at great exchange rates, instant transfers, and 24X7 customer service. Their site and mobileapp are easy to use and can complete a quick transfer using multiple payment modes at low fees to any major Indian banks like State Bank of India, HDFC, ICICI, etc. Try now!
When it comes to repatriating large sums of money from India, it puts every NRI in a situation where he has to consider different obligations regarding monetary cross-transfer. Taxation, reliability and transfer timelines are a few things that influence these decisions.Personal finances have to be dealt with delicately and ensured that there is no loss during the due process of remittances. There are various options available in the marketplace today, be it via traditional banking or the modern ways of online transfers.CompareRemit offers a platform that allows you to compare different players in the market and pick the best rates that suit your needs.Repatriation from an NRE AccountAs a component of the liberalization scheme of the Reserve Bank of India, remitting funds from India has become relatively easier. Balances in NRE (Non-Resident External) accounts are freely repatriable. No formalities or requisite permissions are required for remittances abroad be it any amount. Funds in accounts are usually funds deposited from abroad or current income like interest or dividends on investments made through foreign funds.Repatriation from an NRO accountBalances in NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) accounts are subject to certain conditions. The remittance of USD 1 million per financial year from NRO accounts is allowed subject to certain procedural formalities. NRO account balances include income earned locally or certain capital account transactions. Form 15-CA and 15-CB need to be submitted before a remittance can go through.Read more on difference between NRE and NRO account on CompareRemit.The Traditional Option - BanksThe most sought after choice for remittances to the UK are banks. Banks are the most popular means of transferring money to the UK because:There is a high level of trust owing to the various government regulations.Familiarity and the comfort of knowing the neighborhood-friendly banker.There are two ways one could remit funds using banking services:Online - If your bank has given you access to internet banking and allows repatriation through online instructions.In-Person - One could walk into the bank yourself and have the formalities completed there and then and have the satisfaction of seeing it to its destination with a receipt in your hand.However, it is important to note that INR to GBP/GBP to INR exchange rates may not always be competitive. The transfer fees can be high and the charges, not always transparent.Selection of Remittance Service ProviderShould you want to avoid remitting through banks, approaching a marketplace of money changers would be the next best option. A selection of remittance service providers should be made based on the following:- Transfer chargesSpeed of transferExchange ratesCharges on the conversion of currency (INR to GBP)Freeze option on exchange rate while process requirements are completedFlexibility of payment optionsAlternative Options for Remittance from India to UKWise - UK based transfer service supporters - Wise incorporates credit cards/debit cards, SWIFT, international transfers to bank accounts, domestic wire transfers and more. Wise offers competitive exchange rates for pound to rupee or rupee to pound conversions. It assures fast and low-cost online money transfers from India to the UK.ExTravelMoney - One of the easiest services for transferring funds from India to the UK, they also offer the facility of booking orders online.Western Union - In four easy steps available online and your money is sent from India to the UK. They offer competitive rates and faster transfers as well.Thomas Cook - Provides the best foreign exchange rates besides giving the assurance of secure and timely remittances for specific purposes.BookMyForex - With zero commission and zero charges, they claim to send money from India to the UK at guaranteed lowest exchange rates. The time span for the transfers to be effective is 12 to 48 hours.To select the right money transfer service one should keep the cost and time factors in mind. Convenience at a reasonable cost should be the mantra for selecting a suitable remittance service provider.
How do you pay your employees? As an employer, paying your employees is an important part of your business. Direct deposit to your employee's bank account or issuing paper checks are two of the most common ways of compensating them. Gone are the days when employees used to get paid in cash.But what happens when some employees have no bank accounts? This is where paycards come in. Paycards for employees are an alternative option when the employees do not own a bank account, and the employers do not want to pay in hard cash.It is estimated that about 5.4% of U.S. households (approximately 7.1 million) were "unbanked" in 2019, according to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDCI). An unbanked household means no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or a credit union.For small businesses with employees with no bank accounts, paycards can be a convenient option as a payment option.Direct deposit and paycards both offer the benefit of a paperless payroll distribution process and allow the employer to electronically transfer funds conveniently. While direct deposit is the norm for many businesses, paycards are gaining popularity each year.There are pros and cons of using paycards, and in this blog, we will discuss if paycards are right for your business and employees.What is a Paycard?Paycard is a lot like a prepaid debit card as it is made of plastic and can be pre-loaded. In the case of a paycard, the money loaded comes from the employer in the form of an employee's pay. The card carries the issuer name such as MasterCard, Visa, or Discover.Are Paycards Good, and Who is it For?A pay card can be used to pay an employee who does not have a bank account. Paycard holders or employees can cash out from paycards at a bank, ATM, or other point-of-service locations.Employees can also pay bills over the phone using their paycard number or authorize electronic bill payments to specified companies.Employees can use paycards at any merchant, grocery store, retail shop, or gas station that accepts debit cards.Do Paycards Have Fees?By law, employees must be able to access their wages in full without any fees. They can obtain the cash at a bank teller, ATMs associated with the card issuer, pay bills by telephone, or use the card for point-of-sale purchases.However, there may be fees for electronic fund transfers or for cash withdrawals at ATMs that are not in the issuer's network. There may be fees for card replacements, balance inquiries, inactivity fees, or other reasons. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule in April 2019 that paycard issuers must disclose all the fees to cardholders.Employees must be informed of the potential fees. The paycard issuer is required to give you disclosures on such fees before you sign up for a paycard or a payroll card.Also, paycards are regulated by state laws, so you might have to check for additional details depending on your state. Some states are making efforts to reduce fees that affect employees.As you can see, paycards fees mostly affect employees. In the case of direct deposits, employers are the ones who have to pay fees for setting up the payroll distribution system and a transaction fee for each time they transfer wages into an employee's account. The payroll software may also charge a fee for their service.Can Employers Save Money When Using Paycards?Since paycards are reloadable cards, employers can have the banks reload the paycards with their employees' wages for the pay period, avoiding the costs and hassle of issuing paper checks, mailing them, or re-issuing lost checks. The savings may not be a substantial amount but they can add up gradually.Can Employers Choose between Direct Deposit and Paycards?While there is no mandate that employers can only offer either direct deposit or paycards to their employees for their wages, it is safe to check with your state's law on payroll distribution.One-third of states allow employers to require employees to have bank accounts for direct deposit. In such a case, paycards may not be needed. Also, there is no law preventing employees with bank accounts to opt for paycards as their payment option.Though generally, employees tend to prefer direct deposit because of its efficiency and the least costly method of payment, as a business owner or an employer, it is better to give options instead of imposing only one method.Ask your employees about their preferred method of payment and what benefits (convenience, low fees, etc.) serve them the best.In fact, Federal law requires employers to offer alternative payment methods like paper checks or direct deposits.Should Employer Provide Pay Stub?Pay stub provides details of the employees' pay for each pay period. Employers are not required by federal law to give employees their pay stubs. However, many states have laws that require some form of written pay statement.Even if your state doesn't need you to provide pay stubs, you are still required by the Fair Labour Standards Act to keep track of your employees' working hours.For employees, a pay stub gives a record of their wages, deductions, contributions, and other information. It is also proof of income or employment, which is often needed when applying for a loan, credit card, or housing.For employers, a pay stub is useful for tax purposes, and it can be used to resolve any discrepancies with employee pay.Is it Possible for Paycards to be Overdrafted?Usually, paycards works like debit card, allowing cardholders to withdraw up to the limit of the loaded amount. However, there are paycard that allows overdraft for employees. But it can come with hefty overdraft fees if employees use funds over the limit in their account. Usually, you should be able to prevent misuse by subscribing to an overdraft protection service.Will Paycard Affect Credit Score?Paycards, like all prepaid cards, do not affect an employee's credit score.What is a Paycard Gets Lost or Stolen?A replacement card can be issued in such cases. The employee needs to notify the employer, and then the employer should immediately notify the card issuer. The employee is not liable for the incident as long as the issue is timely reported. Paycards come with similar protection as that of a prepaid card.The reporting time is determined by the card issuer. If you wait longer to report after learning of the loss and theft, the fraudulent charges may increase. You may have to pay a fee for the replacement card.Pros and Cons of PaycardsProsA win-win situation for unbanked employees and their employers.Green alternative to paper checks.Immediate payment to employees.No hassle of cashing a paycheck.No monthly or maintenance fees.Added security when assessing their funds (paycards require a PIN).Employees can report to the issuer if funds are used unauthorized.Paycards can be reloaded during each payday, saving money on issuing paper checks.Added efficiency for the employer as the employer would not have to physically present or mail paychecks to unbanked employees.ConsEmployees may incur fees for several reasons. Be aware of such potential fees.Employers have certain responsibilities to educate employees about the usage of paycards.Limited range of services and flexibility in managing your funds compared to bank accounts and other prepaid cards.The best paycards programs are easy to set up, have lower fees, quick access to funds, and provide a range of benefits such as cashback and discounts. We have made a list of popular paycards providers for businesses:Wisely Paycard by ADPOnline portal and mobile appCompatible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google PayZero cost sign upNo hidden feesNo credit checkNo overdraft feeZero cost direct deposit of pay and other sources of income (including government benefits)Accepted wherever Visa is acceptedKeep track of spending and account balances 24/7 on the appGet cash back at major retailersSurcharge-free ATM withdrawalsFDIC insuredSecurity features include instant card lock, purchase protection, and travel alert notificationsRapid PaycardDirect Deposit onto rapid paycardLoad funds from approved checks with Ingo Money mobile appsNo fee for cashing paycheck24/7 account access with rapid! Access mobile appNo credit checkCan be used at ATMs, merchants worldwide, wherever Debit Mastercard or Visa debit cards are acceptedPay bills and make purchasesBook airline and hotel reservations onlineEarn interest on savings accountGet cash back rewardsFDIC insuredMoney protected with Zero Fraud LiabilityKittrell PaycardNo fees to use (there are fees for certain situations)Fee-free ATM network with MoneyPassWebsite and Kittreall AppGet real-time alerts and push notificationsCash back at point-of-sale terminals2-way texting to manage your card and accountCompatible with Apple Wallet, Google Pay, Samsung PayEasy portability (Get direct deposit of stimulus checks, tax refund, benefits)Freeze or unfreeze card on-demandSkylight PaycardZero sign up feeNo credit checkNo minimum balance Personalized your card with a family photo or unique imageManage money anywhere on Mobile AppDirect deposit your government benefits, tax refundsUse anywhere where Visa Debit & Debit Mastercard are acceptedFDIC insuredZero liability protectionPay bills onlineEarn interest on savings accountEarn cash back with Payback RewardsSend money to or receive money from friends and family with Netspend cardsSet text alerts about transactionsRefer a friend and boost your card balanceSkylight overdraft limit is $100 & 3 times/ monthConclusionOverall, paycards can be convenient and cost-effective for employees and employees when compared to paychecks or for those employees with no bank account. And the paycard fees are becoming more transparent and competitive.While paycards can be challenging at times, especially when you are employed in multiple jobs and have a separate paycard with each employer, your funds are scattered in multiple cards so it becomes difficult to manage your finances. Some may prefer to put all their money in one place, like a checking account.However, if you can't open a bank account, a paycard is a great option to get paid. Read the fine prints before signing up for a paycard and know the potential fees that come with it.
A Double taxation avoidance agreement or DTAA is a government level agreement, where taxation in one country is recognized by the other country. Thus, tax paid in one country is taken into account for the tax liability in the other country. To give relief to the tax payers, the governments of the U.S. and India entered into a double taxation avoidance agreement. India and the United States of America signed a comprehensive DTAA in the year 1989, and the provisions went into effect for residents of India and the U.S. on December 18, 1990. Over the years, new provisions have been added such as the FATCA notification.The taxes that are applicable under the DTAA are the Federal Income Tax as imposed by the Internal Revenue Code and in India, the income tax as imposed by Income Tax Act of 1961.The DTAA can come into affect in the following ways:Exemption Method - Here, the country of residence exempts the income earned in the foreign country.Deduction Method - Here, tax paid in the country of source of income is deducted from the global income and then from the residual amount the tax is paidTax Credit Method - Here, the country of residence gives credit of the taxes paid in the foreign country. This can also be sub divided into :Ordinary Credit MethodUnderlying Tax Credit Method andTax Reserve MethodHow do we Determine Residency?As per the Indian Income tax laws a resident is a person who has been in India for a period of 182 days or more in the financial year or who has been in India for 60 days or more in a financial year and 365 days or more in the 4 years before the particular financial year.Under the tax laws of the U.S. the residency status is described in Internal Revenue Code 7701(b). If a person is not a citizen, a person is considered non resident alien, unless he satisfies one of the two tests, to qualify as a resident alien:Green Card test - A test based on the immigration laws to determine the residency status, orSubstantial presence test - A test based on numerical formula, which measure the days you are present in the U.S.There can be scenarios where one person used to be a resident of U.S., but has income generated in India or similarly, a person is resident in India and generates their income from the U.S. In both scenarios, the taxes are payable in both U.S. and India, due to the residency laws and the taxation.Steps to claim the benefit from DTAA:Check the DTAA status between the countries. In the case of India and the U.S. it is applicable, since the DTAA is already in place.Submit the below documents to avail the DTAA clausesDTAA application formTax Residency CertificateSelf attested copy of PAN Card ( Permanent Account number)Any other documents that are relevant to the specific case