20% TCS on credit card use abroad has Internet fuming. How will it affect you?

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMay 18, 2023 | 16:11

20% TCS on credit card use abroad has Internet fuming. How will it affect you?

Credit card use abroad to get costlier. Photo: DailyO

A late-night notification on Tuesday, May 16 by the Union Finance Ministry brought credit card payments overseas under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme. It means that Indian credit card transactions made abroad will now be costlier as users will have to pay a steep 20% tax collected at source (TCS).

The changes will come into effect from July 1. Till then, the current TCS charge of 5% is applied. 


Chaos on Twitter

The news of higher taxes on credit card use abroad has not gone down well with people, who are flooding Twitter with memes and criticism. As of May 18, "20% TCS" is trending on Twitter, with many questioning the reasoning behind levying such steep taxes. 

Many highlighted how the 20% TCS on credit card use overseas will actually hamper the "ease of doing business" for Indians.


What does it mean?

  • During Union Budget 2023 in February, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hiked the TCS rate from 5% to 20% under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme. 
  • It means that any money sent abroad via bank transfer, forex cards, purchase of property or booking of a tour package is subject to 20% TCS, except for education and medical purposes. 
  • However, earlier credit card transactions weren't included under the ambit of LRS. But with the May 16 notification, they are also officially subject to the 20% TCS. 
  • Now, any type of payment done through a credit card, be it for flight or hotel booking or food expenses abroad, will be subject to 20% TCS.
  • Furthermore, under the notification, those who wish to spend over $2,50,000 (approx over Rs 2 crore) will need to get prior permission. 

Why is the government charging higher taxes?

The government says that charging TCS will help them track high-value overseas transactions.  

Can you claim it back?

Yes. While filing for the annual ITR, you can claim back the 20% TCS deducted. However, on Twitter people complained the new tax changes have only made foreign trips more expensive and cumbersome.

So, what's the best way to manage expenses while abroad? Since any foreign remittance be it in the form of stock investment, credit card use, forex card use, etc is now subject to 20% TCS, it is better to count the charges as extra expenses in the budget, which can only be claimed while filing for ITR. You are only in luck if you are travelling abroad before July 1. 

Last updated: May 18, 2023 | 18:07
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