Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TODO Checklist before Returning to India

Lifted from here.

Another link with good info here

Long Term Planning

1. I think the time required to plan for r2i is 6 months.
2. If you have a house, sell it first. This is very critical. I made that mistake of thinking that house can be sold fast. I have a house in a very very desirable area, but the housing makret took a downturn which was not expected. So sell the house and rent for short term. This will also allow you to sell things that you want, and also get the money from the house.
3. Decide what stuff you want to take and what you want to sell/donate. That will help you make a decision on whether you want to take a container or partial. Also call some moving companies and get a quote to help you decide.
4. Start consolidating accounts. Close accounts you won't need.
5. Make a list of things that you want to buy and take with you. Look around for deals on these things.
6. Time your move- couple of things to consider
a. A good time to sell the house is spring/summer
b. Admissions in India for kids
c. Weather: If you are moving to a city where the weather is hot, you might want to move in colder months so that the transition is easier.
d. Taxes in US
7. Decide on which city you want to r2i. For some folks, its only one city, but for others it might be a choice. If that is the case, take a trip to India and see which cities you like.
8. Don't worry about job search until 2 months before r2i.

Things do do closer to r2i

Finance Related:

1. Decide on finances. Where will you put the money? Options are in US, in India etc. See the various FAQ’s on the group.
2. Consolidate accounts - financial. Keep a few that you can maintain from India (if you want to leave money in US). Prefer those, which have online facilities.
3. Open a NRE account with banks like Citibank, ICICI for transition funds (that you may need in India immediately)
4. Close credit cards. Good idea to keep one for transition period. Keep either Visa or MasterCard. Try one, which has online facilities to check statements.
5. File for Reimbursement from Flex spending accounts for Day care and medical bills.
6. If you need to encash savings bonds, do them before you leave. Carry the certificates safely with you. Send a photocopy of the bonds with your shipping.
7. Print and carry enough check books for your US checking account. You will find it difficult to order printing and shipping them to you when you need them most.
8. 401K: If you have 401K plans with employer, after you leave job, roll it over to Rollover IRA. The trick here is that you can only do it after you leave your job. So give yourself some time after you quit you job and before you leave.
9. Order 1040/1040NR forms, publications, and instructions from IRS web site and carry them to India. You may need them for reference or to discuss with your CA/FP in India
10. File W8 with financial institutions if you don’t have GC/USC.

Documents Related

1. Get medical Records from Doctors/Dentist etc. Get immunization record for kids. Fill prescriptions/get checkup done.
2. Get your kids school record for the current year. If you are leaving two three months before the school session here, ask them to certify that he/she is eligible for next grade promotion. Remember school session start at least two months earlier in India.
3. Maintain a neat address book, with all the Name, Phone number, e-mail, address information of important people here in USA. Like your tax consultant, Bank etc. This would be especially handy if you need to contact them from India through your friend in USA. Always maintain one paper copy. All these electronic organizers etc always fail when you need them most This may also happen that they want you to remove the batteries due to security reasons.
4. If you have a scanner and CD burner, have important docs, scanned and copied in the CD-R.
5. Carry at least last 3 years of (if you can all) IRS filing and other attachments sent. If there is dispute, you may need them for reference. 6. Get extra Birth Certificates for USC kids.

Other Issues/Things to do:

1. If renting, give notice and plan that.
2. . Book a container/space on the container. Refer to other thread on packing etc.
3. Once you have decided what stuff you are going to take, start packing.
4. A month or so before r2i, start talking to companines about job in India. Have a fixed date of return.
5. Talk with your immediate bosses (whom you trust) for possible reference check. Take them into confidence for future checks on you. Many employer prefer checking your background. Ask the possible mode of contact. This is important.
6. Get a friends/relatives address as a forwarding address for US.
7. Change of address- employer (for W2/last paycheck), utilities, bank, brokerage, etc.
8. Book tickets to India. If on h1b and layoff, company will pay for your ticket.
9. Get PIO Card/Long term visa for US citizen family members. If getting PIO card get it advance, since it might take a month to get it.
10. Sell car(s). Rent a car for the remaining period. Remember that once you sell your car, you don’t have liability coverage. Credit cards will only provide collision coverage. But liability coverage when renting a car. The other option is to keep one car till the end and give it to a friend to sell and send you the money. This way you can save on renting a car.
11. When leaving apt/house, call utilities-Phone, cable, Power, gas, garbage collection, newspaper, water, cell phone, Internet. Close all accounts. Give forwarding address so that they can send last bill or refund payment.
12. Have a local friends/relative address for refund checks, bank statements, last bills etc. Provide them with deposit slips and envelopes to deposit any checks. For any bills, either ask them to pay it (and pay them) or if you have online bill pay then pay through that.
13. Enjoy the move. Its an experience!!!

In India:

1. Inform your bank about your return. Convert NRE account to NRO account. Reduce the balance. It is taxable now. (Even in RNOR)
2. Open a liquid account (it is like MMF) with some big mutual fund company and move your NRE balance there.
3. Continue your FCNR until maturity. As each deposit matures, roll them into RFC fixed deposits.
4. Remember Indian fiscal year is April to March. Find out how to file returns and seek a local CA/FP help for the first year, if you need.
5. Always write checks in Indian Rupees for others. Write $ checks only for deposit in your account. This will be a security for your account also will help in balancing your Indian account and US Accounts.
6. Keep low profile. You don’t need to advertise to every one that you are returned NRI and have left wealth behind. With kidnapping increasing everyday for ransom, your kids are in danger.

In USA:
1. Roll over your 401k to IRA and complete the process before leaving. Allocate the funds of your choice in IRA. Understand the procedure for withdrawal of funds from your IRA account.
2. Have atleast two bank accounts. Too many bank accounts are messy. One bank account may not be enough. Choose atleast one of the big banks - like Citi, BoA who have branches in India.
3. Consider opening a bank account in India in the same bank after return.
4. Close all credit card accounts except one. Keep Visa or Mastercard account - which can be virtually used anywhere. Discontinue AMEX or Discover card. So, earn cash back bonus and other rewards before closing.
5. Open Mutual fund account in India, invest some in bond funds with low maturity period in growth option. After a year when you withdraw this money, you will only pay 10% tax. Also this will offer all the liquidity one need.
6. Avoid carrying cash during the travel back to India. You will have many thoughts running your mind. This will be an additional burden. If you must, take traveller's checks, sign them, and write down the numbers and send it as an email to your self. After cashing them you can always delete your email.
7. Print and carry enough check books for your US checking account. You will find it difficult to order printing and shipping them to you when you need them most.
8. Order 1040/1040NR forms, publications, instructions from IRS web site and carry them to India. You may need them for reference or to discuss with your CA/FP in India.
9. If you have a scanner and CD burner, have important docs, scanned and copied in the CD-R.
10. If you need to encash savings bonds, do them before you leave. Carry the certificates safely with you. Send a photocopy of the bonds with your shipping.
11. Carry atleast last 3 years of ( if you can all ) IRS filing and other attachments sent. If there is dispute, you may need them for reference.
12. Request to Freeze your credit and request credit alert. If there is any credit request in your account, the creditor has to call you to verify before authorization. Also check your credit history regularly. With http://www.annualcreditreport.com, you can get free credit report from all three agencies once in a year free of cost. If you schedule it properly, you can get a free credit report once in 4 months, without paying anything. Serious paranoids can opt for credit monitoring service that may cost about $10 per month.