Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) rules.

India has emerged as a favoured investment destination, attracting both domestic and international investors, thanks to its strong economy, growth potential, and diverse investment opportunities. However, for US citizens residing in India, navigating investment regulations is vital to optimize returns while adhering to US tax laws, particularly the Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) rules. In this article, we will explore PFIC, identifying investments subject to its rules and those exempted. We’ll also assess the advantages and disadvantages of various investment options for US citizens in India.

Understanding PFIC

PFIC regulations were introduced in the United States in 1986 to discourage US taxpayers from investing in passive foreign assets that could potentially defer or reduce their US tax liabilities. A PFIC is a foreign corporation meeting either of these criteria:

Investments classified as PFICs face taxation on unrealized gains if held at year-end, akin to an annual sale and repurchase. Gains are taxed as “ordinary income,” with losses disregarded until realized. It’s crucial to note that US citizens, regardless of residence, must file taxes in the US on their worldwide income, which may encompass PFIC investments in India.

Investments under PFIC Regulations

US citizens in India must discern which investments fall under PFIC regulations to ensure compliance with US tax laws. The following investments are typically considered PFICs:

  • Mutual Funds:

    Both equity and debt mutual funds domiciled in India often qualify as PFICs due to income from dividends, interest, and capital gains, considered passive income.

  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs):

    Indian-listed ETFs tracking Indian securities are subject to PFIC regulations, mirroring mutual funds’ income generation.

  • Indian AIFs (Alternative Investment Funds):

    Specific categories of AIFs, such as Category 1 and Category 3, may fall under PFIC rules in the US.

Investments Exempt from PFIC Classification

Conversely, certain investment vehicles are typically exempt from PFIC classification:

  • Direct Equity Investments:

    Directly investing in Indian stocks generally circumvents PFIC rules, simplifying tax reporting.

  • Portfolio Management Services (PMSs):

    Since PMSs follow direct equity investments only [here, only PoA lies with the funhouse associated with], PMSs are also exempt from PFIC rules.

  • Direct Bond Investments:

    Acquiring Indian bonds or debentures typically does not trigger PFIC classification.

  • Real Estate Investments:

    Direct investments in Indian real estate, encompassing rental income and capital gains, avoid PFIC classification.

  • Fixed Deposits:

    While not PFICs, interest income from fixed deposits is generally taxable in both India and the US for Indian residents who are also US citizens.

  • Pension Funds:

    Most pension funds, such as EPF and PPF, usually evade PFIC classification due to provisions for pension products.

  • Category 2 AIFs:

    AIFs with pass-through taxation may avoid PFIC rules if they distribute all income, gains, and losses to unit holders.

Investing via Portfolio Management Services (PMS)

US NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) can consider investing in Indian Portfolio Management Services (PMSs).

Investing in Indian portfolio management services that are managed by an Indian entity are considered a direct investment in India and may not be subject to PFIC taxation. However, investing in mutual funds or other passive investment vehicles that hold Indian securities may trigger PFIC taxation for US taxpayers.

US citizens investing in India must navigate PFIC taxation intricacies. While direct equity investments and some instruments like PMS may escape PFIC rules, careful consideration and professional guidance are essential for informed investment decisions, aligning with individual financial goals.

Investing directly in Indian stocks can potentially bypass PFIC taxation, offering control and flexibility. However, it may have its tax implications, warranting professional advice.

PMS investments involve holding equity/debt securities directly, offering potential tax advantages compared to PFICs like Indian Mutual Funds.

Investments in Portfolio Management Services (PMS) in India are different from pooled investment vehicles since the investor’s name directly holds the equity/debt securities, and the PMS acts as a Power of Attorney to execute trades on their behalf. As a result, PMS investments would not be considered PFICs from a US taxation perspective.

Since PMS investments are comparable to direct purchases of securities in a demat account, gains from these investments are subject to the type of income (interest, dividend, or capital gains) and are likely to be taxed at lower rates than those for investments in PFICs. Given the complex tax implications of investing in PFICs such as Indian Mutual Funds, we suggest that US investors consider investing in Indian equities through PMS route instead.

It is important for US NRIs to carefully consider the tax implications of any investment in India and to consult with a qualified tax professional before making any investment decisions. Additionally, it is important to comply with all tax reporting requirements for foreign investments to avoid potential penalties and legal issues.

It is clear from above that PFIC favours US based residents, citizens, or GC holders to invest into Indian PMSs.

Portfolio Management Services (PMSs) emerge as a superior investment structure for High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNIs), and NRIs seeking to optimize their wealth-building strategies.

At PMS AIF WORLD, we take pride in our expertise in comprehending each investor’s unique needs and meticulously selecting the best investment solutions for them.

Our rigorous analysis, conducted over various time periods, consistently demonstrates that PMSs outshine mutual funds in generating substantial wealth and delivering alpha to investors. Click here to check it out.

We invite you to take the next step in your investment journey by booking a consultation with us. Explore the opportunities that PMSs present and embark on a path to financial prosperity tailored to your goals and aspirations.


Click here to book an appointment with one of our Experts.

PMSs Performance #

Company Name Scheme Name Category AUM (in Rs. Cr) 1m Return 3m Return 6m Return 1y Return 2y Return 3y Return 5y Return 10 y Return SI
Abakkus Asset Manager All Cap Approach Multi Cap 5,706.00 4.60% 6.50% 21.00% 46.40% 22.80% 25.10% - - 33.80%
AlfAccurate Advisors IOP PMS Multi Cap 1,532.29 5.90% 7.80% 24.50% 38.50% 21.70% 20.20% 19.50% 19.80% 19.10%
Buoyant Capital Opportunities Multi-cap Multi Cap 3,000.00 6.55% 7.22% 16.08% 40.16% 25.62% 30.57% 24.65% - 22.90%
ICICI Prudential PMS Contra Strategy Multi Cap 6,164.30 5.70% 9.60% 32.90% 52.80% 32.10% 29.40% 25.01% - 23.00%
Negen Capital Special Situations Fund Multi Cap 854.59 14.24% 4.19% 26.41% 66.02% 27.61% 33.40% 31.87% - 19.38%
SageOne Investment Core Portfolio Mid & Small Cap 3,780.00 10.40% 11.70% 37.80% 72.00% 24.30% 24.20% 27.40% 26.00% 28.40%
Sameeksha Capital Equity Fund Multi Cap 1,301.95 6.20% 5.80% 23.40% 61.20% 33.20% 28.20% 31.40% - 24.10%
Stallion Asset Core Fund Multi Cap 1,635.95 7.81% 15.19% 38.65% 87.61% 39.37% 30.12% 32.18% - 30.68%
UNIFI Blended Fund-Rangoli Multi Cap 14,853.00 4.33% 3.43% 20.73% 39.46% 18.85% 23.54% 28.12% - 22.65%
Valentis Advisors Rising Star Opportunity Fund Small Cap 913.48 11.83% -0.52% 17.59% 43.57% 24.16% 27.09% 27.37% - 21.05%

#Returns as of 30 Apr 2024. Returns up to 1 Year are absolute, above 1 Year are CAGR.

A lot of PMSs accept money from US based NRIs. Some of them are:

and a few more…

To know more about these and other Portfolio Management Services (PMSs) from India that accept US based NRI investments, click here to book a 1:1 appointment with our Experts.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is just for information purposes – please do not construe it as a tax advice. It is important for NRIs to stay up-to-date with the latest tax laws and regulations in both India and their country of residence. Please seek professional advice from a qualified tax advisor or financial expert to understand the tax implications of investing in PMS and AIFs in India and to ensure compliance with the relevant tax laws.

The names of funds or PMSs provided herein is also for information purposes only – please do not construe these as any kind of final recommendations from our end. Our advise works subjectively & we do this only after knowing the investor completely. To know more about which funds are best for you, please book an appointment with our Experts.


Do not Simply Invest, Make Informed Decisions


Do Not Simply Invest, Make Informed Decisions

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