Under the Income Tax Act, a non-resident Indian can be assessed directly or through an agent. Section 160(1)(i) defines a “representative assessee” as an agent of the non-resident Indian, including a person who is treated as an agent under Section 163. An agent of a non-resident Indian, as per the provisions of Section 163, includes any person in India who meets the following criteria:
(i) is employed by or on behalf of the non-resident Indian; or
(ii) has any business connection with the non-resident; or
(iii) is in receipt of any income, directly or indirectly, from or through the non-resident; or
(iv) is a trustee of the non-resident; and
(v) has acquired a capital asset in India through transfer.
However, no person can be treated as an agent of a non-resident Indian unless they have had an opportunity to be heard by the Assessing Officer regarding their liability to be treated as such.
Additionally, a non-resident Indian can appoint an authorized representative as their agent to act on their behalf. Such an agent is entitled to file an income tax return, claim a refund of income tax, and carry out other formalities related to income tax on behalf of the non-resident Indian.