This is an important guide for any Indian earning in foreign currencies. If you are one of them, read it carefully and share it with others who receive funds from foreign countries.
Note: This article needs more revision and input from experts. Use this article as a guide only and discuss it with your chartered accountant if required. There may be technical errors in this article, as I have limited knowledge about it. As I learn more about this, I will update this reference material.
What’s a FIRC/FIRS and why you need it?
FIRC (Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate) is an important piece of document that acts as evidence that you have received funds in foreign currency. Many authorities in India recognize this as proof and you may require it in certain scenarios.
FIRS is a document issued on the bank’s letterhead which has details of inward remittance received through the bank.
FIRC/FIRS certificate can be obtained by an Individual or any business: be it a private limited company, partnership firm, a sole proprietorship firm or others.
Why you need FIRC/FIRS?
FIRC/FIRS document contains all important information about the inward remittance such as:
- Sender details
- Amount on foreign currency
- Converted amount in INR
- UTR number
- Account number
Since foreign inward remittance is also used for money laundering, this document helps in case if your account or transaction ever get flagged as suspicious. Such incidents are not uncommon and having a FIRC/FIRS will be helpful. If you are someone who is receiving funds from foreign countries on a regular basis, obtaining a FIRC/FIRS should be part of your financial workflow.
If you are wondering how to obtain the FIRC/FIRS certificate, we will look into that in the upcoming section. But before that, let us understand, as a freelancer, blogger, digital marketer or anyone who falls in similar categories, which document can you get.
- FIRC is issued for inward remittances covering Foreign Direct Investment or Foreign Institutional Investment (FDI/FII).
- For the exports of goods and services, FIRS/FIRC is generated by the recipient bank or payment portals like Paypal, Payoneer. In the majority of cases, bloggers, freelancers, e-commerce sellers fall in this category.
How to Obtain FIRC/FIRS:
Obtaining FIRC/FIRS is not as cumbersome as it used to be and here I’m highlighting some of the best ways to obtain FIRC/FIRS.
Receiving FIRC from Payoneer:
Payoneer is one of the preferred ways of receiving international payments due to low cost. Payoneer users can ontain the FIRC document with the following steps:
1. Login to Payoneer.
2. Click on the notifications icon and find the FIRC message.
3. Open the message and click the embedded link to download the document.
To open the document, you will need a password. To know the password, write a mail to the customer care.
Payoneer issues FIRC for free.
More from Payoneer:
Receiving FIRC from PayPal:
PayPal is one of the oldest and widely used payment system in India for foreign payments. However, the process of obtaining FIRC via PayPal is tiresome.
Few fine-points about PayPal FIRC request:
- PayPal processes payment via Citibank and FIRC will be issued by Citibank.
- The FIRC will be sent to your bank address. You should inform your relationship manager or local branch for the same.
- It can take 7-10 days for FIRC to be issued.
- You need to create a manual request for FIRC issuance (Process listed below)
- For requests up to 20 transactions, FIRC/ Advice will be priced on a per-transaction basis: 100 INR + 18% GST
- For requests more than 20 transactions, Citibank will issue a bulk FIRC/ Advice and will be priced at 2,000 INR + 18%
You can find the complete process and steps for PayPal FIRC here.
Note: Considering Payoneer offers FIRC issuance for free and PayPal charges a hefty sum of 100 INR + 18% GST per certificate, you should consider using Payoneer for receiving payment whenever possible. In my case study of Payoneer vs PayPal, I have found Payoneer help you save a significant amount of money in the longer run.
Receiving FIRS certificate from Bank:
In case if the sender has wire-transferred funds to your bank account directly, you can contact your relationship manager or local bank account for the issuance of the FIRS. ICICI bank has recently added an option to directly download i-FIRS from their corporate internet banking portal. It is very simple to use and free of cost.
Here are a few pages for some of the popular bank of India:
Note: I could not find more information from other banks about the issuance of payment advice or FIRS.
Note: This article may contain technical mistakes as I’m no expert in this regard. However, knowing about FIRC/FIRS and collecting it could be helpful in the future.
You should also know about the SEIS scheme that would help you earn an extra 3-5 %.
If you are someone who is an expert on FIRC compliance or want to share your experience, you can comment below.
For further reading:
- How To Receive Amazon U.S. Affiliate Payment Using Payoneer
- 9 Best Paypal Alternatives: Online Payment for Small Business (2020)