If you generate income in any form, from any given source in India, you are liable to pay income tax. Moreover, if your total remuneration amount exceeds a certain limit on which application of taxes is not possible, you will be required to claim tax refunds. For this purpose, filing income tax returns is an essential activity.
To make the filing proceedings fairly smooth and convenient, it is now possible to file your returns online, thanks to the age of digital media and electronic gadgets! Over the period of time, the process of e-filing income tax has gained immense popularity amongst people all over the country. Being technologically advanced goes a long way in ensuring that you efficiently e-file your taxes. Even if you are not able to, you can always seek assistance from chartered accountants, fellow taxpayers, or experts of that field.
When Should you E-File your Income Tax?
In order to prudently make the most of the process of e-filing income tax returns, you must ensure that you are bringing to fruition the following conditions:
- The taxable income of the taxpayer must be at least Rs.5 lakh or more.
- An audit summary report must be furnished under Sections 10(23C), 10(23C) (v), 10(23C) (via), 12A (1) (b), 44AB, 80IA, 80IB, 80IC, 80ID, 80JJAA, 80LA, 92E, and 115JB of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- Your assessment officer must be provided with a prior notice in compliance with Section 112 (A) of the Income Tax Act.
Difference Between Forms 26AS and Form 16
It is of utmost importance that you know and understand the fundamental differences between these two forms. Form 16 usually contains information such as employer’s name and address, their PAN and TAN details, tax deducted summary and details, and the total employment period of the employee. Form 26AS on the other hand provides information of tax credits. Essentially, a form 26AS lets you know of the deduction of tax and its subsequent deposit in the accounts of the Indian Government.
How to E-file your Tax Returns?
- Log in to the website for Income Tax E-filing. This is the primary step.
- Herein your PAN details will act as your username that you will use to log in.
- Compare Forms 16 and 26AS. The statement of your tax credits must be in accordance with your tax deducted at source (available in Form 16).
- Choose the accurate financial year after this step and select the correct e-filing IT return form.
- Post this, you will be required to select the accurate ITR form, the one that is in compliance with your income. In case your income exempted is more than Rs.5,000, you have to choose ITR-2.
- In the next step, you have to access the excel utility form which is essentially a return prep software made available for taxpayers. Fill up all the particulars by referring to information from Form 16.
- Any due taxes need to be paid off after this step and challan details need to be filled.
- Choose the option to validate the information entered and proceed to the next step.
- Save the XML file on the desktop of your computer/laptop.
- On the panel of the income tax e-filing portal, look for the option ‘’upload return’’ and subsequently upload your downloaded XML file.
- In the next step you will be required to digitally sign the file. If you have a digital signature available make use of it.
- An ITR-Verification form or ITR-V will henceforth be generated which basically acts like an acknowledgment form.
- This form needs to be printed out and signed on with blue ink.
- Speed post this to the department of Income Tax.
Points to Keep in Mind When E-Filing IT Returns
- Refrain from using the same phone number and email id to e-file income tax consecutively for more than four taxpayers.
- Take into careful consideration all the information that you are making use of while e-filing your tax return. In case there is a discrepancy (even in the slightest form), there is a chance that your return filing might be negated altogether.
Whenever the topic of Income tax is talked over, we as taxpayers have to take into consideration certain peripheral activities that come as a mandate with paying income tax and filing tax returns.
According to Section 139 (1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, 30th July is the deadline for filing income tax returns concerning individuals and members of HUF. However, if there is a requirement from a company’s end to furnish reports pertaining to Section 44AB, the deadline for filing returns will be 30th September, every year.
Deadline of Return Filing Till Assessment Year 2016-17
According to Section 139 (4) of the Income Tax Act, if an individual has not been able to file his/her tax returns within the deadline specified above, he/she may do so for the existing financial year at any point of time till two years, preferably at the earliest.
In simple terms, an assessee has two years from the end of the relevant financial year to file his/her tax returns. Example: If you forgot to file your income tax returns for the financial year 2015-16, you will have time till 31 March 2018 to do so.
However, this law underwent a drastic change which has been discussed in the following paragraph.
Deadline of Return Filing Assessment Year 2017-18 Onwards
The Finance Act of 2016 brought into existence an amendment that basically altered the limit of time within which an income tax return is supposed to be filed. From 2 years, the time limit was reduced to 1 year since the end of the relevant financial year.
To put it simply, an assessee will henceforth have only one year from the end of the relevant financial year to file his/her tax returns. Example: if you have forgotten to file your returns for the financial year 2017-18, you will have time till 31 March 2019 to do so.
Correction of Income Tax Return Till Assessment Year 2016-17
According to the provisions stated under Section 139 (5), if an individual discovers any discrepancy in his/her return filing, he will have the leverage to change/alter the same within a year from the end of the relevant financial year. Let us take an example here, if you had filed a return on 30 July 2016, and later found out that the return had some discrepancy, you may revise the same any time till 31 March 2018.
Correction of Income tax Return Assessment Year 2017-18 onwards
There has been an extension in the deadline for correcting a tax return if any disparity is discovered after the process. This means that an assessee can change or alter his/her tax return upto two years from the termination of the relevant financial year. Let us again understand this with the help of an example. Where financial year 2016-17 is concerned, you can have your return revised on 31 March 2019.
Even if you had filed your return after 30 July 2017, you will still have time till 2019 to make the necessary changes.
It is important to bear in mind that the laws and guidelines have been altered drastically for assessment year 2017-18 and one must consider the same carefully before commencing to file income tax returns for the relevant financial year.