Income Tax Return(ITR) : Types, Importants & How to File Last Updated : 20 Oct 2019

Income Tax Return or ITR is the process of filing your tax returns at the end of a financial year. Earlier, it could be done offline but now the entire process is completely online. E-filing of income tax can be done through the official website of the Income Tax Department. 

You can know more about Income Tax, Income Tax Slab, Income Tax Refund Status,Income Tax Refund and Income Tax Login from our other articles.  

What is Income Tax Return? 

A form that is used to declare the net tax liability, claiming of tax deductions, and to report the gross taxable income is called Income Tax Returns. It is mandatory for individuals who earn a certain amount of money to file ITR. Firms or companies, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), and self-employed or salaried individuals must file ITR to the Income Tax Department. Income tax filing can be defined as the procedure by which ITR is filed. The process by which taxpayers file their returns online is called e-filing and it can be completed on the Income Tax Department website. 

What are the different types of Income Tax Returns forms?

Depending on the type of income that is generated by the taxpayer, the form that must be submitted will be different. The various forms can be downloaded from the official website of the income tax department https://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/pages/downloads/income-tax-return.aspx. The different types of ITR forms that are available are mentioned below:

Form Applicability
ITR-1  The form must be used by individuals who make an annual income of less than Rs.50 lakh via pension or salary and from only one house property. 
ITR-2  The form must be used by shareholders of private companies, Directors of Companies, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), or individuals who make an income via capital gains, from two or more house properties, and from foreign sources. However, the income of the individual must be more than Rs.50 lakh. 
ITR-3  The form must be used by individuals who run a proprietorship or are professionals in India. 
ITR-4  Individuals who are under the presumptive taxation scheme must use this form. In order for individuals to join the scheme, they must earn less than Rs.50 lakh from professional income or less than Rs.2 crore from business income. 
ITR-5  In order for association and body of individuals, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), and partnership firms to report their income and tax computation, this form must be used. 
ITR-6  Companies that are registered in India must use this form. 
ITR-7  In case entities are claiming an exemption as universities or colleges, scientific research institutions, political parties, and religious or charitable trusts, this form must be used. 

How to Download Income Tax Return(ITR) Form? 

Here is a step-by-step procedure to download the ITR forms: 

  1. Visit https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/home and click on ‘IT Return Preparation Software’ under the ‘Download’ section 
  2. ITR Form India
  3. Select the assessment year. 
  4. ITR form
  5. Next, download the required ITR form which can be found under the ‘Microsoft Excel’ column.

What is Form 16? Why is it important?

The Form 16 or the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) certificate, is the base of the Income Tax Returns (ITR) filing system. The form is important because it has all the information in regards to the taxes that have been deducted by the employer and paid on behalf of the assessee to the tax department. In this process, all the factors of salary including the basic pay, allowances, and deductions are taken into consideration. The form 16 is to be collected from the employer.

Is it possible to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) without Form 16?

Yes, it is possible to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) without Form 16.

How to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) without Form 16?

Although Form 16 is one of the most important documents required to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) for salaried individuals, it is possible to file the returns without Form 16 as well. There might be circumstances where the assessee might not get a Form 16. The possible reasons behind that can be the employer closing the business or the assessee quitting the job without the completion of the prescribed exit formalities. Either way, not receiving the Form 16 cannot stop an individual from filing their returns. There a number of other documents which can be used as a reference while filing the returns. The following steps are to be followed to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) without Form 16:

  • Step-1 - Computation of Income from Salary: The first and foremost step is to calculate the Income from Salary. The computation of the salary can be done with the help of salary slips, which will act as the main source of reference for the salary earned by the individual during the financial year. Thus, it is important to collect all the salary slips from all the employers for whom an individual has worked during the year. For the returns filed from this year, that is financial year 2017-18, an individual is required to furnish the complete breakup of his/her salary in the Income Tax Returns (ITR). Some of the fields that are needed to be furnished are income from salary or pension, allowances which are not exempted, deductions that are claimed under Section 16, profits arising from salary, and the monetary value of perquisites received by the assessee. Nevertheless, quite a few companies do not furnish the monetary value of the perquisites and the amount of profits arising from salary. In such cases, the assessee should get in touch with the Human Resource (HR) or the concerned accounts department of the company to get the above details. Other than the factors mentioned above, the allowances provided by the employer, contributions made towards provident fund (PF), and the tax deducted at source (TDS), etc. are furnished on the salary slips. It is also recommended to furnish and use the allowances provided by the employer to lower the tax liability. Allowances may include House Rent Allowances (HRA), Leave Travel Allowances (LTA), Transport Allowances (TA), etc. However, it is to be kept in mind that certain allowances are fully exempt under the act while others are partially exempt.
  • Step-2 - Tallying the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) with Form 26AS: The Form 26AS is the form which contains the details of all the taxes that have been deducted from the salary of the assessee as well as any other source of income. Before proceeding to the filing of returns, the assessee should make sure that the figures reflecting on Form 26AS are in correspondence to the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS). In case the figures do not match and the returns are filed, the assessee will be receiving a notice from the Income Tax Department (ITD). Thus, in case of discrepancies, it is recommended to get in touch with the deductor of the tax to get a clear picture of the deduction.
  • Step-3 - Computation of income from house property: In the event where an assessee receives a rent by letting a house property owned by him/her, he/she would be required to report the income under the ‘Income from house property’ head. In addition to that, if the assessee has availed any housing loan (on the let out property or on the self-occupied property) and is paying interest on such advances, then he/she will be eligible to get deductions under the same head for the interests being paid. Further, if the assessee is the owner of 2 or more than 2 house properties, then he/she needs to check the deemed let-out concept. In case of rental income being earned, an assessee can claim a deduction of 30% as well as a deduction of the municipal taxes paid from the rental income.
  • Step-4 - Computation of income from capital gains: An assessee will be eligible to claim exemption on the gains earned from the sale of equities or equity-oriented mutual funds, provided they were held for more than a year and sold on or before 31st March of the respective financial year. However, as a document of proof, the summary statement of the equities or equity-based mutual funds has to be collected by the assessee from the broker. In case of gains arising from the disposal of land or building, the assessee should have the purchase and sale deed with him/her to refer to it and have the accurate amounts for calculation.
  • Step-5 - Computation of income from other sources: The income from other sources is also required to be furnished in the Income Tax Returns (ITR). Income from other sources include incomes such as interests earned on different bank accounts (including savings account, recurring deposits account, fixed deposits, etc.), interest earned on income tax refunds, dividends received, income from rented machinery, plant, or furniture, income from pension or annuity, etc. The details in regards to interest earned on income tax refund can be found in Form 26AS. The details pertaining to the income from interest from bank accounts can be found in the respective bank passbook.
  • Step-6 - Computing and claiming available deductions: The next most important step for an assessee would be to figure out all the available deductions that can be claimed by him/her. As per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, there are various sections under which an individual can claim deductions. These sections are Section 80C, 80D, 80CCC, 80CCD, etc. The most common deductions such as life insurance, equity-linked savings schemes, Provident Fund (PF), Public Provident Fund, repayment of principal amount of home loan, etc. fall under Section 80C. Medical insurance premium, on the other hand, falls under Section 80D. The Income Tax Act has a prescribed limit based on which the claims for deductions can be made. For example, under Section 80C, deductions can be claimed to the extent of Rs.1.5 lakh. Thus, it is necessary for an assessee to calculate all the deductions that he/she can avail in order to save on tax payment.
  • Step-7 - Computation of total taxable income: Once all of the above steps are completed, an assessee can figure out his/her total taxable income. To ascertain the total taxable income, all the deductions have to be subtracted from the total income arising from various sources. The end result is the total taxable income.
  • Step-8 - Calculation of income tax liability: For an assessee, it is also important to ascertain the total income tax liability that he/she has. There are a number of third-party websites on the public domain that offers the option to ascertain the income tax liability with the help of income tax calculator. These income tax calculators can be used by an assessee to find out the final income tax liability.
  • Step-9 - Making payment for additional tax liability: After finding out the final income tax liability, if the amount of tax paid as per the figures reflected in Form 26AS is less than the actual liability, the taxpayer will be required to pay the balance amount of tax to the Income Tax Department (ITD). However, if the amount reflected in Form 26AS is sufficient or more than the actual tax liability, the assessee is not required to make any extra payment.
  • Step-10 - Filing the Income Tax Returns (ITR): This is the final step of e-filing without Form 16. Once all of the above steps are successfully carried out, the assessee can login to his/her profile on the e-filing portal and file his/her Income Tax Returns (ITR). However, it is important to e-verify the returns within 120 days from the date of e-filing.

The steps mentioned above can be followed to e-file Income Tax Returns (ITR) without Form 16. Keeping all the documents listed above handy will make the process of e-filing easier and hassle-free. It is also important to file the returns before the due date to avoid late fees under Section 234F.

Filing an Income Tax Return - Is it Important?

Currently( FY 2018-19 ) , is mandatory for one to file income tax returns in India if the following conditions are applicable -

  • If the gross total annual income (before deductions under 80C to 80U) is Rs. 2,50,000 (for ages less than 60 years), Rs. 3,00,000 (for ages 60 years but less than 80 years) and Rs. 5,00,000 (for ages 80 years and above)
  • If it’s a company or firm, irrespective of the profit or loss made in a financial year
  • If a tax refund needs to be claimed
  • If a loss under a head of income needs to be carried forward
  • If being a resident of India, one has an asset or financial interest in any entity located outside India
  • If being a resident of India, one is a signing authority in a foreign account
  • If one receives income derived from property held under a trust for charitable or religious purposes or a political party or a research association, news agency, educational or medical institution, trade union, a not for profit university or educational institution, a hospital, infrastructure debt fund, any authority, body or trust
  • If one is applying for a loan or a visa

If an NRI derives any or all of his/her income through sources in India, that income is liable to be taxable in India, and income tax returns for the same will be necessary.

With the implementation of e-filing of Income Tax Returns, the following cases will require an e-filing of Income Tax:
  • In case a refund is required
  • In case the gross total annual income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000
  • In case an income tax refund is required
  • ITR-3, 4,5,6,7 have to be mandatorily e-filed

Penalties for not filing ITR 

The last date for filing returns for the FY 2018-2019 is 31 July 2019. In case the returns are not filed by the due date, huge penalties are levied on the taxpayer. Apart from penalties, there could be other inconveniences and consequences that the individual would face in case the returns are not filed. Depending on when the returns are filed after the due date, individuals could face penalties between Rs.1,000 and Rs.10,000. Given below is the penalties that are levied for a delay in filing ITR: 

Date of filing ITR Income below Rs.5 lakh Income above Rs.5 lakh
31 July 2019  Nil  Nil 
From 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2019  Rs.1,000  Rs.5,000 
From 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019  Rs.1,000  Rs.10,000 

Apart from penalties, in case taxpayers are eligible to receive a refund, there will be a delay in case the ITR is filed late. Taxpayers will also have to pay a 1% interest on the pending amount in case the returns are not filed on time. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

I am a self-employed professional. My income this year is below the minimum income tax slab, but it was higher in the previous 2 years and I had filed ITRs then. Do I have to file a return this year?

Ideally, if your income is below the minimum slab, you do not need to file your income tax return. But if you have been filing it previously, it would be better if you file a return this year declaring low income. This is because the Income Tax Department may construe your non-filing as a delay or non-compliance because of your past record of filing ITR. They might send you a notice. In case you do not want to file ITR, be prepared to reply to the income tax notice if it comes into your mail box.

If I have already paid advance taxes and have no dues or refunds, can I skip filing of income tax return?

No, you have to file your ITR especially if you have paid the taxes. It is not an optional activity. An ITR gives the government a complete record of how your income is distributed – assets, total income, tax liability, tax paid and refunds. This helps them monitor people for tax fraud of any kind. If you fail to file ITR, you are liable to pay penalty or face scrutiny and prosecution.

Is an ITR useful to me in daily life?

Of course, yes. You’ll find a duly-filed ITR very useful as a proof of income when you have to apply for a bank loan, when you have to make accident claims in third party insurance, for immigration and visa, for appointment in judicial and class 1 jobs, for winning government tenders, for registration in professional panels, for seeking funding for a startup, etc.

How long do we need to wait to get income tax refund?

Refunds are disbursed only after your ITR is processed. This may take up to 1 year after you file your return. It is also possible that even if you are claiming refund, the taxman may have ascertained that you are not liable for a refund for various reasons such as a calculation error on your part. If you think your calculations are right and you have to get a refund, then you can write to the I-T Department again. Sometimes, you do not get a refund because of wrong PAN or bank account number on the ITR, or the cheque not reaching you because of wrong address or you not being at home when the postman reached. If you filed your ITR online, you can check the status of your refund through your Income Tax e-filing account.

Best Way to File Income Tax Return:

There are multiple ways of filing Income Tax Return. You can file your ITR yourself or take the help of a chartered accountant. The easiest way is to file your tax online yourself. You can do so on the website of the Income Tax Department. All you have to do is fill the relevant columns on the ITR form and submit it. You can also choose to file your ITR using any third-party e-filing website as well. If you find it difficult to file your ITR yourself and need expert advice, then it is best to take the help of a chartered accountant.

Can I File Income Tax Return after Due Date?

Yes, you can file your Income Tax Return after the due date. Due to unavoidable circumstances sometimes people are unable to file their ITR by the due date. In such cases, they have the option of filing a belated return under Section 139 (4) before the end of Assessment Year or before the Assessment is completed (whichever is earlier)

How to Check the Status of Income Tax Return?

Once you file your Income Tax Return, you can check the status of Income Tax Refund on the website of the Income Tax Department of India. You can check the status after 10 days, starting from the date the refund is sent by entering your Permanent Account Number and selecting the Assessment Year.

Income Tax Return for Salaried Individuals:

Individuals who earn income from salary and interest have to fill and submit ITR 1 (SAHAJ) form while filing their Income Tax Return.

Income Tax Return Notice:

If you do not file your Income Tax Return in an Assessment Year, then you may receive a notice from the Income Tax (IT) Department. The IT Department keeps a track on financial transactions and activities of individuals who are identified as non-filers. If there is a discrepancy with the amount of tax that you have declared in your ITR, then you may receive a notice from the IT Department. You may also receive a notice if the department wants to review any documents related to the ITR that you have filed.

News About Income Tax Return

  • ITR deadline notification fake says IT department

    The Income Tax Department said that the notification regarding the extent of income tax return (ITR) for this financial year is fake. A clarification of the copy of notification was issued by the Income Tax department on its official twitter account. As per the Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act, September 30 is the last day for individuals, companies, partnership firms, etc. whose account is to be audited to file their income tax returns.

    As per the fake notification, the Income Tax department had pushed the last date for filing of income tax from September 30 to October 15. Another fake notification was doing the rounds on various social media sites stating that the last date for individuals to file their income tax returns has been extended.

    30 September 2019

  • Deadline to file Income Tax Returns extended

    The Finance Ministry has extended the deadline to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) for FY 2018-2019 from July 31 to August 31. The extension comes as a relief for individual taxpayers who faced many problems when filing returns.

    The deadline for most Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and individuals was July 31. The category for HUFs and individuals who were supposed to file tax returns by July 31 were the ones who did not need to file their tax returns on a compulsory basis in order to get their accounts audited. The extension was requested by many chartered accountants so that individuals have sufficient time to file their returns. In case individuals do not file their tax returns by the deadline but file it by December 31, the penalty that will be levied is Rs.5,000. In case individuals file their tax returns between January 1 and March 31, the penalty that will be levied is Rs.10,000. However, Rs.1,000 will be the penalty that will be levied in case individuals who earn an income of less than Rs.5 lakh do not file their tax returns on time.

    25 July 2019

  • 1.3 crore new income tax return filers targeted by the government

    On 22 July 2019, the Parliament had informed that the target set by the government is for the addition of 1.3 crore new income tax return filers for the current financial year. For the FY 2018-2019, 1.1 crore new taxpayer filed returns.

    For the Assessment Year 2018-2019, there were 8.44 crore taxpayers. This includes individuals who have paid tax for AY 2018-2019, as well as individuals who did not file returns, but the tax was deducted at source for them for FY 2017-2018. Various measures such as using a centralised Non-filer Monitoring System (NMS), simplifying the process to file income tax returns, issuing of notices to ensure compliance, etc., have been introduced to achieve the target. Anurag Thakur, the Minister of State for Finance, has said that the Government has fixed the target of 1.3 new income tax filers for the current financial year when compared to the 1.1 crore individuals that were added for FY 2018-2019. He further added that there was a total allotment of 46,13,168 Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) until 30 July 2019. 30,618 PAN-TIN facilitation centres are also present in India.

    23 July 2019

  • Last date to file ITR not the same for all

    Depending on the category the taxpayer falls under, the last date to file the Income Tax Returns (ITR) will vary. July 31 is the last date to file ITR for taxpayers whose accounts need not be audited, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), and individuals.

    However, for accounts that need to be audited, such as a working partner at a firm, a proprietorship, a company, etc., September 30 will be the last date to file ITR. In case the taxpayer has to submit a report under Section 92E, the last date to file returns will be November 30. Taxpayers that have done any international transactions during the financial year must submit Section 92E. In case the ITR is not filed by the due date, the returns can still be filed. Such returns will be known as belated returns and must be filed by 31 March 2020. However, a penalty will be levied. In case that deadline is missed as well, you will not be able to file the returns unless you get a notification from the Income Tax Department. The penalty that will be levied for filing returns between 31 July and 31 December is Rs.5,000 and from 31 December is Rs.10,000. However, in case the total income of the individual is less than Rs.5 lakh, the maximum penalty that can be levied is Rs.1,000.

    19 July 2019

  • Budget 2019: Key rule changes when filing Income Tax Returns

    It is mandatory for individuals who are earning a certain amount of money to file Income Tax Returns (ITR). The recently announced Budget 2019 saw a few changes when it comes to filing ITR. Some of the key changes that were announced in Budget 2019 regarding filing ITR are mentioned below:

    Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Aadhaar can be interchanged when filing returns.

    Pre-filed tax returns will be available to taxpayers. The availability of pre-filed tax returns not only reduces that time to file ITR but also ensures that accurate income is reported as well.

    A proposal has been put forward to make the PAN valid in case the Aadhaar number is not linked to the PAN. Currently, if the Aadhaar number is not linked to the PAN, the PAN becomes invalid.

    A proposal has been put forward by the government to make it mandatory for the below-mentioned individuals to file their tax returns:

    In case more than Rs.1 crore is deposited in a year in a current account. In case more than Rs.1 lakh is spent in a year on electricity. In case more than Rs.2 lakh is spent in a year on travel. In case capital gain exemption is claimed so that individuals are within the exemption limit.

    15 July 2019

  • Important things to know about Income Tax Returns

    It is mandatory for individuals who are earning a certain amount of money to file Income Tax Returns. Individuals who do not file their ITR on time will have to pay a penalty. Depending on the source of income, the amount of income that is made, and the category the taxpayer falls under, they will have to choose the relevant form.

    ITR is filed by individuals to inform the Income Tax Department of the income that they have earned and the tax that is applicable to them. ITR 1, ITR 2, ITR 3, ITR 4, ITR 5, ITR 6, and ITR 7 are the various types of ITR forms that are available. The ITR must be filed by the taxpayer by the specified date. The ITR 1 form is used by individuals who make an income from salaries, a single house property, and other sources. However, the total income must not exceed Rs.50 lakh. Based on the income that is made by the individual, the penalty will vary in case the ITR is not filed by the due date.

    15 July 2019

  • Communication reimbursement is a popular choice for salaried employees for tax saving

    As per the recent studies and surveys, 76% of the salaried employees in the country choose internet and mobile reimbursements while claiming for internet and phone allowances during income tax return (ITR) filing. Internet and mobile allowances, also known as communication benefits, is received by an employee from his/her employer as a part of the tax-savings program. This program enables an employee to take home a higher salary without the inclusion of any extra cost-to-company (CTC). According to the Indian income tax guidelines, communication reimbursements include internet or data connection and phone bills (both mobile and landline) and for all official calls and data usage tax allowance is provided to an employee. This communication reimbursement being a pre-tax deduction helps to reduce the overall income tax of the employees. However, to make the reimbursement claim an employee is required to have a phone (both landline and prepaid connection) or data connection in their name. Even though the income tax guideline doesn't have any specific rule regarding the number of connections, most of the companies allow reimbursement for only one connection or phone number. Generally, most of the companies offer between Rs.1,000 to Rs.3,000/month for internet and mobile claims. However, there is no limit/cap for claiming internet and phone allowances.

    10 April 2019

  • ITR and service tax return mismatches come under scrutiny

    Tax officials will scrutinise mismatches in turnover numbers between the service tax returns and income tax returns. They have been notified to do this by the Revenue Department for the fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) stated that there was a Rs.12 crore gap between the value of the services declared for the fiscal year 2015-16 versus the turnover on the account of services according to the TDS/ITR data. For the fiscal year 2016-17 also mismatches were noticed. This could point to revenue leakage. This mismatch came to the attention in respect of the permanent account numbers (PANs) that are not registered under service tax or which were registered but service tax returns were not filed under them. There was also a mismatch in values between the turnover in the service tax returns and those in the TDS or ITR forms. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) had subsumed the service tax from July 1, 2017, so the period which comes under scrutiny now is for the two years before GST was rolled out. The collections of net service tax was Rs.2.54 lakh crore in 2016-17 whereas in 2015-16 it was Rs.2.11 lakh crore.

    9 April 2019

  • Filing belated Income Tax Returns

    A declaration that you have paid tax for your income is called Income Tax Return (ITR). It is mandatory for individuals to file their ITR. Details such as allowances, reliefs claimed, investments made, and income must be mentioned when filing returns. Belated ITR must be filed by 31 March 2019 and the last date to file returns for the current financial year is 31 July 2019. In case individuals do not file their belated returns, there is an Rs.1,000 penalty and they will not be entitled to receive tax benefits.

    The process for filing belated returns before the due date is similar to filing ITR. Individuals who earn a taxable income must file for their income tax returns by declaring their total income. The returns must be filed electronically. Paper returns can be filed by individuals who are above the age of 80 years and earn an income of less than Rs.5 lakh. However, these individuals must also not claim any refunds on returns. The taxable income that will be charged is 5% for the FY 2017-2018 for income between Rs.2.5 lakh and Rs.5 lakh as compared to the 10% for the FY 2016-2017.

    28 March 2019

  • Steps You Have to Follow While Filing the Revised Return Online

    Taxpayers can, now, file for their revised income tax return (ITR) online for the returns that were filed manually or the previous Paper Filed Returns. This means that this facility will allow the individuals who are eligible to file for a revised ITR, will be able to do the same online even after having filed for their returns manually. Taxpayers will also be able to rectify any errors or omissions in the original Income Tax Return (ITR) that was submitted while filing for a revised return in the e-filing portal.

    See the steps below to learn how to file the revised return online:

    Step 1 - You will have to visit the Income Tax e -Filing portal at www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

    Step 2 - Login to the portal using your user ID (PAN) and Password.

    Step 3 - Enter the Captcha code and click on the 'Login' button.

    Step 4 - Click on 'Income Tax Return' under the 'e -File' menu.

    Step 5 - Then, you will be redirected to a new page.

    Step 6 - You will have to enter the correct details in the online ITR form and submit it.

    Step 7 - Next, you have to e-verify the returns and send the ITR-V through normal or speed post to the Income Tax Department in Bengaluru.

    26 March 2019

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