ITR - Income Tax Return

Income Tax Return or ITR is the process of filing 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.

Tax is a central element to the revenue generation system of the Indian government. Among the multitude of taxes present in the system, income tax is the one that deals with the taxation of the earning of every individual, firm or organisation in a financial year. The earning or income could be in the form of regular wages, interest, dividends, capital gains or any other profits.

What is Income Tax Return?

Income Tax Return is a proof that you have paid your income tax. It contains details about your annual income and the amount of tax you have paid. Every year, Indian citizens who earn taxable income have to file Income Tax Return (ITR). Filing ITR will help you in getting a refund in case you pay more tax than what you are required to pay. If you fail to file your ITR, you might have to pay penalty or face legal consequences.

Income Tax Return

Income Tax Return - Is it Necessary?

Currently (as of 2018), 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

Income Tax Returns Forms:

The various forms that are available for the purpose of income tax returns have the following functionality -

Form Name Brief
ITR-1 Otherwise known as SAHAJ, deals with income of an individual with salary or pension or income from one house property or other sources (not including lotteries or race horses)
ITR-2 Applicable for individuals or Hindu Undivided Families having any income other than ‘Profits and gains of business or profession’
ITR-3 Applicable for individuals or Hindu Undivided Families having income sources from ‘Profits and gains of business or profession’
ITR-4S Known as SUGAM, it is applicable to individuals and HUFs opting for presumptive taxation scheme under Section 44AD/44AE
ITR-4 Applicable for an individual or a HUF carrying out a proprietary business or profession
ITR-5 For entities being a firm, LLP, AOP, BOI, artificial juridical person, co-operative society and local authority. This, however, does not include trusts, political parties, institutions, colleges or entities who are required to file the return of income under Section 139(4A), 139 (4B), 139(4C) or 139(4B)
ITR-6 Applicable to companies other than the ones which claim a deduction under section 11
ITR-7 Applicable to all entities who should furnish a return of income under Section 139(4A), 139 (4B), 139(4C) or 139(4B)
ITR-V The acknowledgement form of filing a return of income

How to e-File ITR offline?

To e-File ITR offline for 2018-2019, you have to

  • Visit the website of the Income Tax Department of India and choose the option for e-filing.
  • On selecting this option, you will be directed to another website where you can select the ITR form that is applicable to you.
  • For 2018-2019, the IT Department has two utilities and you can download any one of them. These utilities are Excel Utility and Java Utility.

If you choose Excel Utility, then:

  • After downloading the utility, open the file and fill the form.
  • Validate the information, calculate the tax and click on Generate XML.
  • Save the form and upload it on the e-filing website of the IT Department.

Once you have uploaded the form and attached all the documents, click on submit.

If you download JAVA utility, then:

  • After downloading the utility, open it and click on ‘Prefill’.
  • Enter User ID, Password, DOB/DOI and choose Prefill Address.
  • Enter details, calculate the tax and save the XML file.
  • Click on Submit.

You have to attach the following documents as well:

  • Bank Statement.
  • Copy of Previous Year’s ITR.
  • TDS Certificates.
  • Deductions or Savings Certificates.
  • Interest Statement displaying that you had received interest during the financial year.
  • Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss Account Statement and other Audit Reports (if applicable).

This process is the same for all the ITR forms.

Benefits of Filing Income Tax Return Online

Though it might be a tedious process to keep a track of every nifty detail needed in order to file the proper details for the Income Tax Return, it actually helps a lot when it is done in the earnest and ahead of time, preferably, online -

  1. Online filing of returns ends by July 31 or every financial year, and being a month or two in advance in filing the income tax returns actually ensures one encounters lesser traffic and the entire process goes much smoother.
  2. In case one has missed filing tax returns for the previous year, every additional day till July 31 increases the penal interest. Thus, filing a tax return in advance is very advisable.
  3. Creating a favourable financial history - Online filing of the income tax returns actually creates a history of your financial records with the tax department in a much faster and easier way. This history is favoured by a lot of organisations, be it financial or otherwise, whom you might have a business relationship with in the future.
  4. Proof of financial record - Having an ITR-V form is always handy, since one can readily furnish the same as a proof for any kind of financial liability or opening a line of credit.

What is to be done after the filing of ITR?

After an assessee has successfully filed his/her income tax returns online, a 15-digit acknowledgement number will be generated by the portal. The assessee will be required to verify the tax returns after this. This verification can be done using Netbanking.

ITR filing?due date for AY 2019-20

The due date for filing the Income Tax Returns (ITR) for the Assessment Year 2019-20 for salaried individuals and pensioners/Body of Individuals (BOI)/Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) /Association of persons (AOP) is 31st July 2019. However, persons whose accounts need to be audited must file their IT Returns by 30 September 2019. And persons who have been engaged in international transactions and are required to furnish a report from an accountant as mentioned under Section 92E of the Income Tax Act, 1961, must file their returns by 30 November 2019. 

  Taxpayers who can’t meet the deadline have to pay a huge penalty in A.Y. 2019-20. Penalty for late filing post the 31 July 2019 deadline ranges from Rs.1,000 (applicable to those earning under Rs.5 lakh) to Rs.5,000 in cases where the delay is within 31 December 2019. If the delay is beyond 31 December 2019, the taxpayer must pay a fine of Rs 10,000. 

The final deadline for filing returns for Assessment year 2019-20 is 31 March 2020. However, the taxpayers will be allowed to file their IT returns only if the tax authorities permit them to do that under exceptional circumstances. In certain instances, the tax department will extend the last date to complete the process of filing an income tax return (ITR). Like for the previous Assessment Year 2018-19, the deadline to file ITR was extended till 31 August 2018. 

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?

A) 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?

A) 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?

A) 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?

A) 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

    • 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

      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

    • Delhi High Court Seeks Extension for TAR and ITR Filing

      In a plea to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Delhi High Court has asked to extend the filing date of Income Tax Returns (ITR) and Tax Audit Report (TAR).

      The petitioner has issued a notice in which a request to extend the due date of filing returns has been raised. This is as per Section 139(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. In case of TAR, the provisions are laid under Section 44AB of the Act.

      Even though CBDT has already extended the due date to 15 October 2018 from 30 November 2018, the petitioner has asked for a further extension till 31 December 2018.

      22 October 2018

    • Income Tax Departments Slaps OVL with Service Tax Demand to the Tune of Rs.7,666.10 Crore

      ONGC Videsh Ltd. has been slapped with a service tax demand to the tune of Rs.7,666.10 crore by the Income Tax Department on remittance made by the firm to its international subsidiaries over the past decade, according to source. ONGC Videsh Ltd., the international arm of the ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation), has stakes in more than 40 projects in 20 nations from New Zealand to Venezuela. According to the service tax department, the global units are rendering a service to ONGC Videsh Ltd. and the company, as a result, must pay service tax. The tax demand is relevant to the 2006 to 2017 period.

      26 September 2018

    • The Importance of Checking the Status of Your Income Tax Returns

      After you have filed your returns and they have been verified by the authorities, their status can be checked online. Your account with the Income Tax Department will show ‘ITR Processed’ once it has been processed. But in case of discrepancies, the Central Processing Centre in Bangalore will propose some changes. Here are the various kinds of ITR status:

      • Successfully e-verified: This means that your returns were submitted on time and they have been duly verified by the Income Tax Department.
      • Processed: This means that after your returns were e-verified, the department has processed them after finding no discrepancies.
      • Defective: This means that there are some discrepancies in your returns, and they will have to be rectified with 15 days from when you receive the notice.
      • Case transferred to Assessing Officer: This means that your returns have been transferred to the jurisdictional assessing officer for processing. You will have to wait for a communication from the officer, and then explain the discrepancy.

      Checking your income tax returns is easy online. Just visit the e-filing website of the Income Tax Department and follow the instructions.

      31 August 2018

    • Some confusing pairs of income tax terms

      There are certain terms related to income tax that might be confusing. These terms might lead the taxpayers into a fix or in certain cases, the taxpayer might even end up making a mistake in their return filing. This might pose a huge problem and might prove to be very costly for the taxpayer. In the following list some of these confusing combinations have been mentioned:

      (1) Financial Year (FY) and Assessment Year (AY): The Financial Year or FY is the year in which the taxpayers earn the income and also pay the taxes on the income that is earned. A financial year starts on 1 April and ends on 31 March. Assessment Year or AY, on the other hand, is the year after the financial year. The income earned during a financial year is assessed in the assessment year. The beginning of an assessment year is also the 1st of April and it ends on the 31st of March. The end of a financial year marks the beginning of the assessment year for that financial year.

      (2) Advance Tax and Self-assessment tax: Advance tax has to be paid by salaried taxpayers in case their tax liability for a financial year exceeds the limit of Rs.10,000 after the TDS is taken into account. Self-assessment tax, on the other hand, is the outstanding tax liability that is calculated by the taxpayer after taking his/her TDS and advance tax into consideration.

      (3) Exemption and Deduction: Both exemption and deduction helps reduce the tax liability. However, they can be availed under different sections of the Income Tax Act. Exemptions are excluded from the gross total income. Deductions are reduced from the total taxable income as per Section 80 of Chapter VI-A.

      20 August 2018

    • 8 documents that you need to file your income tax return

      The deadline for the filing of income tax returns is approaching. It is better to start collecting the important documents right away to save yourself from the last moment rush. Listed below are the documents that are needed to file your income tax returns:

      • Form 16
      • Statement 26AS
      • Capital Gain Tax
      • Home Loan Statement
      • IT Login details
      • Aadhaar card
      • PAN card
      • Details of Savings Bank Account

      Keeping these documents readily available will make it easier for you to file your income tax returns.

      11 June 2018

    • Amendment of belated ITR law

      A recent amendment was made to the Finance Act, 2016 that reduced the time period for filing belated ITR (Income Tax Returns) from 24 months to 12 months. Further amendments regarding revision of the belated ITR was also made.

      Section 139(4) of the Finance Act, 2016 deals with the filing of belated ITR. Initially, a period of 24 months was permitted for taxpayers to file their ITR. However, recent amendments made in the Act allow only 12 months after the relevant FY for the taxpayer to file the ITR. Section 139(5) of the Finance Act deals with the filing of revised returns. An amendment has been made to allow revision of belated returns. Further amendments in Finance Act, 2017 allows only 12 months for the belated returns to be revised.

      10 March 2018

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