It’s that time of the year when taxpayers are scrambling to file their income tax returns (ITR) in time. And if you still haven’t done yours, fret not! You can still make it before tomorrow’s deadline with our simplified step-by-step filing guide.
But, for those wondering what all the gaga is about, here’s a little background.
What is income tax return?
In the simplest words possible, income-tax return (ITR) is the tax form/s used to file income tax with the Income Tax (IT) Department. The form/s that are usually in a format prescribed by the IT Department, help calculate one’s tax liability, schedule tax payments, or request refunds in the case of overpayment of taxes.
Different forms of returns of income are decided annually by the IT Department for different taxpayers having income from various sources.
Tax returns must be filed every year by an individual or a business that has received income during the year, irrespective of whether the income is regular (wages), dividends, interest, capital gains, or from other sources.
This year, the Finance Ministry extended the deadline for filing ITR from 31st July to 31st August. The tax returns are to be submitted for FY2017-18 and the assessment year would be FY2018-19.
What if you don’t file ITR before tomorrow’s deadline?
If you fail to file your ITR by tomorrow, you would have to pay a late fee of upto Rs10,000. Until assessment year 2017-18, no penalties were imposed for filing late returns.
If you do not file returns at all, you may invite an IT notice reminding you to file the same. Further, the interest on the amount you owe to the government in taxes will keep on adding.
How to file IT Returns:
We believe you’ve read the consequences of not filing your ITR before the deadline and assume that you have now decided to go ahead and file them, if you haven’t already.
You can do this either online or offline. Here, we focus on online or e-filing of ITR for salaried individuals:
Step 1: Open the e-filing website
Visit https://portal.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in and click “Filing of Income Tax Return.” In the new window, either insert your login credentials or register yourself as a new user. You will need your PAN for this exercise and basic details such as your date of birth.
Step 2: Login to the portal and choose the appropriate ITR form
Once you have set your login credentials, select your assessment year 2018-19 from the dropdown list. Choose ITR-1 under the “ITR Form Name” list. Then, under the “Submission Mode” menu, choose the “Upload XML” option.
As an example, we will choose the ITR-1 form suitable for salaried employees. Please refer to the table below to know which form applies to you:
Step 3: Verification
In the same window, select a suitable ITR verification option and click Proceed.
Step 4: Download the ITR preparation software on your computer/laptop
Download the ITR-1 preparation software for the AY2018-19 to your computer/laptop from the "Downloads" page of the e-filing website.
Step 5: Preparing the software and gathering information
Once you have downloaded the software, gather all your income information such as tax payments, deductions, salary slips, Form-16, and Form 26AS. We don't mean to sound cryptic with these form names. Just know that you can obtain Form-16 from your employer and Form 26AS from the TRACES website (https://www.tdscpc.gov.in/app/login.xhtml).
Step 6: Calculating tax liability and refund
Enter your personal details as well as any tax payments/TDS paid by selecting the “Pre-fill” option. Then, click “Calculate.” The software will calculate the tax and interest liability and you will see the total tax payable or refund to be received.
Step 7: Payment of tax and saving the return data
If the final figure indicates that tax is payable, ensure that you pay it immediately. Fill in the details in the appropriate schedule. Then, “generate and save” the income tax return data in XML format at any location on your PC or laptop that you wish to save the data in.
Step 8: Uploading the XML file on the portal
The next step is to upload the ITR XML file saved on your computer/laptop. Next, enter the OTP received on your registered mobile number. Ensure that you select "I agree to validate my Aadhaar details with UIDAI" and then click “submit.”
Step 9: Verification of ITR
On submission of the ITR, ITR-V, that is, ITR-verification form, will be displayed. Download this form by clicking the link. A copy of ITR-V will also be sent to your registered email. If your ITR is uploaded with DSC (Digital Signature Certificate), your return filing process is now complete. If DSC has not been upload, you can verify your ITR with Aadhar or Electronic Verification Code (EVC). If you do not verify it, e-filing will not be complete, and ITR will be considered invalid.
ITR filing can be a daunting task, given the plethora of complexities and IT rules one has to consider. Hence, some hire chartered accountants to file their returns. However, if you prefer to do it on your own, we hope we’ve helped you get started with our simplified guidelines.
For any further help on ITR e-filing, visit https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/help/# OR https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/main/brocheureAndVideos
Now, like a good, law-abiding citizen, go pay your taxes. Good luck with the filing!