Devang Mehta had filed his returns on time for the fiscal year 2016-17 but later realized that there were some mistakes he had committed. In fact, there were 2 key errors he had made in his original returns. Firstly, he had not claimed deduction under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act for premium paid on medical insurance of parents. Devang was not aware that there is a separate provision for claiming income tax deduction under Section 80D where the premium was paid for his parents who were senior citizens. He had only claimed the deduction for the medical policy premium paid on behalf of himself, his spouse and his children. Secondly, he had forgotten to give an asset disclosure, which is mandatory for those with gross income more than Rs.50 lakhs. He is now worried about what he should be doing.
The answer is to file revised returns. The question is how to change tax return after filing? If you have filed your income tax returns online, the rectification of income tax return is quite simple. You can actually do the Income Tax return rectification online itself. You just need the acknowledgement number of your old returns and based on that you can file your revised returns using Form 139(5). But, before we understand how to change tax return after filing, let us first understand the circumstances that typically call for a revision of tax returns filed..

Typical cases under which returns need to be revised..
  • There may have been some changes in the income tax provisions in the latest fiscal year which you may not have been aware of and hence the same may not have been incorporated in your returns.
  • There may be some deductions which you may have either missed out or the proof of such investment may have reached you late. You can file a revised return to claim a larger refund after considering these additional investments.
  • You may have missed out mentioning a capital loss in your returns. This is important as you cannot carry forward a loss unless it is recorded in your IT returns. This can be another case for rectification of income tax return.
  • There may have been some pure clerical errors while filing your returns. For example, some figure may have been written wrongly while copying the same from your Form-16. As long as it is a genuinely unintentional error, it is ok to be rectified.
What you need to be aware of about filing revised IT returns..
  • Income return rectification online is quite a simple and menu driven process. The rectification facility is available online on your logged in area of the Income Tax website. However, there are some basic rules you need to remember when you are doing a rectification of income tax return. Here are a few of them..
  • Online rectification of your income tax returns is permitted only if you have filed you returns online using the e-filing platform.
  • Secondly, and more importantly, your original returns must have been filed within the stipulated due date for filing returns. Normally, the due date for filing Income Returns is the 31st July, although the IT department tends to extend this date occasionally. To be on the safer side, you must file your returns as early as possible.
  • There is no limit to the number of times you can revise your IT returns assuming that your original return has been filed within the stipulated date. However, it is advisable not to keep revising your returns too often. Too many revisions attract the attention of the IT authorities, especially if your revisions are resulting in a sharp increase in your refund amount.
  • Originally, the time limit for filing revised returns online was the end of the subsequent Financial Year. For example, when you file returns for AY2016-17 by July 31st 2017, then you could revise the returns till March 31st 2019. That last date now stands revised to 1 year so in the above case you will be able to file the revised returns only till March 31st 2018 currently.
  • Ensure that your revised returns are for genuine mistakes only. If the IT department detects that you have filed revised returns to claim refunds fraudulently, then the penalties are very steep (up to 300 %) and can even result in imprisonment under Section 277.
Some final points to remember..
It is likely that you may have filed the returns in a hurry due to deadline pressures. However, since you have 120 days to verify the returns it is advisable to scrutinize your returns thoroughly before verifying your returns. Once you verify your returns, the Income Tax department takes it up for processing and it becomes a lot more difficult for you to rectify your IT returns. Hence it is better to scrutinize your returns once again after filing before you verify you return.

There are occasions when the Income Tax department may not accept certain deductions claimed in which case they may send you a notice for revising your returns. These returns can also be filed online using the IT Notice number. In this case you will have to pay the additional tax to the government under separate challan. The IT department may also impose penalty and interest on the overdue amount in such cases.

Rectification of income tax return is a lot simpler when you do the Income Tax return rectification online. Ensure that your revisions are for genuine reasons and avoid frequent revisions. That is the key!