Come July and most of start preparing for the return filing. The last date for filing of returns is 31st of July but normally each year the government gives more time like it gave an extra one month this year also. However, as prudent filers, you must file your returns well in advance of the due date. That is because, towards the last few days of the month of July, the Income Tax website tends to keep crashing and is quite difficult to access due to the pressure of too many filers accessing the website. Hence if you start early around first week of July, you can complete well on time and your refunds also, if any, can get processed on time. Here is a quick guide to file income tax returns only. Let us learn income tax returns filing through easy steps to file income tax returns online.
Preparatory steps before filing your returns
Before you start filing your income tax returns ensure two things. Firstly, ensure that your user name and password is created and authenticated on the Income Tax Website. Secondly ensure that all the key documents like PAN Card, Aadhar Card, bank details, Form 16, Form 26 AS, investment details etc should handy and available to you at short notice. If you are fully prepared with all the documents then your entire process with the verification can be completed in less than one hour.
Input all your income details and do it very carefully
Start off by filling your employer details, PAN number, address of employer and the TAN Number of employer. If there are multiple employers during the year, then mention both of them. Give full details of your salary income, interest income, other income, capital gains as well as the tax deducted at source (TDS) as well as other tax paid by you at various points of time.
Carefully document all the deductions claimed by you in your tax returns
There are various sections under which you claim deductions and benefits. For example, you take deduction for Section 80C from total income. Then you have Section 80D for medical insurance. You can also claim Section 80E benefits for education loan. In case you have any authorized donations, you can claim benefits under Section 80G. There is an important section for deduction under interest paid on home loan that can be claimed under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act and is up to Rs.2 lakh per annum. You can also claim benefits for HRA, whereas the tax deduction of Standard Deduction up to Rs.40,000 flat has to be netted before showing the income in the return.
Put down other sources of income also
The popular belief is that only taxable incomes have to be shown in the returns. Actually, all incomes including dividend income and agricultural income have to be shown in the tax returns. An important item is the capital gains and capital losses. Make it a point to clearly show your losses as part of the tax returns. If the losses are not filed as part of the return then they cannot be claimed as a set off nor can they be claimed for carry forward of losses. One more thing to be remembered is that if you delay your tax filing beyond the due date, then not only do you have to pay penalty but you also lose out any set off benefits on the capital losses, be it long term or short term.
Fill in your bank details properly in the tax returns
This is very important. Ensure that your bank account, name of the bank, branch name and the IFSC code are imputed properly in the tax returns. Normally, income tax returns are paid out online up to Rs.50,000 but anything beyond that is paid offline by cheque. The cheque will be paid out with the bank mandate and hence either ways the updated bank details are very important. Wrong information may lead to unnecessary delay in refunds.
File your returns and e-verify
You can do the filing and e-verification also online. All you need to do is to convert the excel utility into an XML file with the help of a utility. Once that is done you only need to upload the XML file and your filing is return. There is one small process called e-verification pending at this point of time. The e-verification can be done online with bank mandate, or by digital signature or can be authenticated by your Aadhar card biometric data. The other option is to download the acknowledgement and then physically sign and send it by speed post to the IT cell in Bengaluru. If the process is done thoroughly then your refunds can be processed much faster. That completes your process loop.