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What are the methods of verifying your Income Tax Returns?

When you file your income tax returns and get the ITR-V receipt, you must surely be feeling a sense of gratification. But you need to understand that merely uploading your XML file on the Income Tax website and getting the receipt is not the end of the process. There is one more step called income tax return verification that is still pending. The ITR-V receipt issued by the Income Tax department as an acknowledgement must be used to either physically verify or to e-verify income tax return. The verification process is quite simple but you need to remember that your return will not be processed until it is verified by you. Let us understand how to verify your IT returns and more importantly; how to e-verify ITR-V. Remember, when you e-verify income tax returns, your entire process loop can be completed from the comfort of your home itself.

Understanding process of Income tax return verification in physical format..
Before getting into how to e-verify ITR-V let us first understand the standard physical verification process. Once you complete the filing of your returns, the entire return can be downloaded from your secure login area in the Income Tax website. Along with the tax returns, the IT department also uploads Form ITR-V which is an acknowledgement receipt for the returns filed. This is just a 1 page receipt which contains basic details like your name, PAN number, address, your bank account details, assessment year etc. Additionally, there is a brief summary of your return filed including the total income declared, total tax payable and total refund receivable by you (if any). There is a declaration at the bottom of the ITR-V which has to be physically signed by you. The declaration in ITR-V must be signed by you (exactly matching with your PAN signature) and can be sent by post to the Income Tax processing centre in Bengaluru. Remember an important issue here. The Income Tax Processing Centre does not provide an address but only a P.O. Box number. Hence you have to necessarily send it by normal post or by EMS Speed Post only. Private couriers cannot deliver to the P.O. Box and it will be returned to you. It is better to send it by EMS Speed Post or via Registered A.D. for safety and audit trail.

How to e-verify ITR-V..
While the physical verification process above is not anything complicated, it is still cumbersome. You need to send it by post and then wait for the acknowledgement from the IT department that the ITR-V has been received. All these hassles can be avoided by opting to e-verify income tax returns. There is no paper work involved here and the entire process of e-verification is seamless and online. Broadly there are 3 methods of electronic income tax return verification..

e-Verify your returns using your Net Banking facility..
This is the simplest and most advisable method of e-verification as it not only is seamless but also ensures faster refunds since your PAN and bank are now mapped under a single matrix. If you have a net banking account with any of the major banks, then the login section of the bank itself offers the facility for you to e-verify your returns. Ensure 2 things here. Firstly, ensure that the PAN and Aadhar are already mapped to your bank account. Secondly, ensure that your name in your bank account matches with your name in the Income Tax PAN database. Once you login through the e-verification section of your bank, you are directed to the Income Tax website. There you can directly go into the “My Pending Actions” section and your returns verification is just a click away. Finally, an electronic verification code (EVC) is generated by the IT website which is your record. You can download the same and keep for your records. The entire process takes less than 2 minutes and your e-verification of your IT returns is complete.

How to e-verify ITR-V using Aadhar card and OTP..
If you have an Aadhar card which is already mapped to your Income Tax PAN then you can e-verify income tax returns with Aadhar and OTP too. In case your is not mapped to your PAN you have to first map your Aadhar to your PAN card before doing e-verification. When you upload the returns, the website will give you the option how to e-verify your returns. You can select the Aadhar option. The system will check the match in your Aadhar and your PAN card and then proceed to send you an OTP code by SMS. This One Time Password (OTP) will only be sent to you if the mobile number in Aadhar and PAN card is the same. Once you get the OTP number, you need to use the same within 10 minutes failing which the OTP will expire and you will have to again go through the process. Once the OTP is imputed and submitted, your e-verification is complete.

How to e-verify ITR-V using digital signature..
 There is also another way to e-verify your returns and that is through a registered digital signature. If you have a digital signature, you can digitally sign the returns and that is also considered tantamount to e-verification of returns.
Remember, verification of returns a very important step in the entire process as your return filing is complete only after verification. Such verification has to be completed within 120 days from the date of filing returns. Relatively, e-verification is much simpler and also hassle-free. Within the ambit of e-verification, it is recommended that you adopt verification through net banking as it will also facilitate seamless and quick processing of refunds!

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