If you are used to the old-fashioned pen on the paper form of filing annual tax returns, you are going to have a bit of a problem this year. Earlier this month, the Income Tax Department issued a notification making e-filing mandatory for those with a taxable income of over Rs 5 lakh. This means that if you are not IT-savvy , it’s time to brush up your technical skills.
After all, July 31 — the last date for filing the return — is not too far away. However, you don’t have to fret about it as the process is not as tedious as it is imagined to be. Once you follow a few simple steps and avoid the common mistakes , you could be through in a couple of hours. Also, you have some time on hand, as all the new forms are yet to be released. “Only ITR 1 (Form Sahaj) and ITR 4S (Form Sugam) have been released for e-filing ,” informs Vaibhav Sankla , director with tax consultancy firm H&R Block.
Keep preceding year’s return filed at hand
Before you start filing your return, ensure that you have a copy of last year’s return filed as well as the Form 16 issued by your employer on your desk. It will help you quickly refer to the figures and other details required while completing the form. Next, you should register yourself on the I-T Department’s website (www.incometaxindiaefiling .gov.in) and create an account.
Select the appropriate tax return form
While this may sound elementary, the fact is that many tax-payers make this mistake quite often. This year in particular, you need to take additional care as the tax return form you had chosen last year may not be applicable now. “Most taxpayers would now be required to use Form ITR 2 to file their taxes. This is because those having tax exempt income of more than Rs 5,000 cannot file their taxes in Form ITR 1 (that is Form Sahaj). Most salaried individuals are in receipt of several tax exempt allowances such as conveyance allowance, house rent allowance (HRA), leave travel allowance, etc, the total of which easily exceeds Rs 5,000 for a year,” explains Sankla.
Check your tax credit statement
Next, you need to figure out whether taxes deducted by your employer are reflecting in this form. “You should verify tax credits by viewing the Form 26AS downloaded from the e-filing portal,” says Sonu Iyer, tax partner and national leader, human capital services, Ernst & Young. The website www.incometaxindiaefiling .gov.in facilitates viewing of the Form 26AS of the tax payer.
“The income and the details of the taxes deducted, advance tax or selfassessment tax paid should be taken into consideration while e-filing the return of income. This will ensure correct issuance of refund and avoid additional tax demands due to proper tax credits not being granted ,” says Suresh Surana, founder, RSM Astute Consulting.