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As the deadline to file the income tax return (ITR) draws closer, numerous last-minute hustlers struggle with the procedure that seems complicated at face value. Right about now, your company’s account department would be chasing you for the tax-saving investment proof, Form-16, identification proof, etc.
Usually, taxpayers are expected to file their ITR by 31 July each year. However, owing to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this deadline has been extended. The extended deadline by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to file the income tax return for the financial year 2019-2020 is now 31 December 2020.
The maximum penalty that a taxpayer required to pay for missing a deadline is ₹10,000, and so, it is advisable to complete the procedure well before the stipulated time.
The online filing of ITR is an easy and convenient method allowing an individual to file their taxes instead of having to rely on a tax practitioner. However, if you don’t know how to file ITR online, we have created a step-by-step guide to ease your worries.
What is Income Tax Return?
The Income Tax Return is a form that should be submitted to the Income Tax Department of India at the conclusion of the financial year. As the name suggests, this form contains information about an individual’s income and the taxes that need to be paid on it. The ITR form enables the taxpayer to declare his income, expenses, tax deductions, investments, taxes, etc. The information filled in the ITR pertains to a particular financial year starting from 1 April to 31 March of the following year. The different kinds of taxable income include:
Who Needs to File the ITR?
Filing ITR is a mandatory exercise for everyone whose total income exceeds the basic exemption limit. This basic exemption limit for an individual depends on his/her age. As per the income tax laws, for the financial year 2019-20, the basic exemption limit is:
|Age of the Individual||Basic Exemption Limit (in ₹)|
|Below 60 years of age||2,50,000|
|Between 60 to 80 years of age (senior citizen)||3,00,000|
|Above 80 years of age (super citizen)||5,00,000|
If an individual’s gross total income exceeds the above-mentioned amount, they are mandatorily expected to file their ITR. In certain cases, even if the income does not exceed the mentioned amount, it is binding to file the returns. Following the current income tax laws, it is mandatory to file the ITR before the stipulated deadline if:
Which Documents are Needed to File the ITR?
Before knowing how to file an income tax return online, it is important to gather all the necessary documents that will be needed to make the process easier. Here is a list of documents that will be needed to file ITR online:
1. Personal Identification: Produce basic information such as your PAN, Aadhar, permanent address, etc.
2. Form-16: If you are a salaried taxpayer, Form-16 is a TDS certificate issued to you by your employer which includes the salary paid to you and the TDS deducted on it. This form consists of two parts: Part-A and Part-B. The former includes the details of the tax deducted by your employer, your PAN number, and your employer’s TAN number. Part-B of the form consists of the break-up of your gross salary, including exemption allowances, prerequisites, etc.
3. Interest certificates from banks and post offices: This certificate can be procured from banks or the post office to specify interest incomes such as savings account, fixed deposits, etc. Apart from this, you will also need to have the details of all the accounts you have held in the given financial year.
4. Tax-saving investment proofs: Here, you need to reveal all the tax-saving investments that you have made and the expenditure you have incurred for the same under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The most common exemptions under Section 80C are:
a. Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF)
b. Public Provident Fund (PPF)
c. Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS)
d. Life Insurance Premiums
e. National Pension Scheme (NPS) etc.
5. Form 26AS: This is your consolidated annual TDS statement that has the taxes that have been deducted at source and deposited under your PAN in any given year.
How to File ITR Online?
Having all the required documentation in place makes it significantly easier to file your ITR. Once you understand how to file ITR online, you can file them from the confines of your house and even when you are pressed for time. To help understand how to file income tax return online, follow the steps mentioned below:
1. Go on to the Income Tax Department portal to file your returns online.
2. You will then have to either login or register on the portal:
a.If you are a new user, then you will have to register. To register, you will first be asked to select from the list of user types: Individual, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Other than Individual/HUL, Chartered Accountants, Tax Deductor and Collector, External Agency, and Third-Party Software Utility Developer. Then, you will be asked to enter your permanent and current address prior to entering the Captcha code and hitting on the ‘Submit’ button. Following this, you will be asked to fill in your personal details such as your PAN (which will serve as your user ID when you next login), date-of-birth, and contact information such as your email ID and your mobile number. The system will then verify your PAN. Lastly, you will have to activate your Income Tax Department account via the link you receive in your email.
b.In case you are an existing user, simply click on ‘Login.’
3.Once you complete the login, ensure that you download the right form. On the right-hand side of your screen, you will see a “Download” section. Under this section, click on “IT Return Preparation Software”. Here, select the relevant form based on your income that is mentioned in the description box and download the same in a Microsoft Excel format.
4. Enter all the details required for Form-16 by opening the Return Preparation Software (excel utility) that you have downloaded.
5. Compute all the relevant tax details and enter the relevant challan details in the tax return.
6. Confirm and check the details that you have included and then generate an XML file that automatically gets saved on your computer.
7. To generate the XML file, once all the required details have been filled in, click on “calculate tax”. In case there is a payment of taxes, go to the “Taxes paid and verification” tab followed by “e-pay tax”. This will redirect you to the NSDL website wherein you can select the relevant options and pay your tax. As you do this, a challan will be generated the details of which will have to be included under the “TDS” tab “Sr No 21 IT – Details of the Advance Tax and Self-Assessment tax payments”. Then click on the “validate” button on each sheet and then on “generate XML file”.
8. Submit your returns in the form of the XML file under the “Submit Return” section.
9. You then have the option to digitally sign the file when prompted. In case you do not have a digital signature, you can skip this step.
10. A message stating that the ITR has been filed will flash onto your screen. You can download the ITR-verification acknowledgement form which is also sent to you on your registered email ID.
11. Finally, you can e-verify the filing of your income tax returns. E-verification eliminates the requirement to send across a physical copy of the ITR-5 acknowledgement to CPC Bengaluru. Any one of the following modes can be used to e-verify the filing of your tax returns:
b. Bank ATM
c. Aadhar OTP
d. Bank Account Number
e. Demat Account Number
f. Registered Mobile Number and Email ID
To conclude, every individual strives to save taxes on their hard-earned money. However, to succeed in this endeavour, it’s important to file your ITR well in time. To assist taxpayers in undertaking the right steps to save on taxes, Kotak Life provides all the relevant information on tax-saving under their insurance guide.