For the tax year 2013-14, electronic filing of returns is mandatory for following category of individuals: All persons with total income of R5 lakh and above; individual/ Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), being resident, having assets located outside India; person claiming relief under double-taxation avoidance agreement that India has with other countries or claiming foreign tax credit under the Income Tax Act, 1961. The due date of filing tax return for individual taxpayers (who are not required to get their accounts audited) is July 31 following the end of India tax year (tax year in India runs from April 1 to March 31).
Create an account on the portal: To initiate the e-filing process, the taxpayer is required to register with the income-tax web portal. It can be done by logging on to www.incometaxindiafiling.gov.in to create an account. The taxpayer needs to enter the PAN and basic details. On creation of the account, a one-time password (OTP) is sent to the mobile number and email address mentioned by the taxpayer while creating the account. An activation link will be sent on the email address through which the account has to be activated.
Form selection: Salaried individuals (with no business/professional income including partnership income) can use either ITR-1 or ITR-2 for filing their tax return, depending on the nature of their income. ITR-1 is the tax return form for taxpayers having income from salary, one house property (excluding loss brought forward from previous years) and interest income. ITR-1 cannot be used for exempt income above R5,000 or by the taxpayer who is claiming relief under the relevant tax treaty or claiming foreign tax credit. ITR-2 is the form for individual taxpayers in all other cases, except where there is income from business or profession.
Tax return utilities: The taxpayer who has to file return electronically is required to create an XML file based on the utility downloaded from the portal. Currently, the utilities are available in excel and java versions. The java version has some additional features like pre-filling and quick e-filing options by allowing automatic retrieval of personal data from previous tax return(s) or as per PAN details and the tax details from Form 26AS, which saves a lot of time and ensures accuracy of data.
Filling up of utility and validation: After downloading the relevant utility, the taxpayer has to complete the same with personal information, income and tax details. Once the information is filled in, the taxpayer is required to validate the utility and compute the taxes.
Generation of XML: After validation of the utility, the taxpayer is required to generate XML, which will get saved on the hard drive of the computer.
Uploading of the XML: To upload the XML, the taxpayer has to log into his account on the income-tax portal and select the relevant assessment year. The uploading of the tax return (XML) may, at the option of the taxpayer, be done using the digital signature, in which case there is no need to submit the hard copy of the signed ITR-V with the revenue authorities.
Acknowledgement/ITR-V: On successful uploading of the XML file, an acknowledgement or the Form ITR-V is generated, the password for which is the PAN (in small alphabets) and date of birth in the dd/mm/yyyy format. To conclude the return filing process for non-digitally signed tax returns, the taxpayer needs to take a printout of the Form ITRV and send a signed copy by ordinary or speed post to Income-Tax Department-CPC, Post Bag No-1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore - 560 100, Karnataka, to be delivered within 120 days of e-filing the return.
Points to note: While computing the total income, one must include salary earned from the employers under the head income from salary. One must include incomes like interest from fixed deposits and, in case of multiple employment during the year, review the deductions and slab rates applied during withholding so that appropriate taxes are deposited in time. While filling up the tax form or utility, one must report exempt incomes like PPF interest, dividend from company or mutual funds, review personal information and bank details to ensure that accurate information has been put in the tax return form.
It is important to note that dates of deposits of tax should be entered in the dd/mm/yyyy format. Always mention the correct contact details, as they would be used by the tax department for any correspondence. Reconcile the particulars of TDS with Form 26A to avoid any demand notice by the tax authorities later. Never default on dispatching ITR-V on time as any delay can even make the legitimate tax return invalid.
The e-filing facility is available 24/7 and can be done from anywhere across the globe. It helps in quick processing, which, in turn, ensures refunds in a timely manner. Most returns are processed by CPC without any physical interface with the taxpayer, eliminating the need to send supporting documents.
The author is partner, at Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP. With inputs from Preeti Gupta, senior manager and Ajay Arora, assistant manager at
Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP