Verification is the final step in the process of filing your income tax return (ITR) as failure to do so will result in an invalid tax return. This needs to be completed within 120 days from the date of filing the income tax return. Until FY2013-14, the return could be verified only by a digital signature or sending a physically-signed copy of the e-filing acknowledgement, i.e. ITR-V, by speed post to the Centralized Processing Centre in Bangalore. However, with the onset of technology, and with the introduction of sophistication in the use of the e-filing website, the option to e-verify the return has been initiated.
There are various options to e-verify the return and we have listed the same below for the benefit of our readers. The option to e-verify the return pops up just before you upload the return on the e-filing portal. Alternatively, the option ‘I will e-verify later. Remind me’, can be selected while uploading the return and e-verification can be done at a later stage (within 120 days of e-filing) by logging into the e-filing account and accessing the ‘My Account>>e-verify return’ link:
1. Aadhaar OTP
If the taxpayer’s mobile number is linked to Aadhaar, he can e-verify the return by generating a 6-digit One Time Password (OTP) which will be sent to the mobile number linked to Aadhaar and will remain valid for 30 minutes. To e-verify by this method, the taxpayer has to follow the steps mentioned below after logging into his e-filing account. The taxpayer should ensure that the PAN is linked to Aadhaar on the e-filing website:
# Click on the Aadhaar OTP to e-verify the tax return
# Choose Option 2 – ‘I would like to generate Aadhaar OTP now’
# Enter the OTP received on the mobile number.
2. EVC through Net banking account number
Electronic Verification Code (EVC) is a 10-digit alpha-numeric code which is valid for 72 hours. This code is sent to the email ID as well as the mobile number linked to the Net banking account.
To generate the EVC by net banking method, following steps need to be followed:
# On the income tax website (https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/home), click on ‘Registered User-Login here’.
# Do not login to the income tax account. Click on the link ‘e-filing through Net banking’ which is at the bottom of the page and login to the Net banking account.
# There would be a separate tab on the Net banking interface stating ‘e-tax’ or ‘taxation’ depending on the account you hold. This option is generally available as a sub-set of the option ‘More’ on your Net banking homepage. By clicking on this tab, the user will be directed to his account on the income tax portal.
# Once the income-tax home page pops up on the screen, please select ‘My Account > E-verify return.’
3. EVC through banking account number
To generate an EVC through this method, the bank account has to be pre-validated. The taxpayer will not be required to login or have access to Net banking. By following the steps mentioned below after logging into the e-filing account, the return can be easily e-verified:
# Go to the ‘My Account’ tab on the Home Page
# Click on the ‘Generate EVC’ option
# Choose Option 2 – Generate EVC through Bank account number
# Choose the account that you would like to generate an EVC, from the list of the pre-validated accounts
# If your preferred bank account is not on the list of the pre-validated bank accounts, then click on ‘Add’
# Put in the details of the bank as requested, namely, account number, IFSC code, mobile number and email ID. The bank will confirm the details within a few minutes, after which the taxpayer can generate the EVC by selecting the preferred bank account.
Also See: Income Tax Refund: 5 must-do things to make sure you get excess tax paid back to your bank account
4. EVC through Demat account number
Similar to generating the EVC through a bank account, the Demat account also has to be pre-validated. In the profile settings tab, the taxpayer will have to enter the details for type of depository, the demat account number, mobile number and the email ID. The depository will verify these details after which the taxpayer can generate the EVC.
In view of the pace at which digitization is setting in, it will not be surprising if manual submission of the signed copy of e-filing acknowledgement is eventually dispensed with. Thus, it is a good idea to start e-verifying your return now, rather than sending the signed copy by speed post.
(By Homi Mistry, Partner, Deloitte India)