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Tax Return in India

Filing tax returns can be a daunting task for many individuals in India, especially those who are not familiar with the process. However, with the increasing availability of e-filing options, filing taxes has become easier and more convenient for taxpayers. The Income Tax Department has introduced various value-added services that can help taxpayers complete and submit their tax returns online. From downloading the necessary software and utilities to verifying the return, everything can be done electronically. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the e-filing of tax returns in India and explore how taxpayers can make the most of the available resources to file their returns effortlessly.

1. Overview of Indian Tax Return Process

The of filing Income Tax Return (ITR) in India is typically done online and involves several steps. Taxpayers can file ITR in two ways: by downloading the applicable ITR, filling the form offline, saving the generated XML file, and uploading it or by directly filling the form online. The following are some of the essential steps involved in the Indian Tax Return Process:

– Downloading the Appropriate ITR Utility

– Steps to Fill and Validate ITR Form

– How to Login and e-File Your Tax Return

– Verification Options for ITR Submission

Once the ITR is submitted, there are several verification options available. Taxpayers can choose to verify the ITR using Electronic Verification Code (EVC) through prevalidated bank or demat account details, through bank ATM, or by using Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) or Aadhaar One-Time-Password (OTP).

It is worth noting that the deadline for filing ITR in India has been extended this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Taxpayers have until January 10, 2021, to file their returns for the financial year 2019-2020.

Filing a tax return in India has several benefits, such as claiming a refund on TDS and ease in documentation verification. It is crucial to choose the correct ITR form based on one’s income bracket and file it within the stipulated time frame. Taxpayers should also be aware of phishing scams and never respond to emails that ask for their PIN numbers, passwords, or similar access information. 

2. Two Ways to File Your Tax Return

There two ways to file your tax return in India – one is by downloading the appropriate ITR utility, filling it offline, saving it as an XML file, and then uploading it. The other is by filing it online through the Income Tax Department’s e-filing portal. Both processes are fairly straightforward and can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

However, it is important to note that the Income Tax Department never asks for your PIN numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts through email. Taxpayers are urged to be cautious and not respond to such emails or provide any sensitive financial information.

When filing your tax return offline, it is important to download the appropriate ITR utility from the e-filing portal under the “Downloads > IT Return Preparation Software” section. Once you have filled in all the mandatory fields of the ITR form and validated it, you can save it as an XML file and upload it on the e-filing portal.

On the other hand, if you choose to file online through the e-filing portal, you can select the applicable ITR and enter all the required information. It is important to review and edit any pre-filled data if necessary and enter your income and deduction details accurately. Once you have completed all the sections of the form, you can review your tax computation and make any necessary payments.

Whatever method you choose, it is important to verify your tax return in order to complete the filing process. You can choose from a variety of verification options, such as using pre-validated bank or demat account details, generating an EVC through My Account or a bank ATM, or using DSC or Aadhaar OTP as verification options. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that your tax return is accurate, complete and submitted on time. f

3. Downloading the Appropriate ITR Utility

To an income tax return (ITR), taxpayers need to choose the appropriate ITR utility that matches their needs. The Income Tax Department provides a range of offline and online utilities for taxpayers to download, complete and file their ITR with ease, and avoid penalties for non-compliance. Here’s what you need to know about downloading the appropriate ITR utility in India:

– First, you need to determine which type of ITR form applies to you based on your income sources, deductions, and other criteria. This can be done on the e-filing portal or through a tax professional.

– Once you know your ITR form type, you can download the corresponding ITR utility from the e-filing portal. The offline utility can be used to fill in the form without an internet connection, while the online utility requires an internet connection but offers additional features like pre-filled data.

– According to Meerad | Blog, the latest updates in the offline ITR utility include a switch from the XML file format to JSON, draft ITR import from online mode, and direct submission and verification from the utility.

– Here’s a step-by-step guide to downloading and using the offline utility, as laid out by Meerad| Blog:

1. Select the relevant assessment year and click on the utility link under the Common Offline Utility section.

2. Proceed to e-File > Income Tax Returns > File Income Tax Return > Finish.

3. Choose the appropriate Assessment Year and Filing Mode as offline.

4. Take out the downloaded zip folder and run the utility.

5. On the following screen, select the ‘File returns’ tab, and choose to import a draught ITR filled out online or a JSON file generated by an Excel/HTML utility.

– We recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge and a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 for the best viewing experience. Copyright © Income Tax Department, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. All Rights Reserved. 

4. Steps to Fill and Validate ITR Form

F your income tax returns online can save you time and hassle. But before you start, you need to have all the necessary documents ready. Here are the steps you need to follow to successfully fill and validate your ITR form online:

– First, calculate your income and tax liabilities as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act applicable to you. Take into account all sources of income, deductions, and credits for tax paid.

– Next, choose the right ITR form to fill depending on your sources of income and other criteria.

– Download the offline ITR form utility from the Income Tax Portal and fill in the required details. Validate the information to ensure there are no errors or omissions.

– Convert the filled-in form into an XML file format and upload it on the Income Tax Portal. Choose the appropriate submission mode – OTP, EVC or manually signed ITR-V copy.

– You’ll receive an Intimation under section 143(1) of the Income Tax Act once your return is processed. You should verify all the details and take note of any discrepancies if any.

It is essential to take the time to validate your ITR form as incomplete or incorrect information can lead to complications and penalties from the tax authorities. To ensure that your ITR form is filled and validated correctly, use the official utility provided by the Income Tax Department, and follow the procedure step-by-step. Don’t forget to keep all your documents and receipts handy for easy reference. And if you need any assistance, you can always reach out to a tax consultant or contact the Income Tax Department’s customer care service. 

5. How to Login and e-File Your Tax Return

One of the most convenient ways to file your income tax return in India is through the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department. To begin the process, you need to log in to the portal using your user ID (which is typically your PAN) and password. The portal also has a captcha code to ensure secure user authentication. Once you’ve logged in, click on the “e-file” menu and select “Income Tax Return” and choose the “Original/Revised Return” option.

To e-file your return, you can either download the ITR form, fill it offline and upload the generated XML file or use the pre-filled XML available in your account. You must ensure that all the mandatory fields are filled in the ITR form before you upload the XML file.

After you’ve uploaded the file, you can choose from several options to verify your tax return, such as EVC using a pre-validated bank or Demat account, DSC or Aadhaar OTP. The ITR will be submitted, but it is not complete until it is properly verified. If you want to verify the ITR later, you can do so by using the “My Account > e-Verify Return” option.

It is important to note that the income tax department will never ask you for your PINs, passwords or any other similar access information over e-mail. You must also keep track of the latest updates and extended due dates of ITR filing, as well as check out the additional value-added services available on the portal. Lastly, the Income Tax Department also recognizes taxpayers’ commitment by awarding certificates of appreciation to them, with four categories of certificates available: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. 

6. Verification Options for ITR Submission

Verifying your income tax return (ITR) is an important step in completing the ITR filing process. The new notification from the CBDT effective August 1, 2022, has revised the time limit from 120 days earlier to 30 days. If you do not verify your return within the prescribed time limits, then it will be considered void.

There are six ways to verify your ITR. Out of these, five are electronic methods, and one is a physical method of verifying ITR. Electronic verification methods include e-verification through Aadhaar OTP, net banking, EVC generated through a pre-validated bank account, EVC generated through a pre-validated demat account, and by submitting a duly signed ITR-V. The physical method is by sending a signed copy of the ITR-V to the Centralized Processing Centre (CPC).

To verify your ITR using the Aadhaar-based one-time password (OTP), your mobile number must be linked to Aadhaar and registered in the UIDAI database. The second method is through net banking, where you will be required to log in to your bank account and select the e-Verify option, which is usually under the Tax tab.

For generating an EVC, you must have a pre-validated bank account. On the e-Verify page, select Through Bank Account, and the EVC will be generated and sent to your mobile number and email ID registered with your pre-validated bank account. Lastly, the physical method of verification requires you to sign the ITR-V form and send it to the CPC.

In conclusion, choosing your preferred method of ITR verification depends on the availability of the required tools and procedures. It helps to have your Aadhaar and bank account updated to ease the e-verification process. 

7. Additional Value Added Services Available

Apart from filing your tax returns, there are several additional value-added services available in India that can make the process easier and more efficient. These services are provided by various private companies that are authorized by the government. Here are some of the popular value-added services:

Tax Consultancy: Many tax consultancy firms offer specialized services like tax planning, personalized tax strategies, and comprehensive assessment of your tax liability. These can be helpful for individuals and businesses alike who wish to reduce their tax liability.

Tax Return Preparation: Tax return preparation services can be of great use for individuals or companies who are unsure or intimidated by the complexities of tax filing. These companies take care of all the necessary paperwork and ensure timely and accurate filing of your tax return.

Online Filing: With the increasing digitalization, many companies now offer online filing of tax returns. This can save time and effort, and you can do everything from the comfort of your home.

Digital Signature Certification: Tax filing requires digital signatures, and many companies offer digital signature certification services.

Compliance Services: For companies, compliance with India’s complex tax laws can be a daunting task. Many companies offer compliance services that help businesses keep their tax records and transactions in order while adhering to all the necessary regulations.

By availing these value-added services, taxpayers can save time and effort and ensure that their tax returns are filed accurately and on time. However, it is essential to choose a reliable and authorized service provider to avoid any legal or financial complications. As always, it is crucial to stay well-informed and keep up-to-date on the latest tax policies and regulations. 

8. Latest Updates and Extended Due Dates

Filing income tax returns can be a daunting task for taxpayers, especially when it comes to keeping track of the various due dates and deadlines. However, the Income Tax Department regularly issues updates and extensions to soften the burden on taxpayers. The latest updates and extended due dates are as follows:

– The due date for depositing tax deducted or collected for the month of May 2023 is the same day as payment without producing an income tax challan.

– The due date for issuing TDS certificates for tax deducted under Section 194-IA in the month of April 2023 has been extended.

– The due date for furnishing Form 24G by an office of the government where TDS/TCS for May 2023 has been paid without the production of a challan has been extended.

– The first installment of advance tax for the assessment year 2024-25 is due soon.

– The due date for furnishing a statement of income distributed by a business trust to its unit holders during the financial year 2022-23 has been announced.

– The deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar has been extended.

– The due date for filing a revised and belated income tax return for AY 2023-24 has been announced.

The Income Tax Department understands the difficulties taxpayers face, making these changes while also urging them to stay vigilant when sharing personal information and financial details. Taxpayers should not respond to any e-mails requesting sensitive information or passwords. The official website of the Income Tax Department is the only source of reliable and accurate information. 

9. Introduction to Taxpayer Certificate Awards

Taxpayer certificate awards are a unique recognition of taxpayers who have shown exemplary compliance in their tax returns. The government of India has initiated this program to encourage taxpayers to be punctual, honest and transparent in their tax dealings. It is a prestigious award presented to taxpayers who have contributed to the economy by timely paying their taxes, filing their returns accurately and adhering to all tax compliance regulations.

The award is presented in the form of a certificate which is very valuable for businesses since it ensures reputability and credibility. Furthermore, it adds a sense of pride and accomplishment to the taxpayers who are diligent in paying their taxes. The certificate can also help businesses to attract customers as it signifies the legitimacy of the establishment.

The taxpayer certificate awards program is a part of the government’s initiative to promote voluntary compliance in tax obligations. As the government’s drive towards a cashless and digital economy, the awards program can also be a motivation for taxpayers to adopt electronic modes of returns filing and payment.

In conclusion, the taxpayer certificate awards program is a positive step towards achieving a transparent and compliant tax system. It serves as a recognition of good taxpayer behavior and encourages voluntary compliance. The awards program not only adds prestige to the awardees but also promotes a positive image for businesses. 

10. Best Viewed Resolution and Copyright Notice

When accessing and using the Income Tax Department’s e-filing portal, it’s important to consider the best viewed resolution and copyright notice. The website is best viewed at a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels, but higher resolutions are recommended for optimal performance. This ensures that users can view and access all areas of the portal without any issues. As stated on the website, “Users are requested to check their monitor settings and set the display resolution as high as possible for a good viewing experience.”

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the copyright notice displayed on the website. This notice states that “Material featured on this site may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Where the material is being published or issued to others, the source must be prominently acknowledged.”

As a responsible user, it’s important to always give credit where credit is due and adhere to copyright laws when reproducing materials from the Income Tax Department’s e-filing portal. This ensures that the website remains accessible to all users and that its content continues to benefit taxpayers in India.

In the words of the Income Tax Department, “We hope that users will find the information and services provided on this site helpful and informative.” By respecting the best viewed resolution and copyright notice, we can ensure that the e-filing portal remains a helpful resource for all taxpayers in India.