Filing your income tax returns can be well, taxing. Though online filing has made the process extremely easy for tax-payers, there are various aspects that should be kept in mind:
Collate all necessary documentation: Filing your tax returns requires details relating to various documents such as various investments receipts, income receipts, old tax receipts, form 26AS, form 16 etc. You must make sure to keep all the required documents ready before filing the form. Keeping the documents handy would also assist in filing the form quickly and smoothly.
Also, keep these documents in an organized and safe manner even after filing your returns, since these may be required at later stages in case of any discrepancy or for scrutiny.
Choose the right ITR form: The ITR form which you fill depends upon the type and source of income that you receive. With 7 different kinds of ITR forms available, it’s vital for tax assesse to fill the right form. For instance, ITR 1 can only be filled by individuals (and not HUFs) having total income (from Salary, pension, house property or from other sources), up to Rs.50 lakhs. Whereas, individuals and HUFs earning income from proprietary business, any profession, or as partner in a firm need to file ITR 3.
In case you submit the wrong ITR form, your income tax return would be termed as ‘defective’ and a revised ITR form needs to be submitted within 15 days of receiving notice under section 139(9).
Recheck before submission: Before submitting your ITR form, make sure you recheck calculations, income details and personal information etc. Ensure it matches the information shown in your form 16 as any incorrect information, calculation mistake or mismatch would attract a notice from the income tax department. You would then be required to file a revised return in case of any discrepancy, as mentioned in the notice issued.
Also, effective FY 2017-18, you may have to file the revised returns within one year from the end of that assessment year.
Verify details in form 26AS: Form 26AS is an annual statement showing details of each tax payer’s TDS (tax deducted at source), TCS (tax collected at source), tax refunds etc. as per the income tax department’s database.
hrough your Permanent Account Number (PAN), you can access form 26AS and get to know the taxes paid by you or by the deductor (usually the bank or employer) on your behalf. Tax details in your return must match the TDS details mentioned in this form. Every tax payer must verify his/her form 26AS to ensure reporting of complete income and avoid any notices from the income tax department.
Moreover, as tax authorities consider form 26AS as the sole proof of taxes paid by you, make sure you notify the deductor and get the discrepancies (if any) rectified at the earliest.
WHAT TO AVOID Avoid missing out on disclosure of any income: While filing your income tax returns, make sure you disclose all your income, irrespective of its type and source. Concealment of income attracts a show cause income tax notice under section 148. Such notices are issued when the assessing officer (AO) believes that your income, which was chargeable to tax, has escaped assessment. Most tax payers usually tend to ignore Income from previous employer, Interest incomes from deposits and other incomes while filing their returns.
Additionally, even though you don’t need to pay tax on exempted income, you have to include it under the category of ‘exempted’ income while filing your return. Remember that as soon as the TDS gets deducted, details of your PAN reach the income tax department’s database and get mentioned in the tax payer’s form 26AS. On escaping or concealing any form of income, the tax payer gets the appropriate notice from the tax authorities, along with interest or penalty levied, if applicable.
Not claiming available deductions: Claiming deductions under various sections of the income tax act helps in reducing your overall tax liability. In case you fail to claim tax reliefs and deductions while filing ITR, you won’t be able to claim these afterwards. Deductions on interest paid on home loan and education loan (under section 24 and 80E respectively), ELSS investments (under section 80C) etc. are some common tax reliefs available. Make sure you stay informed regarding various other deductions available, such as those on health insurance premiums, donations to certified trusts and temples, etc.
Even if you didn’t submit proofs to your employer or in case your organization doesn’t accept some claim, you can still claim these deductions in your ITR. Therefore, while filing your ITR, make sure you claim all the deductions for which you are eligible, and thereby reduce your total tax outgo.
Naveen Kukreja is the CEO and co-founder of