Many individuals may be a bit apprehensive about filing returns online because of security and connectivity issues, online tax filing could actually be a blessing. It means you have the option of filing the returns on any day and from any location.
Taxpayers have an option to file their tax returns through www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, the tax portal run by the Income Tax Department. You do not have to pay anything to file returns through this site.
There are also several private players who charge anywhere between Rs. 180/- to Rs. 1,500/- for filing returns online.
A basic document check before starting the filing process could be helpful. For salaried individuals, Form 16 is a crucial document.
Secondly, if you have taken any housing loan, you should have the bank statement, which mentions the exact amount of interest paid in a financial year. If you were filing for HRA, you would need the rent receipts.
Self-employed individuals need a profit or loss statement in case they run a strategic business unit in which they remunerate themselves through a profit sharing model.
In case self-employed individuals follow a salary model in their own company, they require Form 16 A to file their returns online.
Steps for e-filing
First, register your personal details to choose a login ID.
At this stage, the portal will take you to the next stage to complete the registration process.
Second, enter the income particulars in ITR software tool, which would generate the ITR form in electronic format (XML file).
You have to upload the Form 16, enter other details on TDS, housing loan if any, particulars of tax investments, and so on.
Three, as you finish the process, a copy of your XML file will be sent to your email address.
It will tell you if you are eligible for a tax refund or you are liable to pay taxes.
Four, if you are using a private portal, you will be directed to the payment gateway to pay for the e-filing.
Five, an acknowledgement, called ITR Form-V, would be generated and mailed to your email ID.
You have to download the form and mail it to the Central Processing Unit in Bangalore within 120 days of e-filing.
Last, the IT Department will send you the final acknowledgement, which is the final step for e-tax filing.
Points to remember
Do not wait till the last week of July to e-file your return. The tax department's e-filing website becomes almost inaccessible (due to server overload) during the last few days of July, forcing many to file their returns offline.
Also, if you are using the tax department's template, make sure you save the incompletely filled file on your computer's disk. In case you are using private portals, make sure you have saved your changes before you log out.
If you are using a private portal for tax filing, make sure that the portal is a licensed e-Return Intermediary (ERI), which is authorized by the Income Tax Department. You will have access to this information on the website of the portal.
Enter details on housing loan, HRA, tuition fees for children, medical insurance, bank interest income and capital gains to ensure you file the accurate return. Even if you have missed filing these details in your investment declaration submitted to the employer, ensure you fill these details at the time of online filing. You will be eligible for a tax refund at a later stage.
Last, beware of emails that land on your inbox with a link to the Income Tax Office website.
Do not click on the link before double-checking the source of the mail.
These should be carefully evaluated as they may be intended to steal your sensitive personal information like credit card details/bank details.
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