Here’s the thing about income tax filing- it’s time-consuming, you don’t really want to do it, but it needs to be done.
Even though July 31 is the last day to file your income tax returns, you can get started much early since most of the data you need to file your returns will be available by end of May.
Tax filing, when done incorrectly, can lead to complications. To make tax filing less complex here’s a checklist you need to follow to ensure that your tax returns are filed properly. Printable PDF checklist at the end of this article.
Step 1: Collect and organize all the required documents to file your tax returns
Before you file your returns, you need to ensure you have all the documents to help you file your returns. Even though you need not submit these documents when you file, you’ll need to keep records should there be any scrutiny and you are asked to submit the proof. It’s also useful for cross-checking.
#1: PAN Number- You’ll need to quote your PAN number during the tax filing process.
#2: Form 16- This is the form provided by your employer. The TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) for the income chargeable under head “salaries” is declared in this form. In case you have not received the form 16, you can use some third party excel based calculators to figure out your TDS amount or use form 26AS (more on form 26AS in Step 2).
#3: Form 16A- Similar to Form 16; However, a form 16A is issued for TDS on income from sources other than salary. Form 16A will be issued to you in case of TDS on your interest income from Bank FDs and so on.
#4: Demat account transaction statement- If you do trading in the stock market and book profits/losses, your Demat account statement will come in handy to declare them while filing your returns.
#5: Advance Tax/ Self-Assessment Tax payment challan- If your tax liability is more than Rs 10,000 in the same financial year, you need to pay advance tax. If you have only salary income, TDS by the employer should cover this. You can cross-verify this using Form 26AS.
Before filing your returns, you need to calculate your final tax liability after deducting TDS and advance tax paid during the course of the previous financial year. Final liability as per your calculation is the self-assessment tax. You need to pay self-assessment tax before filing your IT returns.
#6: Bank account statements- You’ll need all the statements from the banks used in the same financial year for which you are filing taxes.
#7: Capital gains/loss statements- You can offset a loss against gain to reduce your tax liability. Remember these points
- Short term loss can be offset against short term and long term capital gains during the same period
- Long term loss can only be offset against long-term gains during the same period
Online investment platforms like Scripbox provide you downloadable capital gains statement for your mutual fund investments. If you don’t have such a functionality, check with your investment broker/platform for the manual generation of the statement.
#8: Principal and interest payment certificate from loan provider- You’ll need the actual amount you paid towards your home loan principal and interest to claim tax deductions under Section 80C and section 24 respectively.
#9: Income and investment actuals- You need to get the accurate amounts for your all of your investments, income, and deductions.
Even if you have declared amounts with your employer and they have cut the TDS, you need to enter the accurate amounts while entering data in your ITR form. This includes your actual contribution to PPF, any donations made, and so on.
In case the employer deducted more tax than required as TDS, the data you enter will help you get a tax refund. The reverse is also true. If the employer has deducted less tax from you than required, you’ll need to pay the dues before filing your returns.
Please note that unclaimed HRA cannot be claimed via your IT returns. It can be claimed only through your employer.
#10: Copy of last year’s return (if applicable)
Step 2: File your returns
Now that you have all the documents ready, it’s time to file the returns. Here’s the step-by-step guide to filing your returns.
#1: Prepare for e-Filing
Register on the official website – https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/
You can also use various third-party websites like cleartax, taxspanner etc for filing your returns. These third party websites make the process of filing easier and also provides additional services like CA assisted filing for a small additional fee.
#2: Verify your tax credit statement
Form 26AS will tell you how much tax money was credited on your behalf via TDS. This amount should match the TDS amount you have from form 16 and form 16A.
#3: Choose the correct ITR form
Choose the ITR form that applies to you from under the “downloads” tab.
Follow the prompts in the excel sheet that you downloaded and complete the form by filling all the required details (remember to enable the macros).
Generate the XML file from the sheet at the end of the process.
#4: Upload to the e-filing website
Once the XML file is generated, you can go ahead and upload the newly generated file to the official website. Use the “upload return” button on the homepage to upload the file.
#5: Save the acknowledgement form
On successful upload of the XML file, you’ll be able to download the acknowledgment form ITR-V (ITR-Verification).
#6: Physically send the ITR-V acknowledgment form
If you selected “no” for digital signature, then you’ll have to take a print of the acknowledgment form, sign it with blue ink, and send it to the following address.
Income-Tax Department-CPC, Post Bag No-1, Electronic City Post Office, Bengaluru - 560100, Karnataka.
This has to be sent within 120 days of filing your return and only through speed post or normal post. Couriers are not accepted.
That’s it. You are done with your IT returns filing.