What is Income Tax Return?
Income Tax Return or ITR is a form in which taxpayers declare their tax payments, deductions and taxable income. It is a way of informing the Government of India about how much income you have earned in a financial year and from which sources such as through interest earnings, dividends on investments or capital gains. It is a yearly procedure, which must be completed before the deadline, i.e., 31st July.
The procedure of filing income tax returns is referred as ‘income tax filing’. The total amount that should go to the government as tax must be calculated before filing tax returns. Doing so helps in remitting payments or requesting funds. If you have paid more than what is required as per your tax slab, you will be returned/refunded the balance by the Income Tax Department.
Different Types of ITR Forms
On the Income Tax Department of India website, there are different forms available to file the income tax returns based on different income sources. As of now, there are seven forms available from ITR-1 to ITR-7. Some of these forms might be longer than others and may require additional disclosures such as profit and loss statements. To help you know which one of the forms fits best to your requirements, here is each one of them briefly explained:
- ITR-1 – This is the first form available for filing income tax return. This form is also called SAHAJ. ITR-1 or SAHAJ is concerned with an individual who gets income from salary, pension, one house property, interest or from any other source such as race horses, lottery winnings etc. and having the total income of up to Rs. 50 lakh.
- ITR-2 – This form is for individuals or the Hindi Undivided Families (HUFs) who have income which is not from the profits and gains of a business or otherwise profession.
- ITR-3 – This form is for different persons or the HUFs whose source of income is from the profits and gains of a business or profession.
- ITR-4 – This form is for those who have presumptive income from a business or profession.
- ITR-5 – This form is for everyone other than individuals, HUF, company and person filing Form ITR-7.
- ITR-6 – This form is for all those companies which are not claiming exemption under the Section 11 of Income Tax Act.
- ITR-7 – This form is relevant for all people including those enterprises who are required to file tax returns under the Section 139(4A), Section 139(4B), Section 139(4C), Section 139(4D), Section 139 (4E) or 139 (4F).
How to Download Income Tax Return Form
Taxpayers can find income tax return forms on the official website of the Income Tax Department. To download forms, follow these steps:
- Visit the Income Tax Department website.
- On the homepage, select the ‘Income Tax Returns’ option from the ‘Form/Downloads’ drop-down menu.
Once you are redirected to the ‘Income Tax Return’ webpage, download the form that seems applicable as per your source of income.
Who needs to file an Income Tax Return?
The Income Tax Department of India has made it compulsory for individuals to file income tax returns. Individuals that need to file income tax returns are as follows:
- A person with an age of less than 60 years has an annual income of Rs.250000.
- A person with an age between 60 years and 80 years and has an annual income of Rs.500000.
- A person who is above the age of 80 years and has an annual income between Rs.500001 and Rs.100000.
- A company or an organisation is bound to file for an income tax return no matter if the company is in loss or profit.
- If there is a loss which you want to carry forward under the head of income.
- If a resident Indian has an asset or any financial interest in an entity situated outside the geographic territory of the country.
- If an individual applies for a loan or a visa, a proof of filing tax returns might be required.
- If an individual receives income from property that is held under any kind of trust for charitable purposes or any research association, educational centre or any medical centre, trade union or any non-profit university.
- If a non-resident Indian has his/her income sources from India, then he/she is also liable to pay the taxes and also to file Income Tax Returns.
The documents that are necessary for filing of income tax returns online are as follows:
- Bank statement
- Interest certificates from banks or post offices
- Proof of tax-saving investments
- Form 16 (for salaried individuals)
- Salary slips
- Form 16A/16B/16C
- Form 26AS
How to File Income Tax Returns Online?
The IT Department has released an e-filing software for all ITR forms for the financial year 2017-18. Out of these only ITR-1 or ITR-4, can be filed completely online without downloading any software in Excel or Java. After keeping the required documents ready, file tax returns completely online by following these steps:
- Go to http://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.
- If you are new to e-filing, register yourself on the portal.
- On the homepage, click the “Submit Returns/Forms” link from the “Quick Links” section.
- If you are already registered, login to your income tax account by providing your User ID (your PAN), Password and Captcha.
- Once you have logged in to your account, click the “Filing of Income Tax Return” link.
- Select the appropriate assessment year, ITR form name as ITR-1 or ITR-4 and submission mode as Prepare and Submit Online.
- Here you will also be required to select one of the three options to verify your income tax returns.
- Now you will be redirected to a page where you will start filling out the form. However, before you start filling the form, read the ‘General Instructions‘ given at the start carefully to avoid mistakes.
- Once you are done reading the instructions, you can start filling in the required information in different tabs, i.e., ‘General information‘, ‘Income details‘, ‘Tax details‘ ‘Taxes paid and verification‘ and ‘80G‘ in the ITR form.
- Before submitting the form, recheck it to avoid any mistakes. If you are satisfied that the data entered is good to go then click on ‘Preview and Submit‘ button. Your form will appear allowing you a preview before the final submission is made.
- Once you click on ‘Submit‘, your ITR will be uploaded and you will be asked to verify the return using any of the options available.
- You can verify your return electronically by using Aadhaar OTP or Electronic Verification Code (EVC) method or through an offline method by sending a signed printout of the ITR V to CPC, Bengaluru within 120 days from the date of e-filing.
- Once your return is successfully uploaded, an Acknowledgement or ITR V will be simultaneously sent on your registered email address.
Note: The acknowledgement will also reflect in your account on the e-filing website from where you can download it as and when required.
- Once you verify your ITR, the department will process it and will notify you about the same through an email on your registered email ID and a SMS on your registered mobile number.
It is not necessary that an individual can only file for an income tax return from the authorized site of the Government of India but there are also many private sectors that permit filing income tax returns. The private sectors in return of the service rendered charge a particular fee from the individual. The amount of fee charged varies from firm to firm.
How to Check Income Tax Return Status?
Once you have filed your income tax return, you can check its status. There are two ways to check your income tax return status:
- By Using Acknowledgment Number (without login credentials)
- Visit the Income Tax Department
- On the left side of the homepage under the ‘Services’ tab, select the ‘ITR Status’ option.
- After selecting the option, you will be redirected to a new webpage where you will be required to provide your PAN, ITR acknowledgment number and captcha code.
- Submit the details and the status will be displayed on your device’s screen.
- By Using Login Credentials
- Visit Income Tax Return Login Portal.
- On the ‘Dashboard’, select ‘View Returns/Forms’ option.
- Select the Income Tax Returns option and the relevant assessment year from the drop-down menus and submit.
Once all details are submitted successfully, the return status will appear on the screen.
What are the Income Tax Return Due Dates ?
The due date for filing Income Tax Returns for any financial year is usually the same, which is 31st July. However, there are a few categories of taxpayers that have a different due date. The following table will help you find due dates for the current financial year:
|Category of Taxpayer||Due Date for Tax Filing|
|Body of Individuals (BOI)||31st July|
|Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)||31st July|
|Association of Persons (AOP)||31st July|
|Businesses (Requiring Audit)||30th September|
|Businesses (Requiring TP Report)||30th November|
Advantages of Filing Income Tax Return Online
The process of filing of Income Tax Returns used to be a tiring as well as difficult but with the introduction of ITR e-filing, the burden has lessened. The online method for filing of income tax returns helps an individual in the following ways:
- Every year, the deadline for filing of income tax returns is 31st Filing your tax returns a month or two in advance can help you finish the task rather quickly as you will face less congestion on the website, which tends to lag as the final date approaches.
- Not filing the income tax return in time can lead to penalties for each day until the payment is made. Filing of income tax return online offers you convenience of filing your returns in time anytime and from anywhere.
- Filing of income tax online helps you keep a record of all the financial transactions with the IT Department in an efficient way. Whenever an individual or an organisation seeks loan from any bank or financial institution, a proof of income is required. This record can be your proof of income.