Filing Income Tax Returns (ITR) is an essential responsibility for every eligible taxpayer in India. It may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right guidance and understanding of the process, you can easily file your ITR without any hassles. This comprehensive guide is designed to help beginners navigate the world of ITR filing, covering everything from the basics to the essential steps and tips for accurate and timely submission.
- Understanding Income Tax Returns (ITR)
Income Tax Returns (ITR) are the forms that taxpayers use to report their total annual income to the Income Tax Department. This helps the department assess and calculate the amount of tax due or refundable, based on the taxpayer’s income, deductions, and exemptions. Filing ITR is not only a legal obligation but also helps taxpayers avail various benefits such as refunds, carry forward of losses, and avoidance of penalties.
- Who Should File ITR in India?
As per the Income Tax Act, 1961, every individual, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Association of Persons (AOP), Body of Individuals (BOI), company, or any other artificial juridical person must file ITR if their gross total income exceeds the basic exemption limit. The basic exemption limit varies depending on the taxpayer’s age and residential status. For the Financial Year (FY) 2021-22, the exemption limits are as follows:
- For individuals below 60 years of age: ₹2.5 lakh
- For individuals between 60 and 79 years of age: ₹3 lakh
- For individuals aged 80 years or above: ₹5 lakh
- Types of ITR Forms
There are seven types of ITR forms (ITR-1 to ITR-7) available, each designed to cater to a specific category of taxpayers. It’s crucial to choose the appropriate form based on your income sources, residential status, and other factors. Here’s a brief overview of the different ITR forms:
- ITR-1 (Sahaj): For resident individuals with income from salary, pension, one house property, or other sources (excluding lottery and racehorse winnings) with total income up to ₹50 lakh.
- ITR-2: For individuals and HUFs not having income from a business or profession.
- ITR-3: For individuals and HUFs having income from a business or profession.
- ITR-4 (Sugam): For resident individuals, HUFs, and firms (other than LLPs) with total income up to ₹50 lakh and opting for the presumptive income scheme.
- ITR-5: For AOPs, BOIs, LLPs, Artificial Juridical Persons, Cooperative Societies, and Local Authorities.
- ITR-6: For companies, excluding those claiming exemptions under Section 11 of the Income Tax Act.
- ITR-7: For persons, including companies, required to furnish returns under Sections 139(4A), 139(4B), 139(4C), 139(4D), 139(4E), or 139(4F).
- The ITR Filing Process
Filing your ITR has become more accessible and convenient, thanks to the online e-filing system provided by the Income Tax Department. The step-by-step process for e-filing ITR is as follows:
Step 1: Register on the e-Filing Portal
Visit the Income Tax Department’s e-Filing portal (www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in) and register yourself using your Permanent Account Number (PAN), which will serve as your user ID.
Step 2: Download the Relevant ITR Form
After logging in, navigate to the ‘Download’ section and choose the appropriate ITR form based on your income sources and eligibility. Download the form in Excel or Java utility format.
Step 3: Gather Necessary Documents
Before you start filling out the ITR form, gather all the required documents, including your Form 16, Form 26AS, bank statements, investment proofs, and any other relevant documents for deductions and exemptions.
Step 4: Fill Out the ITR Form
Carefully fill out the ITR form with accurate information from your documents. Make sure to report all your income sources, claim applicable deductions and exemptions, and provide your bank account details for refunds, if any.
Step 5: Validate and Generate XML File
After completing the ITR form, validate the data entered by clicking the ‘Validate’ button on each sheet. Once all sheets are validated, click on the ‘Generate XML’ button to create an XML file, which will be used for uploading on the e-Filing portal.
Step 6: Upload the XML File
Log in to the e-Filing portal, navigate to the ‘e-File’ section, and click on ‘Upload Return.’ Select the appropriate ITR form, Assessment Year (AY), and upload the XML file generated in the previous step. Click on ‘Submit’ to complete the process.
Step 7: E-Verify Your ITR
Once your ITR is uploaded, you need to e-verify it within 120 days using one of the available methods, such as Aadhaar OTP, Net Banking, or Electronic Verification Code (EVC). This step confirms your submission and completes the ITR filing process.
- Essential Tips for First-Time ITR Filers
a. File Your ITR on Time: The last date for filing ITR in India is usually July 31st, though it may be extended by the government under certain circumstances. Filing your ITR on time helps you avoid penalties and ensures a hassle-free experience.
b. Choose the Correct ITR Form: Picking the right ITR form based on your income sources, residential status, and other factors is crucial for accurate and successful ITR filing.
c. Report All Income Sources: Make sure to report all your income sources, including salary, interest income, capital gains, rental income, etc., to avoid any discrepancies and potential penalties.
d. Claim Deductions and Exemptions: Utilize the various deductions and exemptions available under the Income Tax Act to minimize your tax liability. Some common deductions include Section 80C (investments), Section 80D (medical insurance), Section 10(14) (house rent allowance), and Section 24(b) (home loan interest).
e. Double-Check Your Information: Before submitting your ITR, double-check all the information you’ve entered, such as personal details, income, deductions, and bank account information, to avoid errors and ensure a smooth filing experience.
Filing your Income Tax Returns as a beginner may seem like a daunting task, but with the right understanding and guidance, you can sail through the process without any issues. This comprehensive guide has provided you with the necessary information to get started with ITR filing. Remember, timely and accurate ITR filing not only fulfills your legal obligation but also helps you enjoy various benefits, such as tax refunds and carry forward of losses.
And if you need expert assistance, SaveTax.today is here to help you with personalized tax solutions and services.