People are willing to file the return but think the process is too complicated. Now, ITR filing can be done by both online and offline modes. But from the assessment year 2013-14 onwards, the income tax department has made it mandatory for all taxpayers having a total income of above Rs.5 lakh in the previous financial year, to e-file their tax returns.

Who should e-file income tax returns?

Online ITR filing is done by assessees as it makes tax returns convenient and easy.

  • Assessee with a total income of Rs. 5 Lakhs and above.
  • Individual/HUF resident with assets located outside India.
  • Audit report shall be furnished by assessee which are specified under sections 10(23C) (IV), 10(23C) (v), 10(23C) (VI), 10(23C) (via), 10A, 12A (1) (b), 44AB, 80IA, 80IB, 80IC, 80ID, 80JJAA, 80LA, 92E or 115JB of the Act.
  • Assessee required to give a notice under Section 11(2) (a) to the assessing officer.
  • A firm (which does not come under the provisions of section 44AB), AOP, BOI, Artificial Juridical Person, Cooperative Society and Local Authority (ITR 5).
  • An assessee shall enter all the details of returns under Section 139(4)(B) (ITR 7)
  • A resident who has signing authority in any account located outside India.
  • A person who claims relief under sections 90 or 90A or deductions under section 91.
  • All companies.

E-filing of Income Tax Returns

For ITR filing different forms are available. There are a few things that are essential for ITR filing through the internet. They are –

  • Bank statements
  • Form 16
  • Copy of the previous year’s return
  • TDS Certificates.
  • Deductions or Savings Certificates.
  • Interest Statement displaying that you had received interest during the financial year.
  • Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss Account Statement and other Audit Reports (if applicable).

Steps for ITR filing through the Internet

Having the documents ready, the following steps need to be observed to allow for a smooth ITR filing through the internet:

  1. Registration – The Permanent Account Number (PAN) is the user ID
  2. Tax Credit Statement (Form 26AS) – This needs to be checked for the previous financial year. This will list all the taxes deducted that are actually deposited with the Income Tax Department.
  3. The Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) of Form 16 should tally with the ones in Form 26AS
  4. Tax Return for the current year – Under the ‘Download’ menu, click on Income Tax Return Forms and choose the current financial year. The appropriate ITR form should be downloaded. There is also an option to complete the process on the portal itself, through the ‘Quick e-file ITR’ link
  5. Find out the tax payable by clicking the ‘Calculate Tax’ tab. If applicable, pay the tax and fill in the details of the challan in the tax return
  6. Confirm all the information through the ‘Validate’ tab
  7. Generate an ‘XML file’ and save it on your local disk on the computer
  8. Upload Return – After selecting the current financial year in the ‘Upload Return’ link on the portal’s left-hand navigation area, select the XML file that had been saved earlier. There might be an option to digitally sign the file. In case you have a digital signature, choose ‘Yes’ else ‘No’
  9. ITR V – If the process of filing has been completed successfully, the website will flash an appropriate message and you will be able to download the acknowledgment form, the ITR-V
  10. A printed copy of the ITR V needs to be signed by you and sent to the Income Tax Department office nearest to you through normal or Speed Post within 120 days of filing the return

There are many private portals other than official site operated by the Government of India that allows the filing of returns and charges a specific fee depending upon the service level they offer.

Benefits of Filing Income Tax Return Online

It might be a difficult process to keep a track of every nifty detail needed in order to file the proper details for the Income Tax Return but actually, it helps a lot when it is done in the earnest and ahead of time, preferably, online –

  1. The last date of Online ITR filing is July 31 of every financial year, and filing of ITR a few days earlier or a month earlier actually ensures that process will be much smoother as there will be less traffic on the website.
  2. If someone has missed filing tax returns for the previous year, every additional day until July 31 increases the penal interest. Thus, it is advisable to file a tax return in advance.
  3. Creating a favorable financial history – Online filing of the income tax returns actually creates a history of your financial records with the tax department in a much faster and easier way. This history is favored by a lot of organizations, be it financial or otherwise, whom you might have a business relationship with in the future.
  4. ITR-V form acts as a proof and it is always handy, ITR V can be furnished easily as a proof at any time for any kind of financial liability.

Filing ITR offline

To e-File ITR offline for 2016-2017, you have to

  • Visit the website of the Income Tax Department of India and choose the option for e-filing.
  • On selecting this option, you will be directed to another website where you can select the ITR form that is applicable to you.
  • For 2016-2017, the IT Department has two utilities and you can download any one of them. These utilities are Excel Utility and Java Utility.

If you choose Excel Utility, then:

  • After the excel utility is downloaded, open the file and fill the form.
  • Validate the information, calculate the tax and click on Generate XML.
  • Save the form and upload it on the e-filing website of the IT Department.
  • Once you have uploaded the form, click on submit.

If you download JAVA utility, then:

  • After downloading the utility, open it and click on ‘Prefill’.
  • Enter User ID, Password, DOB/DOI and choose Prefill Address.
  • Enter details, calculate the tax and upload the XML file.
  • Click on Submit.

This process is the same for all the ITR forms.

For any help on Filing of ITR feel free to consult the tax experts at LegalRaasta. You can file ITR yourself via our ITR software or get CA’s help on filing income tax return. You can also use the option of Business ReturnBulk Return or Revised Return Filing.