E-filing of I-T returns: The easy way

Filing of income tax returns online is very easy and free, especially for salaried people. There is no need to visit sites that charge some money for e-filing your I-T returns

Every year July not only brings heavy downpour but also makes every salaried taxpayer to tighten their belts for filing returns. Filing Income-Tax (I-T) returns have now become quite easy, especially with the electronic filing; one can file it online without much help from professionals.


Sites like Taxspanner.com, Taxyogi.com, Taxsmile.com, taxshax.com, myITreturn.com offer e-filing of tax returns. And then there is the Income Tax (I-T) department’s own site (https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/). The only difference between the I-T department’s website and the others is that the former is free of cost, while for using services from other sites, one needs to pay certain charges. However, it is neither mandatory nor necessary to use the service of a paid site. The same job can be done free of cost. Besides, the I-T department’s own site, several above mentioned sites do not charge any money for using their basic package for filing online returns.


A few days ago, State Bank of India (SBI), in partnership with Taxspanner.com launched an e-filing service for its customers at special discounted rates of Rs150 onwards. These e-return intermediary (ERI) sites offer various packages. In the basic package, you can file returns for one number of Form 16. In advanced package the I-T return is reviewed by a professional before filing. More advanced or premium packages offer all these facilities and storage space for keeping all your tax-related documents. Then there are some packages for businessmen or professionals. I had used both—the paid service as well as free service for filing my I-T returns. Although, both services come out as good, I found the I-T department’s service little bit faster than other sites.


For filing I-T returns online (for salaried people), you need to have your Form 16 with you. Here are some tips or guidelines for filing their I-T returns online based on my personal experience...


1. While we often remain dependent on accounting professionals for tax computation, one can always verify or calculate his/her own tax liabilities. I have been using a very good and free software (actually an Excel file) from a Bengaluru-based software professional Nithyanand. One can download the Excel file from http://www.ynithya.com/taxcalc/taxcalc.htm and calculate the approximate tax liabilities. This would give you a fair idea about your income tax, and if you had paid it in full or not. (In case, it is not paid in full, you can always pay it through the NSDL website or online banking after selecting the appropriate challan. After making the payment, you would receive a challan identification number)


2. Visit the I-T department site for filing returns online—https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/portal/index.jsp . If you are already registered here, then simply log in, else you can register with the site and then log in. You can visit the site and download forms without login as well, but for submitting tax returns one needs to be logged in.


3. After login, select appropriate Income-Tax return (ITR) form. There are five types of ITR forms, ITR-1 or Sahaj, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4 and ITR-4S (Sugam). If you do not have any other income except from salary, you can select ITR-1. To know more about the ITR forms you can visit https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/portal/selectforms.do


4. Download a small Excel file or return preparation software as the I-T department calls it. There is also a help file that gets downloaded along with this software, which you can refer to for enabling macros, if needed.


5. Open the Excel file. Fill in the data on first page using your Form 16 and the Nithya’s calculator. Check and verify the data you filled in the form. Double check and verify it with your source files or with Form 16 and Nithya’s calculator. You need to fill in all fields marked in green colour.


6. Open the second page (TDS). Here you need to fill in details like TAN of your employer/s (It is mentioned in the Form 16), and the tax deducted or TDS. In case, you have paid the tax on your own, then provide the details like BSR code, challan number and amount in Section 25 near the bottom of the page.


7. Open the next page. Here you need to provide your bank account number, MICR code of the bank and type of account. Make sure that the bank account number is your regular and personal account rather than salary account. This helps in case there is any refund payable to you. Often, people quote their salary account in this form and find it difficult to get tax refunds in case of change in job or closure of this account.


8. Fill in other details. Double check and verify all data that you had entered in this page. If everything is right and there are no errors, click on the ‘validate’ tab, which is there on the top right hand side of the page. Validate all pages. Click on the ‘Generate’ tab on first page. This will create a xml file. Store it on your PC/desktop.


9. Login to the https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/portal/login.do site using your username and password. Click on the relevant form (here ITR-1) from the panel on the left side. Click on ‘submit returns’.


10. Browse to select the xml file, you had created earlier, and click on ‘Upload’ button.


11. If the uploading is successful, then you would see an acknowledgement. Take a print out of the acknowledgement or ITR-V form. You would also receive the acknowledgement in your email inbox.


12. If you are using digital signature, then after receiving the acknowledgement, the process for e-filing is over for you.


13. In case you are not using digital signature for filing returns, you need to sign on the acknowledgement or ITR-V form. Make a Xerox copy of this signed form. Send the signed form to...

Income Tax Department – CPC,

Post Bag No - 1,

Electronic City Post Office,

Bengaluru - 560100, Karnataka


Use ordinary post or Speed Post for sending the form, within 120 days after submitting your returns online. The I-T Department does not accept forms sent through registered post or courier.


14. Remember, you just need to send the signed acknowledgement or ITR-V form. There is no need to send either Form 16 or any other document to the CPC. However, keep all relevant documents safely in your possession.


15. After few days, you will receive an email from the CPC that would acknowledge the receipt of your ITR-V form. This makes the e-filing of I-T returns complete.


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Prakash Bhate

7 years ago

My experience with the IT Dept is terrible. My wife and I e-filed our returns last year. Both of us should have received a decent refund. The IT Dept raised a demand for returns filed 2 years ago that was coincidentally exactly equal to our refunds and our refunds have vanished into the IT coffers. Moral of the story: Always keep some tax payable and pay at the time of filing returns. You may pay a little bit more on account of interest. But at least your refunds won't disappear.

Siddarth bansal

7 years ago

Just had query .. can i use Sahaj form if i have long term loss from MUtual fund income, in any case it can not be set off from my Salary income.


7 years ago

Yogesh Jee - thanks a lot for your very useful tip. Although this is diversion, I have had a wonderful experience with income tax department. My wife who was handling a small business had not received since FY 2005-06 onwards. My tax consultant was giving various reasons for the last 3-4 years and single paise refund was received. I made up my mind and met the DY.ITO, and showed him all the tax returns, tds and advance payment. (u hv to go with original and couple of copies). Can you, imagine my tax return since FY 2004-05 to FY 2010-11 was cleared, I got substantial refund, I had to pay Rs.4,500/- tax for one year as bank had not sent TDS for that year. U will not believe I have not paid and/or nobody demanded even a single paise. Find out some time, go equipped with additional copies (and also originals) , show you are layman do not know anything, do not argue, say yes whatever he says and you will come home satisfied.


7 years ago

Yes it is easy to file IT return without taking assistance of CA firms. it is better to provide account number which is salary account because there is no harm in continuing that account even if one is no longer in the same organisation since almost all Bank branches are in CBS platform and provide SMS alert and net banking facility if possible Taxes should also remitted using net banking because then updating in AS26 can also be monitored. Experience is that when returns are filed online even refunds are recd online directly into Bank accounts and presto SMS informs u credit of refund. this way stale refund orders/lost refunds etc can be avoided.

Domestic laws should not over-ride tax treaties: Mauritius

India is looking to amend the taxation treaty with Mauritius, which was entered into in 1983, amid concerns that the island nation is being used by companies to evade taxes

New Delhi: Amid concerns over India's new tax proposals, Mauritius on Friday said domestic legislations should not over-ride the double taxation avoidance treaties between the two countries, reports PTI.

"Once the 'Limitation of Benefit' clause is embedded in the taxation treaties, we expect it to prevail and no domestic legislation should over-ride the treaty," Mauritius minister of foreign affairs, regional integration and international trade, Arvin Boolell said.

India is looking to implement new rules to tackle the menace of tax evasion.

A large quantum of foreign investments in India are routed through Mauritius, to escape the tax net, which has prompted the government to bring out the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to prevent abuse of the tax treaty.

Mr Boolell said that Mauritius is willing to resolve all issues related to the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement treaty (DTAA) with India.

The joint working group of the two countries would meet from 22nd to 24th August to iron out differences over the tax treaty, he said at a press conference.

Mr Boolell said the zero capital gains tax in Mauritius would continue to be there under the treaty. "Article 13 (related to capital gains tax) is sacrosanct," he noted.

Article 13 refers to the clause in DTAA, whereby a company can avail the benefits of the treaty and pay capital gains tax only in Mauritius.

However, companies are misusing this clause to avoid taxes since Mauritius does not charge capital gains tax.

Noting that the two countries have made tremendous progress since 2006 regarding their DTAA, he said everything has been done to curb round-tripping.

Round-tripping generally refers to re-routing of money by companies to avoid taxes.

India is looking to amend the taxation treaty with Mauritius, which was entered into in 1983 amid concerns that the island nation is being used by companies to evade taxes.

In May this year, the Indian government had said that Mauritius was 'unwilling' to bring in safeguards to prevent the misuse of taxation treaty between the two nations.

The joint working group on DTAA, which is to meet next month, has so far met seven times.
Nearly 40% of the foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country came through Mauritius between April 2000 and February 2012.

Many of the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) investing in the Indian stock market are from Mauritius.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, former Mauritius finance minister, Rama Sithanen, said that his country was "not a tax haven".


SC pulls up CBI in Mayawati case, quashes DA case against the BSP leader

Supreme Court said the method adopted by the CBI was "unwarranted" and the agency proceeded against Mayawati without properly understanding its orders passed in the Taj Corridor scam


New Delhi: In a major relief to Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed a nine-year-long disproportionate assets case against her and pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for initiating the probe against her without specific directions from the court, reports PTI.

The apex court said that the method adopted by the CBI was "unwarranted" and the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders passed in the Taj Corridor scam.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam clarified that the Supreme Court order pertained to initiating probe against state government officials in the scam and there was no such direction to lodge another first information report (FIR) exclusively against Mayawati for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.

The apex court said there is no finding in the CBI's status report of September 2008 that Mayawati had allegedly amassed disproportionate assets during the period 1995-2003.

"There is no material report of disproportionate assets case against the petitioner (Mayawati) in the Taj Corridor scam," the bench said while referring to the probe agency's status report.

The court further said that its order of 2002 was specifically pertaining to Taj Corridor case and there was no direction for lodging an FIR against Mayawati as was done by the CBI.

While reading out the operative part of its judgment, the bench observed there was "no such direction to lodge another FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act exclusively against Mayawati".

"The CBI proceeded without properly understanding our orders", the bench said, adding, "Method adopted by the CBI is unwarranted."

The apex court said that the investigating agency exceeded it jurisdiction by filing a DA case against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as there was no such direction from it.

"The CBI should have lodged only one FIR (in Taj Corridor scam). There was no direction for lodging second FIR (against Mayawati) by the Supreme Court," the bench said.

The court passed the judgment on Mayawati's plea seeking quashing of proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI.

She had alleged that the agency was being used as a political tool by "fixing" the case against her.

Mayawati had approached the apex court in May 2008 seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI nine years ago. She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta against her.

The court had reserved its judgment on May 1, this year after hearing both the sides.

Mayawati had said the bench should direct the CBI to consider the aspect of order passed by the Income Tax Tribunal holding that her income was genuine. The order had also been upheld by the Delhi High Court, she had said.

The CBI had alleged there was "ample evidence" to show that she had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.

Mayawati had claimed she had received the money as donations from party workers.

Questioning Mayawati's assets, the CBI had alleged her declared assets of Rs1 crore in 2003 had gone up to Rs50 crore in 2007.

The CBI, in its last affidavit filed on 13 September 2011, had alleged there was a "criminal nexus" between Mayawati and her relatives and the disproportionate assets case against her could not be closed on the basis of conclusions arrived at by the Income Tax Department.

The agency had rejected Mayawati's stand that the DA case should come to an end after the income tax authorities had accepted her income tax assessments.

Soon after the court's order, a close aide of Mayawati and senior advocate SC Mishra said that the verdict was a fitting reply to those who had raised questions on the integrity of the BSP supremo over the years.

"The judgement of the apex court is a reply to all the defamatory remarks and comments alleging corruption and amassing of disproportionate assets by Mayawati, made by people at public meetings and through the media over the years," he said told reporters outside the court.

"We got justice after nine years," he said.

Mishra alleged that the case against Mayawati was filed by the CBI "malafidely" and under "political pressure" and that was why the agency did not withdraw the proceedings against her despite she being given a clean chit by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the Delhi High Court.

"The CBI started all the proceedings malafidely under political/governmental pressure, that why it did not withdraw the cases against Mayawati despite a clean chit to her by the Income tax Tribunal and the Delhi High Court," he said.


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