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.


Prakash Bhate
1 decade 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
1 decade 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.
1 decade 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.
1 decade 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.
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