Income tax return is the tax form which is used by the tax payers to file the information about the income they have earned and the tax applicable with the Income tax department. Often the taxpayers get unnecessary tax notices which further bring out unwanted stress and burden on taxpayers. This article shall focus on the red flags that mandate attention of taxpayers while filing income tax return and avoiding tax notices from department for the discrepancies made in the income tax returns.
- Selection Of Wrong ITR Forms: The taxpayers need to identify the correct income tax return form which is applicable to them based on their income source as filing a wrong income tax return form shall result in ITR being treated as defective return under section 139(9).
- Non Payment Of Additional Tax On Interest: Often taxpayer’s notion is that TDS has been deducted by bank at the rate of 10% so he/she is not required to pay tax however the view point of taxpayer is wrong because if the taxpayers falls in a higher tax slab i.e. 20% or 30% tax bracket, then he needs to pay additional tax on interest.
- Non Disclosure Of Interest Income: Taxpayers may have earned interest from National saving certificates (NSC), Bank fixed deposits, recurring deposits or savings bank accounts. Even if savings interest up to Rs 10000/- is exempt yet it needs to be reported. Taxpayers often miss out to report interest income received or accrued to them in income tax returns.
- Mismatch of Income in Form 26AS, TDS Certificates and ITR: The taxpayer may not reconcile the incomes which may cause difference between reported income and actual income.
- Relevant Mandatory Disclosures: Every assessment year ITR forms require certain mandatory disclosures. For e.g. The ITR forms for AY 20-21 aim at capturing high value transactions (cash deposit, foreign travel, electricity consumption).
- Non Reporting Of Bank Accounts: Reporting of all bank accounts in which tax payer is beneficiary or has signing authority except dormant accounts is required in income tax return.
- Non-Disclosure of Exempt Income: All the income should be accounted for while filing income tax return such as interest earned from PPF or tax free bonds ,interest from post office savings account, agricultural income etc.
- Non-Reporting Of Roll Back Of Tax Benefits: It might happen that any tax benefit claimed in previous financial years may rollback in current financial year. For e.g. If deduction is claimed under section 80C for purchase or construction of house property in earlier previous years but such house property is sold before a period of 5 years then such benefit claimed earlier need to be reversed and reported in ITR and requires payment of tax.
- Non-Verification Of ITR: This is the last step after filing income tax return which is to be done within 120 days of filing return; otherwise the return is treated as an invalid return. There are alternatives to verify ITR which are verifying the ITR electronically using Aadhaar OTP, EVC or net banking or sending the ITR-V to the CPC.
- Clubbing Of Income: Taxpayers often make certain transactions which may attract clubbing provisions. A taxpayer is required to club income of all the specific persons which relates to the investment and income of the taxpayer. For e.g. Non disclosure of investments made in the name of spouse.
- Selection of Wrong Assessment Year: Taxpayers need to have clarity about the year for which they are filing ITR. The financial year in which income is earned is previous year and the year in which tax is paid on such income earned is assessment year. In current scenario the financial year is 2019-20 and assessment year is 2020-2021.
- Schedule of Assets And Liability: The assesses (Individuals and HUF’S) whose total income exceeds Rs 50 lakhs even if are not carrying on any business or profession are required to file schedule AL disclosing assets and liabilities in the returns.
- Non-Reporting of Income from Previous Employer: If a taxpayer has changed jobs during the financial year both employers may have given the taxpayer benefits under Section 80C and other benefits. If he ignores the income from his previous employer he would have a lower tax liability and would be detected by the department by tracing the TDS deposited by the previous employer.
- Disclosure Of Agricultural Income: If such income exceeds 5 lakhs, details are required to be furnished such as place where such land is situated, PIN CODE, Acres of land and whether land is leased or owned, irrigated or rain fed.
- Joint Owner of Property/Bank Account: The details of co-owners, their respective shares should be disclosed, PAN/AADHAAR of the co-owners.
- Details of Buyer: In case of sale of immovable property and subsequent capital gains details of buyer are to given I.e. name of buyer, PAN/ AADHAAR of the buyer or buyers, PIN code.
Conclusion: Income tax return filing is a tedious process and getting tax notices can be burdensome unnecessarily lengthening an already cumbersome process. Since Income tax department has levered more on technology all the taxpayers are under continuous surveillance, taxpayers need to be extra careful to avoid tax notices.