It is never enough to just complete a task or your duty, it must be done correctly and in a timely manner. Filing your annual income tax return is the responsibility of every tax payer. By filing your tax return dutifully, every year, you can avoid penalties, get refunds owing and avail of an array of other benefits. However, filing your tax return isn’t as simple and the outlined Do’s and Don’ts will help you in filing your income tax return correctly to ensure speedy processing by the Income Tax Department (ITD).
DO’s Before You Submit Your Income Tax Return
- DO’s Before You Submit Your Income Tax Return
- Don’ts Before You Submit Your Income Tax Return
Choose the Right ITR Form
For salaried individuals, the forms mainly used will be ITR 1 and ITR 2. However, as per the income you receive and depending upon the conditions applicable to you for filing your returns, the right ITR form should be chosen. Once, you’ve determined the right form(s) applicable to you, half the job is done and filing becomes easier and less confusing.
Once, the right ITR form(s) is determined and filled out, it is always wise to review all the details, including calculations, making sure the numbers from your Form 16, for example, match with those declared by you on the return.
Check your Residential Status:
Residential status is most crucial while filing your tax return specially if you have any foreign sources of income or assets in your name. Calculate your residential status every year and report it correctly on your tax return.
Keep Documents Organized
Throughout the year, especially for businesses and professionals, keeping all receipts, documents organized and easily accessible will be of immense help when tax season rolls around and the time for filing tax returns arrives. Documents related to investments, receipts, other tax documents (forms) should be well-organized in a systematic fashion, so that as you make your declarations, deductions and exemptions on your tax return, these documents are readily available to be submitted with your return or if any scrutiny notice is sent.
Mention Aadhaar Number
It is now mandatory to mention your Aadhaar on your ITR. If you do not have an Aadhaar card then enroll yourself for one, before filing your ITR. Your Aadhaar enrollment number should be mentioned in the ITR, in place of the Aadhaar number, if recently applied for.
Cross Check Form 26AS
Form 26AS is a crucial document for filing your tax return, as it not only shows all the TCS and TDS already deposited with the government on your behalf, but also helps you in reporting all sources of income, for which tax has been deduced. Failure to report everything mentioned in your form 26AS can lead to notices sent by the Income Tax Department (ITD), which is a situation that can be avoided, along with any penalties that may be levied.
Report all your incomes
While your form 26AS will help you in ensuring you report other sources of income, it does not include all your income sources, which is where people run into difficulty. Ensure you report all your sources of income, that fall under the different categories under the head “Income from Other Sources”. Failure to report your total income from all sources for the year, will have you being served with a notice/penalty from the ITD.
Maintain a record of TDS and taxes paid by you
To err is human, therefore it is probable that a Deductor can make a mistake and the details reflected in your Form 26AS and the TDS deposited may be incorrect. Additionally, not all the income earned for the year would have been subject to TDS, therefore, do not treat your 26AS as an exact reference for declaring all the taxes deducted/paid for the year, especially if you have paid any advance tax or self-assessment tax. So, if you have proof to the contrary, mention these details in your return, because unless you do, you cannot claim the credit and the ITD will not acknowledge it
Your job isn’t over once you e-file your tax return. The next crucial step is signing the ITR-V and sending it to CPC Bangalore or e-verifying it, using Netbanking, EVC, etc. or any one of the other options made available by the ITD. Unless the verification is received/done within 120 days of e-filing your tax return, your return will not be processed and furthermore, any refunds owed, will be delayed.
Don’ts Before You Submit Your Income Tax Return
Get Confused Between FY vs AY
A common error with taxpayers is getting confused between Financial Year and Assessment Year, which means the details of another FY are entered for the return being filed for another FY. This can result in complications in your return and alter your tax liability. So, ensure the right details are entered for the right year in the corresponding form.
Make Mistakes in Personal Information
A mistake in the most essential details, such as those listed below, can cause delays in speedy processing and in issuance of refunds owing.
- Bank Details – Mistakes in IFSC code or bank account number can cause delays in crediting of refunds.
- Postal/Email Address – A mistake here can result in un-timely delivery of notices or refund cheques, for example.
- Mobile Number – Again, this can result in you not receiving the required communication from the ITD regarding the processing of your filed tax return or refund.
- TAN – Incorrect TAN quoted can lead to non-issuance of TDS credit resulting in taxes being owed or even a lesser refund.
So, ensure you review these details entered in your tax return to avoid unnecessary complications and delays.
Use Provisional Interest Certificate for Housing Loan
Use the final interest certificate while claiming your housing loan interest. Failure to do so can result in increasing or decreasing your claim.
Forget to Claim the Eligible Deductions and Exemptions.
While we may not enjoy paying taxes, the government gives taxpayers an array of options u/s 80 to reduce their tax liability by way of deductions. Even if you did not declare these investments/deductions to your employer, they can be declared in your ITR at the time of filing. If you fail to declare them on your ITR, then you lose your right to claim them, thereafter, nor will the ITD allow it.
Miss to Report Exempt Income.
While there are no taxes due on exempt income, it is always advisable to report even the income under the exempt category to avoid complications in return processing. Exempt income includes income from dividends, Long Term Capital Gains, etc. Reporting exempt income helps in building your credibility with the tax department.
Wait till the Last Minute
Doing things last minute always results in stress and filling details in the return in a hurried manner, thereby resulting in errors. To avoid errors, forgetting to claim deductions, etc., don’t procrastinate in the once a year task of filing your tax return. There is no reason to create undue stress in life.
Delay Beyond 31st July
Starting this year, the tax department will be collecting late filing fees of Rs 5,000 (Rs 1,000 if income is below Rs 5 lakhs), if you delay filing your return beyond the due date (31st July for most of the salaried taxpayers). This fee will further increase if filing is delayed beyond 31st December.
Keeping the mentioned points of Do’s and Don’ts while filing your income tax return, ensures your return filing process is smooth. However, to further release the burden and complication of income tax filing, you can avail income tax e-filing service providers, such as H&R Block India, so that your tax return is filed correctly and in a timely manner, ensuring all deductions are availed of.