Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal

July is the month when most of us in the tax bracket need to file income tax returns, more so in case of individual assessees and where audit is not required.

31st July is the last date for filing income tax returns by all individuals, firms, HUFs, etc. whose books of accounts are not subject to audit under any law including income tax. This generally covers all individual assessees including salaried persons, professionals etc. 

Central Government has made electronic (e-filing) of returns mandatory this year. Now, income tax returns shall have to be filed electronically if the earnings exceed Rs. 10 lakh in a financial year. Also, a resident individual or in a hindu undivided family (HUF) will have to file income tax return electronically if any of his  / its assets including financial interests in any entity is held outside India. In other cases, any individual who earns income beyond the basic exemption limit,  he / she will have to file return of income in physical form.

Electronic filing shall be mandatory for assessment year 2012-13 onwards for an individual or a Hindu undivided family, if his or its total income, or the total income in respect of which he is or it is assessable under the Act during the previous year, exceeds ten lakhs rupees and an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), being a resident, having assets (including financial interest in any entity) located outside India or signing authority in any account located outside India and required to furnish the return in Form ITR-2 or ITR-3 or ITR-4.

Electronic filing of returns was optional last year but has been made mandatory now. This will not require digital signatures of taxpayers. They can also transmit the date in the return electronically and thereafter submit the verification of the return in the form ITR – V.  E-filing of returns is easy, fast and secured method of filing income tax returns in which all hassles of physical interface with the department are avoided. Also, electronically filed returns get fast processed and tax refund is also quicker. E-filing also enables convenience of filing returns from any where in the country and avoid making mistakes The Department also provides some value added services like tracking of refunds, viewing tax credit status, e-mail and SMS alerts regarding status of processing and refunds to taxpayers who e-file their returns.. These could be filed through department’s website itself or some authorized e-return intermediaries.

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