Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal
While the tax returns could be filed in physical form as well as on line (e-return), e-filing is mandatory for those with an annual taxable total income of Rs. 5 lakh or more. It is seen that in previous year, over 2.14 crore assessees filed their income tax returns online as it is a hassle free process. It is expected that even the requirement of sending physical returns by post to central processing cell at Bangalore may also be dispensed with this year. This may help in timely validation of e-returns and paper verification could be avoided. It would also save on postal delays and costs.
Once you decide to file the tax return, a list may be prepared containing details of income earned from different sources besides Form 16 which is received from the employer. Documents relating to rental receipts, interest income, capital gains on shares etc and investment details should also be collated and kept handy. TDS details and advance tax details should not be forgotten as credit of the same must be taken. Certain allowances and deductions are not taxable or tax benefit is allowed such as for medi-claims, insurance, housing loan installments, tuition fees, eligible donations etc. Assessees should ensure full details thereof to be mentioned in return appropriately.
While return filing is one event in itself, it is not just the end of it. Once the income tax return is filed, there is a challenge of availing correct credit for the tax deducted at source (TDS). It should match with the figures with the department as reflected in TDS returns filed by the tax deductors. The amount of TDS should match with Form 26 AS. The tax department will give credit of TDS claimed only if the amount as per return match with the annual tax credit statement failing which credit may not be allowed for any unmatched entries. This can happen for any reason including non or wrong mentioning of permanent account number of deductee or for any other reason.
Since income tax refunds, if any, are now a days, directly credited to bank accounts, it is equally imperative that assessees do mention their bank account number and other details correctly failing which credit of tax refund may go for a toss and tracking it would be a night mare.
The returns we file are also subject to detailed scrutiny on a selective basis using the computer Assisted Scrutiny System. Once picked up, assessees are subjected to detailed and penetrating enquiry into various sources of income, investments, expenses etc. So it would be advisable to keep such information ready, in case of any need. Further, certain high value transaction such as buying or selling of immovable property for over Rs. 30 lakh , credit card spends over Rs. 2 lakh, investment in securities etc are also taken up for scrutiny.
Filing returns timely is not only our duty but it has a cost too. If you do not file the return timely, one is not allowed to carry forward any unabsorbed losses, returns cannot be revised and fines and penalties are imposed. So remember, filling return is a must-whether easy or cumbersome. It you have prepared all details and papers, it becomes easier and smooth. And we have enough time on our side at this moment.