Well, the scenario I am going to elucidate is not something new or unheard off, however, there are few cautions which are often ignored thereby resulting into complications being faced by Salaried Assessees.
Quite some number of times it so happens with people working in Corporates that a Professional would visit them, take their respective Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) certificate Form 16, file their Income Tax Return for a mere amount and then when a scrutiny or a demand notice comes then this very Professional is mostly not traceable with respect to the same.
To clarify, I would say that there is an issue at both the ends because as far as Assessee is concerned he/she wants to get his/her Income Tax Returns filed with minimum effort and expense and are not mostly concerned about the accuracy of the same, however, as far as Professionals are concerned they too, in order to get clients, facilitate them in away which might someday go against the clients.
Thus, Assessees and Professionals need to take care of certain simple things in order to make filing of Income Tax Return and post Return filing scenario a smooth walk.
- Should understand that its not only Form 16 (Certificate of TDS on Salary) which is required to prepare and file an Income Tax Return because it may be that Assessee has invested in Fixed deposits or has various other sources of Income thus, Income from all sources is required to be shown in the Income Tax Return and Income Tax commensurate to the same should be paid before filing the Return.
- In order to get benefits for the respective deductions and exemptions provided under the Income Tax Act, 1961, the Assessee should maintain a proper record of all the investments/insurances bought during the year, all the payments with respect to rent, donation, School tuition fees for children etc. Example: Life insurance premium payment receipts, Mediclaim premium payment receipts, Donations receipts with respect to Donations extended to registered bodies, Provident fund contributions etc.
- Assessees should download Form 26AS from www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in in order to ascertain the TDS deducted with respect to Salary, interest etc. as Form 26AS gives a snapshot of Assessees income during the year on which TDS has been deducted. Plus Form 26AS also gives you the information on Advance Tax paid by you, if any, during the year. It also, among other things, gives you the information with respect to the status of Refunds claimed in prior years by the Assessee in his/her Income Tax Return.
- Assessee should co-operate with the Professional by providing complete Bank statements and other documents per the requirement, in order to enable the Professional to prepare and file correct Returns. Just like you provide complete information to the Doctor so that the Doctor can help you in a proper and informed way.
- Assessees must peruse the Return before filing in order to make sure that all their Incomes, investments, deductions etc. have been incorporated in the Income Tax return.
- Lastly, compensate the Professional reasonably in order to make sure that the Professional takes due care with respect to preparation and filing of your respective Income Tax return and is responsive in case if Assessee receives any correspondence from Income Tax department. Always remember that a happy Professional leads to a happier client.
- Must Educate clients with dos and donts regarding Income Tax returns.
- Should not try to lure Assessees by charging minimalistic fees and providing coarse quality service.
- Apprise Assessees of the repurcussions of non-compliance with the Return filing norms and improper disclosures.
- Should act responsibly in case if Assessee receives a correspondence from the Income Tax department which he/she is unable to comprehend or reply to.
- Must maintain a proper record of the Income Tax returns filed on behalf of Assessees including the documents provided by the Assessees for preparation and filing of Income Tax returns.
- Keep track of the Intimations under Section 143(1) of the Income Tax Act with respect to the Income Tax returns filed by him/her and notify the Assessee and take the corrective action in case of any issue.
Thus, the aforementioned cautions and actions are small steps which, if taken timely, can make life easier and spare ones self of unnecessary hassle of Income Tax scrutiny and departmental clarifications because a stitch in time saves nine. Always remember that preparation and filing of inaccurate Income Tax returns in an attempt to save some money and time might lead to non-compliance and consequently wastage of a lot of time and money.
Please file your Income Tax Returns accurately and timely !!!
(Author Details- CA Sahil Jolly – Jolly & Co. Chartered Accountants, Contact: +91-9999830077, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org)
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