HYDERABAD: Planning to file Income Tax (I-T) returns? It’s time you ditch your tax agent to do the needful.
Encouraging individuals to self-file I-T returns, the department of I-T, has recently notified fresh ITR forms that are reduced to just 3 pages from the earlier 14.
And when you do file your returns, be it online or in physical format, do not forget to send a copy of the signed acknowledgement form to the tax department’s Bangalore office. Failing to do so will not only make your filed I-T returns invalid, but also will make you liable for a penalty. “The simplified I-T returns are a way to encourage individuals to exercise their right to file income taxes. With online filing, the turnaround time for refunds is reduced to 30-45 days from the earlier 3-4 months or more,” said Vishvajit Sonagara, founder, Quicko.com, a government registered intermediary facilitating e-filing of I-T returns.
There are over 300 registered intermediaries across the country, who are authorised to assist individuals in I-T filings. Of this, only 15 service providers can facilitate e-filing of returns.
“The simplified forms allow individuals, with regular salary income, to file returns in just about 15-20 minutes unlike those with capital gains income from sale of shares etc,” said Amol Mishra, Head of Tax, myITreturn.com.
e-Filing is mandatory for taxpayers with an income of over Rs 5 lakh a year and the last date this year has been set to August, 31 as oppposed to the regular July 31 deadline. Tax filing experts say, even if you miss filing your returns by August, 31, you can still file them anytime before March 2016. “If you have no tax liability, then there will be zero penalty. But if you have to pay tax, late filing will attract 1 per cent interest on the total tax amount every month,” Mishra explained adding, “If you file before the due date, you can retrieve your e-file form any number of times for corrections. But this facility will not be available if you miss the deadline.”
Besides, having user-friendly software platform to faciliate I-T filings, portals like myITreturn, Quicko, also offer tax expert assistance for clarifications if any. “To equip customers, we provide information in charts depicting the customer’s income, expenditure and tax breaks and exemptions he got on aspects like home loan etc,” said Vishvajit adding, “Over 3.25 crore have filed returns online last year and this year, it is expected to touch 4.5 crore. About 7 crore will be filing online by 2016, when e-filing will be made mandatory for all.”
Salaried individuals and those who do not have business/professional income are required to file income tax returns in either ITR-1 or ITR-2.
The fresh ITR forms asks for all active bank account numbers -- not the outstanding balance -- and although the forms come in 14 pages, an ordinary tax payer is required to fill just the initial 2-3 pages and the remaining pages seeking greater details were meant for those coming under the high income bracket.
Soon after filing the return, the I-T department via an email, sends an acknowledgement. If you have a digital signature, you can sign and send it online. Otherwise, one has to sign and send the physical copy to Bangalore, failing which the I-T return will be considered invalid and can attract a penalty. “Tax filers also have to respond to department’s queries or clarifications if any, which also come via email. Not doing so too can attract penalty,” said Mishra.