Filing your tax returns is now simply a click online

Express Money
The Income Tax Department has overhauled the filing of tax returns by introducing e-filing, which has simplified matters to a significant extent. It also involves relatively less effort and is also efficient. Today, the online facility enables the assessee to file returns, pay taxes, view tax credit, track the processing status and also get refunds credited directly to the bank account. It is all automatic.

There are still apprehensions about e-filing of tax returns and the aim of this article is to dispel them. Let us visit the process and get acquainted with the online services that the Income Tax Department offers.

E-Filing

E-filing or online filing of returns can be done 247 from anywhere. You just need access to the internet. There is no need to visit the Income Tax office or contact a Chartered Accountant. The whole process does not take more than 20 minutes. If you are worried about security, there is no need to fear for the return you file online is encrypted and transmitted over a secure connection. Your details remain confidential. Also, electronically filed returns are less prone to errors than paper returns. Further, you also get an electronic proof of filing called the ITR-V form.

There are three ways to file the return electronically:

Option1: Filing using a digital signature. In this case no need to submit the ITR-V form to the department.

Option2: Filing without a digital signature. in this case the ITR-V form has printed and sent to the department

Option3: Filing through an e-return intermediary. In this case the intermediary will do e-filing on your behalf

E-filing Process

Option 1: File your return through the Income Tax website:

You have to log on to https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

Once logged in, you have to download the return preparation software for the appropriate return form. After downloading, you can go offline and fill the returns as per the particulars asked on the form. Once all the details have been entered correctly, you just need to click the button at the end and generate an XML file, and save it.

Now log on to the same site and select the "Submit Return" option. You will have to upload the XML file that you just generated. Click 'Browse' to select the XML file from the location where it has been saved and click 'Upload'.

Once the file is uploaded successfully, the acknowledgement details would be displayed. This is called the ITR-V form. You will need to print this and post it to the Income Tax Department at the address mentioned. In case your return is digitally signed, there is no need to post the ITR-V and the print out can be filed for your records. The whole process is free of charge.

Once you do the e-filing, the online system will keep you updated about the status. You will come to know if the ITR-V has been received or not, whether there is any error, if the return has been processed, refund status etc. You don't need to run from pillar to post anymore.

Option 2: Filing online through an intermediary.

There are several intermediaries who assist with e-filing of tax returns. The advantage is that in addition to being user friendly, these intermediaries also offer real time assistance and advice. These are of course, value added services and some of them are offered free.

When you file the return online, your returns are processed faster and your refund comes much faster. You can opt for online transfer for the refund amount to your bank account or cheque delivery. In case of the first option, the refund amount will be credited directly to your bank account. The I-T department will intimate you about the amount through email via notice under section143.

Other services

Form 26AS: Whether you are a salaried employee, or tax on your income is deducted at source by say banks, it is deposited with the I-T department. There is a penalty if the tax is not deposited on time. Now you can see all the taxes deposited on your behalf at the I-T Department website.

How to View Form 26AS?

Option 1: Register for viewing Form 26AS at the I-T website.

Log on to https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/. Registration is immediate, free and there is no obligation to file electronically.

After logging, in click on "My Account" tab. There will be an option "View Your Tax Credit Statement" (Form 26AS). It will take you to a page where you will need to verify your date of birth. You will then be asked for permission to be redirected to the NSDL site. After you hit the confirm button, you will be redirected to the NSDL site and to the page which has your Form 26AS.

You can select the assessment year in the top right corner for which you want to see the details. Please remember that Assessment year is 1 year ahead of the financial year. For example for FY 2010 - 11 the assessment year is 2011 -12

Option 2: Through net banking facility of 19 authorised banks. Login to your netbanking account and check if this facility is provided.

Option 3:You can also register with NSDL to avail this facility.

Online Payment of taxes:

In case enough tax has not been deducted on your behalf, you are liable to pay the penalty. You can now pay the tax online in a few minutes using net banking facility. The to follow is: https://onlineservices.tin.nsdl.com/etaxnew/Index.html

Rectification

If you think that the tax department has committed an error in its assessment, you can file for rectification online and they will reconsider it. You don't need an expensive Chartered Accountant or a Tax consultant to do it for you.

These are some of the services the I-T Department has made available online and one can save a lot of hassles by making use of them.

Author is Head, Marketing at Taxyogi.com

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