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How to correctly file your personal Income tax returns in India

Income tax return India salaried non resident

As you must be aware, 31st of July is the last date for filing of Income Tax returns for Salaried individuals, both resident and non-resident, and for individuals who are partners in firms which have recorded turnover of less than Rs 1 Crore in the past financial year.  Every year we inundated with queries and concerns from residents and Non residents alike with respect to such returns. We have therefore compiled a handy to do list, which we hope will be be of good use to you, the taxpayer.

As long as you follow the steps given below, there is no reason why paying tax on income should be taxing on the state of your mind, Here’s to achieving Income tax return Nirvana!

 1.      First Determine if you really need to file returns?

To make life easier for small tax payers, the government has provided a blanket exemption from filing of such returns to salaried individuals whose total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakhs , this is under the condition that such individuals should not have earned more than Rs 10,000 as interest from saving deposits and should satisfy other conditions in this respect as laid down by the government of India.


2.      Choose the correct form for filing of returns :

The income tax department has notified several different forms for different categories of assessees. It has to be remembered that assessees whose income exceeds Rs 10 lakhs can now only file returns online and through no other medium.  The various forms to be used and the types of assessees who should use them are :


Form Type 
ITR1 (Sahaj)
 To be used by individuals whose income consists solely of income derived from salary/pension or income from one house property (excluding where loss brought forward from previous year) or income from other sources (excluding winnings from lottery and income from horse races) This includes expatriates and non-residents deriving income from India
To be used by individuals and HUF whose total income consists of any other income sources in addition to the ones for ITR1 other than profits and gains from business and profession.
To be used by Individuals and HUFs who are partners in any firm and whose total income consists of income chargeable to tax under the head profits and gains from business and professions but does not include any interest, salary, bonus , commission or any other remuneration from the said firm
To be used by an individual or an HUF carrying out business in the form of a proprietorship concern  and not taking advantage of the presumptive taxation scheme. Further, firms also use the same form for tax filing.
ITR4s (Sugam)
For assessees carrying taking advantage of the presumptive taxation scheme.

In case you are filing your returns yourself, make sure to download the latest and the correct copy of the form from the income tax website.


3.      Quote correct PAN

Given how complicated the PAN number seems to be, it is easy to enter wrong PAN at the time of return filing. Given that it is your tax identity, it is important to check and double check the PAN as entered by you before you file your returns so you know you are not missing out on an important statutory compliance due a silly typo!

If you do not have your PAN card/number handy or have lost it, you can still confirm your PAN online at the income tax website.


 4.   Check Tax credit statement (26AS)

As per the income tax act, income tax department needs to issue a consolidated statement of TDS to all assessees . This statement is called Form 26AS and can be viewed online on the website of the income tax department. This statement includes details of :

•             Tax deducted at source(TDS),

•             Tax collected at source (TCS),

•             Details of Advance tax/ self assessment tax/ regular assessment tax etc. if deposited by an Income tax payer who has been allotted a PAN, and;

•             Details of refunds issued (if any)

Downloading the statement helps you determine the incomes credited towards your PAN and therefore find the exact amount of tax payable and tax credit available to you.


5.      Verify Bank Details

Under the new system of processing, refunds up to Rs 25,000 are directly credited into your bank account by the Income tax department. Correct bank details ensure that your refund is deposited only in your account and no one else’s. It is, therefore, important to check that the following details are correctly filled by you or your tax adviser :

•             Bank Account number

•             BSR code

•             MICR code


6.      Disclose income other than Salaries, if any

It is often observed that salaried tax payers often miss including income earned by them from sources other than salaries as part of their tax return, this head of income includes :

•             Interest on Savings deposits

•             Earnings from Mutual funds

•             Capital gains

•             Any business income received etc.

•             If TDS has been deducted and duly deposited by the payer then such incomes should also reflect in the 26AS and can be offered for tax as part of the returns


7.      Manadatory disclosure of foreign assets and earnings

Under the Income tax act, 1961  global  incomes earned by individuals who are ordinarily tax residents of India are taxable in India. Further Tax payers now also have to disclose any assets held by them abroad and disclose details of any bank account etc. where the individual has signing authority.


8.      Do not forget to claim deduction for tax saving investments

Make it a point to check and double-check all your investments and see which ones are eligible for deductions under section 80C, 80D, 80G etc. You should claim all eligible deduction and fill the relevant information columns in the forms to ensure that you do get credit for your investments at the time of processing of returns.


9.       Ensure timely filing of your return!

A stitch in time saves nine, it is always Income tax return filing should be done within the prescribed due date to avoid interest & penalty. Moreover, timely filing of return ensures faster processing of ITR and quick refunds if any. [Also refer to point 11 below]


10.  Do not forget to disclose exempt incomes

Exempt income should be disclosed in income tax return even though no tax is required to be paid on the same. Such exempt incomes include incomes earned in the form of  dividends, PPF Interest etc.


11.   Returns of loss may need to be filed too!

If you are claiming a loss in your annual returns, it becomes all the more important that you file your returns and in time! Losses are not allowed to be carried forward and set off against income of subsequent years if no tax returns are filed in the year in which such loss arose or if returns were filed on a delayed basis.


12.   Ensure timely signing and shipping of ITR acknowledgement

Phew, you have uploaded your return and are patting your back on a job well done?

Not so soon! You need to print that acknowledgement and send it for processing to the Central Processing Center (CPC) of the income tax department at Bangalore within a span of 120 days from filing. Failing which, the return would be considered invalid.


13.   Always maintained and retain documentary proof

Do not forget to print another copy of the documents used to compile your tax return ( Form 16, 26AS, expense proof etc.) and the acknowledgment of your return and save it for future reference. Never know when the taxman cometh!

We hope this was useful, now that the crunch time is here. Good luck and God speed!

In case you do need help, do not hesitate to contact us


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