Keep required documents handy
The most important thing to start with ITR filing is getting the required documents together. Documents you need would vary depending on the types of income you have. This year even the single page ITR form, i.e., ITR-1 or Sahaj, requires you to provide detailed break-up of salary and income from house property. To file ITR-1, you need Form 16, salary slips, certificate of interest paid on home loan and so on.
Switched jobs? Form 16 from previous employer is required
If you have switched jobs in the last financial year, you must have received two Form 16s this year – one from current employer and one from the previous one. Many of us can find it difficult to deal with two Form 16s as it can be confusing to figure out how much TDS has been cut in total.In case you have not received Form 16 from your previous employer, you can file your ITR without it using the salary slips from your old organisation.
Ensure TDS certificates match Form 26AS
Most employees receive salary from employers after tax is deducted. To ensure that every TDS instalment deducted from your salary is deposited against your PAN in the government’s account by your employer, you must match the amounts mentioned in your TDS certificates with those in your Form 26AS.
Form 26AS is the annual tax credit statement reflecting all the taxes deposited under your name. You can download it from the e-filing website of the income tax department.
Paying all dues before filing ITR
Before filing ITR, you must ascertain the total amount of taxes to be paid by you. Once you have correctly determined this amount, you need to subtract TDS as shown in various TDS certificates from this total and then pay the balance, if any. The balance tax payable can be paid through net banking or by visiting the bank branch and paying taxes using a physical challan.
Once you have paid your tax dues, ensure that the amount is reflecting in your Form 26AS too. However, it is to be mentioned that normally as the deadline for ITR filing nears there is a gap of several days between the date of tax payment and the date by when it starts reflecting in the Form 26AS.
On the other hand, if taxes deducted are more than your tax liability, you should receive the tax refund from the department once your filed ITR is processed.
Getting the ITR form correct
Make sure you file your tax return using the correct form applicable to you according to your income. Using the wrong one means that your return will be treated as defective. If you file ITR using the wrong form, you might receive a notice under section 139(9) from the department asking you to file your ITR again within the stipulated time.
If you fail to file a revised ITR within the given time, then it will be treated as if you never filed the ITR.
Reporting all interest incomes
As a taxpayer, it is your duty to report all the interest incomes earned by you in the previous year – in this case financial year 2017-18 – while filing ITR. Many people tend to forget mentioning the accrued interest earned on fixed deposits linked to bank lockers, recurring deposits, or interest earned on savings bank account.
Remember that interest earned from savings accounts held with a bank or post office is eligible for deduction up to Rs 10,000 under section 80TTA.
Report tax exempted income details in ITR
Income exempted from tax such as interest earned from PPF account or tax-free bonds etc. must be reported in your ITR in the ‘Exempt Income’ schedule. If you have received allowances that are partially or fully tax exempt, then you are required to report them while filing ITR.
Chetan Chandak, Head of Tax Research, H&R Block India says, “It is mandatory for you to file ITR even if your total income plus exempted incomes as specified under section 10(38) is greater than the basic exemption limit. This total income is calculated without taking into effect deductions available under section 80C to 80U.”
Verifying the ITR
The last step to complete the process of filing the ITR is verifying the uploaded return. Your tax return won’t be considered ‘Valid’ until it is verified by you. The I-T department has made the process of verifying ITR easier by offering ways to verify your return by using electronic methods which includes Aadhaar OTP, net-banking etc.
Check ITR status
Once you have filed and verified your ITR, the income tax department starts processing it. There are two ways to check your ITR status.