In order to make filing tax returns easier, the government has taken two initiatives: first you don’t have to file your returns if you are a salaried individual having only salary income and earn below Rs 5 lakh; second you can ask for help online or at home. But there are conditions that you need to fulfil.
When can you skip filing returns?
If you are a salaried individual, have a taxable income—income minus deductions—less than Rs 5 lakh and have been with a single employer during entire FY12, then you need not file returns.
Also, it is important that the interest income from your savings bank account is less than Rs 10,000 and that you have reported the interest income to your employer. Other than that, you need to ensure that your employer has your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and your employer has deducted your total tax liability during the year. This you can figure out from the Form 16 that you would have got by now.
Keep in mind: But before you give filing returns a complete miss, sit with your chartered accountant or human resource official to understand what your tax liability is. The employer calculates your tax liability depending upon the investment declaration that you make in the beginning. If you understate or overstate in this declaration, there is a good chance that the employer has either paid more or less than your actual tax liability. While the employer can deduct more to meet any shortfall, it can’t refund extra payment of taxes. To claim a refund, you will need to file returns.
Should you skip filing returns?
The government had introduced this during assessment year 2012, to cut paperwork for individuals, who have income from one source and earn below a certain threshold. It is a good move but it may not be of great help, especially when you plan to take a trip abroad or are applying for a home loan, where filing income-tax return is usually a mandatory requirement.
Those of you who have to file returns this season, help is not far away. For minor troubles, you can just log on to Trpscheme.com and post your query there. Tax experts who man the website will get back to you either online or through phone within 24 hours.
You can even arrange for a home visit from one of these experts. The website was launched in FY07, when the government-trained tax return preparers, or TRPs, to help small or marginal taxpayers file their returns. So if you need to file returns as an individual or as a Hindu Undivided Family, you can either visit the website or call the TRP scheme call centre at 1800-10-23738 for further assistance. Keep in mind these TRPs cannot take more than Rs 250 from you per return. This facility is available only in a few cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow and Patna.