Since 1 April, the income tax department has been uploading the various income tax return (ITR) forms for assessment year (AY) 2017-18. And now, all of them are available online at the income-tax department’s e-filing website www.inometaxefiling.gov.in. If all your documents are in place, you can now e-file the tax returns. Also note that the number of ITR forms has been reduced to seven for this assessment year, compared to nine forms in the previous one. Now let’s read more about e-filing taxes.
Almost everybody has to e-file the tax return
All income tax assessees can file their returns online, however there are exemption for very senior citizens (individual above 80 years, at any time during the previous year) or an individual or Hindu undivided family (HUF) having income of less than Rs5 lakh and who have not claimed any refund in the return of income, can also file their returns in physical forms. Rest all are compulsory required to e-file their ITRs.
Rationalised ITR Forms
In order to simplify the filing of taxes, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has made some amendments in the ITR forms. For the current assessment year, the numbers of forms have been reduced to seven, from nine, because in place of three ITR forms—ITR-2, ITR-2A and ITR-3—a single ITR-2 has been notified. Consequently, ITR-4 has been renumbered as ITR-3 and ITR-4S (Sugam) as ITR-4 (Sugam).
Further, some more changes have also been made in the design and format of the notified forms for the current assessment year.
For instance, a one-page simplified ITR Form-1 (Sahaj) can be used to file returns by individuals having income of up to Rs50 lakh a year and who are receiving income from salary and one house property or ‘other income’. According to CBDT, “Various parts of ITR Form-1 (Sahaj) viz. parts relating to tax computation and deductions have been rationalized and simplified for easy compliance. This will reduce the compliance burden to a significant extent on the individual taxpayer. This initiative will benefit more than 2 crore taxpayers who will be eligible to file their return of income in this simplified form.”
The ways of E-filing your tax return
There are no changes in the e-filing process of returns for the current year. There are two ways you can file the ITR. One is mostly online but partially offline, and the other is fully online. In the partially offline process, you need to download the relevant ITR form—which is in the form of an XML file—and save it to your computer. If you want, you can go offline while you fill it. After you fill and save the form, you need to submit it by going online again. To do this you will need a user ID and password to login to the income-tax filing website. If you don’t already have a user ID, you can generate it on the same website using your Permanent Account Number (PAN).
After you login, select the relevant form from the left panel and click ‘Submit Return’. Browse to select the XML file that you had filled and saved on your computer, and ‘Upload’ it. After you upload the file, acknowledgement details would be displayed on your screen. In the fully online process, you don’t have to download any form. You fill it online, and submit it online, after you login to the e-filing website with your user ID and password.
The due date
The due date for filing ITRs for AY2017-18 is 31 July 2017. However, in case you file it after 1 July, remember that you will have to quote your Aadhaar number or the enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form. This was mandated by the finance minister in the Finance Act, 2017, although this move has been challenged in the Supreme Court.