Seven things you need to know about E-filing3 min read . Updated: 22 Apr 2015, 02:20 PM IST
Edited excerpts from the Income-tax Department FAQs on e-filing returns
About four years after the government started a drive on filing of tax returns online, it is nearing the 100% mark. If you haven’t joined the bandwagon yet, find out whether it is mandatory for you and how to go about the basics before you make the leap. Edited excerpts from the Income-tax Department FAQs on e-filing returns.
What is return of income?
It is a prescribed form through which the particulars of income earned by a person in a financial year and taxes paid on the income are communicated to the Income-tax Department.
What do you need to file income-tax returns?
Under the income-tax law, different forms of returns are prescribed for different classes of taxpayers. Some of the forms for the assessment year 2014-15 (or financial year 2013-14):
ITR-1: Also known as SAHAJ, it is applicable to an individual having salary or pension income or income from one house property (not a case of brought forward loss) or income from other sources (other than lottery winnings and income from race horses).
ITR-2: It is applicable to an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) having income from any source other than “profits and gains of business or profession".
ITR-3: It is applicable to an individual or an HUF who is a partner in a firm and income chargeable to income-tax in his/its hands under the head “profits or gains of business or profession" does not include any income except the income by way of any interest, salary, bonus, commission or remuneration, due to or received by him from such firm.
ITR-4: It is applicable to an individual or an HUF carrying on a proprietary business or profession.
ITR-V: The acknowledgement of filing of return of income.
For whom is e-filing mandatory?
1. For corporate taxpayers, e-filing with digital signature is mandatory.
2. A firm or an individual or an HUF whose books of account are required to be audited under section 44AB shall furnish the return of income electronically with digital signature.
3. A resident and ordinarily resident individual/HUF having any assets (including financial interest in any entity) located outside India or a signing authority of any account located outside India shall e-file returns, with or without digital signature.
4.Taxpayers (other than covered under (1) and (2) above) having a total income of more than Rs5 lakh shall furnish e-returns, with or without digital signature.
5.Taxpayers claiming relief under section 90, 90A or 91 shall furnish the return of income electronically, with or without digital signature.
6. A person who is required to file ITR-5 shall file the same electronically with or without digital signature. However, a firm liable to get its accounts audited under section 44AB shall furnish the return electronically under digital signature.
* List not exhaustive
How does one file tax returns electronically?
The income-tax department has established an independent portal for e-filing tax returns—www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. Returns can be e-filed either with or without a digital signature. Those who e-file returns without a digital signature need to take a copy of form ITR-V, sign it and send it within a specified period (120 days) to a specified address (Income Tax Department – CPC, Post Bag No. 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bengaluru–560100, Karnataka) by ordinary or speed post.
Does the department have an e-filing helpdesk?
In case of queries on e-filing of return, the taxpayer can contact 1800 4250 0025.
What are the benefits of e-filing tax returns?
You can e-file from any place at any time, thereby saving a lot of time and effort. It is simple, easy and faster than filing returns manually.
Am I required to keep a copy of the return filed as proof and for how long?
Yes, since legal proceedings under the Income Tax Act can be initiated up to four or six years (as the case may be) prior to the current financial year, you must maintain such documents at least for this period. However, in certain cases the proceedings can be initiated even after six years, hence, it is advised to preserve the copy of return as long as possible. After introduction of the e-filing facility, it has become simpler to maintain a copy of the return of income.