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All you need to know about filing online tax returns
June, 22nd 2012

Filing tax returns online is the way to go this financial year. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a notification in March, which has made it mandatory for individuals earning an annual income in excess of Rs 10 lakh to file their returns online from this current financial year.

Tax payers have an option to file their tax return through incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, tax portal run by the Income Tax Department and the charges are nil. There are also several private players who charge anywhere between Rs 180 to Rs 1500 for filing returns online.

However, cost, should not be the only factor in determining the portal to be used for online tax filing. Given the personal financial details, which you enter in such online tax portals, you have to ensure the tax portal is safe and recognized. Here are few things you need to look into while filing your online tax returns.

Is the website trustworthy?

If you are using the website incometaxindiaefiling.gov.into file tax returns, there is no need to do a background check. It is the official online portal, backed by the Income Tax Department of India. However, crowded server and personalised services may force you to look at private tax portals to file your tax returns online.

"Among private portals, if it is backed by a strong corporate, it adds to the portal's credentials. Second, the portal should be a licensed e-Return Intermediary (ERI), which is duly authorised by the income tax department. You will have access to this information on the website," says Saakar S Yadav, Managing Director, myitreturn.com, a tax portal.

How secure is the transaction?

Ensure that the website you have registered with is a secure site.

Whenever you have to submit some sensitive information online, you have to check if the site uses encryption to protect your personal data.

The URL in the address bar should start with 'https://' and not just 'http://'.

Avoid clicking on links

"With the nearing of tax filing deadline, there are a number of fraudulent emails that feature a link to the Income tax office website. These should be carefully evaluated as it may be intended to steal your sensitive personal information like credit card details / bank details," says Vineet Agarwal, Director, KPMG.

Ideally a tax payer should type the web address of the portal on the URL rather than clicking on a link that comes via an email forward.

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