As July 31 - the last date for filing your income tax returns - approaches, it's time to brace yourself for the annual ritual. However, this year, you will not have the luxury of simply gathering all the relevant documents and handing them over to your tax consultant. You will have to adopt a more proactive approach this year, as all tax-payers with a taxable income of over Rs 5 lakh are now required to file their return online.
Naturally, this development could unnerve many tax-payers, particularly those who are not conversant with the computer and the Internet.
However, the process is not as cumbersome as it is assumed to be. If you are a salaried individual not liable to pay any additional taxes and are not expecting any refund from the income tax department, you can follow these simple steps to complete the process within an hour:
Step 1: Log on to www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.inand register yourself, if you haven't done so already. Your PAN will act as your user ID.
Step 2: The next step is to download the ITR form applicable to you. You will find the forms in 'Downloads' menu. This year, most tax-payers will have to download Form ITR 2 as those with tax-exempt income of over Rs 5,000 cannot file their tax return using Form Sahaj (ITR 1). In simple terms, if your salary includes components like conveyance allowance, house rent allowance (HRA), leave travel allowance, etc, which collectively exceed Rs 5,000 in a year, you will have to opt for ITR-2.
Step 3: Once you download the Return Form's excel utility, you need to enter all the details asked for by referring to the Form 16 issued by your employer.
Step 4: Now, validate the information by clicking the 'Validate' key. An XML sheet will be generated and saved on your computer.
Step 5: Upload the XML file on to the I-T e-filing website after selecting AY 2013-2014 and the applicable ITR form. You will be asked whether you wish to digitally sign the file. If you have obtained the DS (digital signature), select 'Yes'. Otherwise, choose 'No' and proceed further.
Step 6: If the process is completed as per the requirements, the site will flash a message indicating the success of your e-filing process. You can check your mailbox to ascertain whether your ITR-Verification form has been mailed to your registered e-mail ID.
Step 7: Next, get a print-out of your ITR-V, sign the form (in blue ink) and send it by ordinary post to the Income Tax Department-CPC, Post Bag No-1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore - 560 100, Karnataka within 120 days of filing your returns electronically.
Step 8: If you do not receive any acknowledgement from the I-T Department, you should send the form again. However, avoid enlisting the services of courier companies, as your form will not be accepted. Forms sent through Speed Post, though, will be accepted.