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Income-tax returns: 6 essentials to keep in mind while filing
June, 17th 2016

The due date of filing income tax return is soon approaching. Accordingly, it is very important for the tax payer to keep in mind these few essentials while filing income tax return.

The due date of filing income tax return is soon approaching. Accordingly, it is very important for the tax payer to keep in mind these few essentials while filing income tax return. (Photo: Reuters)
Income tax returns (ITR) enables the government to monitor the income of a tax payer and verify the accuracy of taxes paid by him. In an effort to mitigate tax evasion and keep track of various source of income, the government keeps revising the income tax return forms year-on-year with additional declarations to be made.

The due date of filing income tax return is soon approaching. Accordingly, it is very important for the tax payer to keep in mind these few essentials while filing income tax return.

Identify the heads under which income is taxable

Income of a taxpayer can broadly be classified under five different heads – income from salary, income from business and profession, income from capital gains, income from house property and income from other sources. Clearly identifying the head under which income will be taxable is essential for determining the tax liability. Further, identification of the heads of income is also important for determining the income tax form which is applicable to you. The I-T department has prescribed six different forms for individual depending upon the heads of income.

Declaration of assets for taxpayers earning more than Rs 50 lakhs

With Assessment Year 2016-17, individuals and HUFs having income more than Rs 50 lakhs, will be required to declare the cost of assets as at the end of the year, along with details of liabilities taken in respect of such assets i.e., loan obtained for acquiring the assets, in Schedule AL of the relevant form. Assets to be disclosed include land, building, jewellery, vehicles, yachts, boats, aircrafts. However, movable property (other than items mentioned in schedule AL) held for personal use of the taxpayer such as wearing apparel and furniture is excluded from reporting.

Reconciliation of tax credits with form 26AS

Credit of tax deducted at source (TDS) can be claimed only in the year in which corresponding income is offered to tax. Income of an individual can be offered on cash basis or accrual basis. Accordingly, there may be mismatch in the TDS claimed in the return and that appearing in Form 26AS.

For example, say a taxpayer offers income to tax on cash basis. However, his client has deducted his TDS on accrual basis. Accordingly, TDS on income which is receivable in next year is appearing in the Form 26AS of this year. In such a situation, the taxpayer should claim only so much TDS which pertain to the income of the current year in Schedule – TDS. Balance TDS is carried forwarded to the next year and can be claimed next year when corresponding income will be offered to tax.

Know the new schedules appearing in the ITR

A separate schedule PTI has been added to ITR 2, 2A, 3 & 4 wherein the taxpayer needs to report details of pass-through income received from business trusts and/or investment funds. Further, no column was provided earlier in ITR 1, 2 & 2A for claiming credit of taxes collected at source (‘TCS’). TCS is collectable by the seller in certain transactions such as purchase in cash of jewellery of Rs 5 lakh or of bullion exceeding Rs 2 lakh.

This caused difficulty to taxpayers in claiming credit of TCS. Accordingly, Schedule–TCS has been introduced and now individual tax payers can claim the credit of TCS in their return.

Documents to be maintained along with tax return

When tax returns were filed manually with the tax authorities, the income tax return used to be accompanied by other supporting documents such as the bank statements, TDS certificated, computation and notes thereto, audited balancesheet and profit and loss account, last year’s tax return etc. With electronic filing of income tax return, there is no requirement of submitting supporting documents along with the income-tax return form.

However, it is advisable to maintain the documents in case of tax scrutiny. The documents should be maintained for at least a period of six years.

Paperless filing of income tax return

With each passing year, the process of filing the income tax return forms is becoming easier. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has added two additional modes for generation of electronic verification code for eVerification of ITR’s – via bank account and via demat account. Accordingly, e-filling of income tax return has become an entirely paperless exercise and with additional modes for generation of electronic verification code there will be no need to send a signed copy of the ITR to Bangalore.

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