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DIY guide to file your ITR
July, 16th 2019

With just 15 days left before the deadline for filing income tax return (ITR) for assessment year (AY) 2019-20 expires, you must gather all the related information and documents, especially if you are filing it yourself.

The last date of filing your return may get extended this year since the deadline for employers to issue Form 16 was extended to 10 July this year from 15 June previously. Form 16 is a certificate issued by the employer broadly mentioning income earned by the employee during the year, total tax deducted at source (TDS), besides exemption and deductions claimed during the year. But it’s better to stick to the original deadline of 31 July unless an announcement is made and to avoid last-minute rush.

We tell you how to do it yourself and which form to choose when filing your ITR.

How to file?

You have the option of getting your ITR filed through intermediaries such as e-filing portals and apps, chartered accountants, tax return preparers (TRPs) appointed by the income tax department.

If you are filing it on your own, most of you would need to file it online on the income tax department’s website Incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. Only very senior citizens, who are 80 years and above, are allowed to file ITR manually; they can get the relevant form from the income tax office or download it from the department’s website, fill it and submit it at the applicable jurisdictional income-tax office.

You can e-file your ITR online either partially or completely. For partial e-filing, you need to download the relevant ITR form and save it on your desktop, fill the required data, upload it through your account and then submit it online. Under the fully online process, you need to select the ITR form applicable to you and fill in the required details online. Once you have filled all the information, submit the form.

In both cases, you will get an acknowledgement on successful submission. To complete the process, you can either e-verify the return or send a signed copy by post to the department’s central processing unit. But before you file your ITR, you must know which form is applicable to you.

How to choose a form?

There are seven ITR forms available to file returns, out of which only four are applicable to individuals, including Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), based on sources and levels of income. Remember that if you file the return in the wrong ITR form, the tax department may consider it invalid. So take utmost care while choosing an ITR form. However, “if the person has filed the wrong ITR form then he or she can revise the return under Section 139(5) of the Income-tax Act, 1961," said Ankit Agarwal, managing director, Alankit Ltd, an e-filing intermediary.

ITR-1 is meant for assessees whose primary source of income is salary. It can also be used if there is income from one house property, provided there is no brought-forward loss or loss to be carried forward. Those with income from other sources—other than income from lottery, horse races, or unexplained income and so on—can also use the ITR-1 form. However, you can use ITR-1 only if your total income from all the above sources does not exceed ?50 lakh.

ITR-2 can be used by an individual not having an income from a business or profession. It can be used by an individual having income from capital gains, more than one house property, income from other sources and so on. “Significant changes have been brought in the new form ITR-2 which is likely to impact a wide section of taxpayers," said Vikas Vasal, partner and national leader, tax, Grant Thornton India LLP, a chartered accountancy firm.

Now, you need to make some additional disclosures in ITR-2. These include details related to residential status such as the number of days spent in India. NRIs are required to mention their country of residence, along with their taxpayer identification number in such jurisdiction. Besides, various amendments were made in ITR-2 to identify shell companies, investors in unlisted companies, foreign assets, and so on, said Vasal.

ITR-3 can be used by individual businessman and professionals. This year, additional disclosure norms have been made in ITR-3. “It pertains to details of partnership firms in which the individual taxpayer was a partner during the year and details of audit under any other statutory law. The form also seeks details of annual value of outward supplies as per the GST return filed," said Vasal.

ITR-4 can be used by resident individuals and firms, who choose to file their return under the Presumptive Taxation Scheme (PTS), and have total income up to ?50 lakh. PTS allows you to calculate your tax on an estimated income or profit. The scheme can be used by businesses having a total turnover of less than ?2 crore and eligible professionals with gross receipts of less than ?50 lakh in a financial year. Those who opt for PTS are not required to maintain books of accounts.

To make the process of tax filing easier, the tax department has introduced pre-filled ITR forms. The department was already providing pre-filled ITR-1 and ITR-4 forms if you were filing ITR completely online for the current assessment year. On 11 July, the department added ITR-2 and ITR-3 to the list of pre-filled forms, and also made all four forms (ITR-1-4) available for download as XML files, which are required for partial e-filing. The pre-filled forms contain details of income and taxes paid by assessees during the year.

But while using pre-filled forms, “assessees should carefully check the pre-filled data and should do alterations wherever required," said Agarwal. If you forgot to disclose any income or claim any deduction earlier, you can do so while filing ITR.

It is prudent to file ITR on time to keep the taxman at bay as well as for your own benefit. Remember that you need a copy of ITR when applying for a loan or Visa.

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