In recent years, filing your income tax return (ITR) online has become increasingly convenient and popular. The process has been simplified and streamlined to make filing taxes accurately and efficiently simpler for individuals. This post provides a comprehensive analysis of how to file your income tax return online, the eligibility criteria and the consequences of failing to file an ITR.
What is an Income Tax Return?
An income tax return (ITR) is a document or form filed by individuals, businesses, or other entities to report their income, deductions, and taxes payable to the tax authorities. It serves as a declaration of the taxpayer’s income earned during a specific financial year and provides details of various sources of income, deductions claimed, and tax liability.
An ITR form includes sections in which taxpayers provide information regarding their income from various sources, including salary, business or professional income, capital gains, rental income, and interest income. The purpose of filing an income tax return is to ensure compliance with a country’s tax laws and regulations and to facilitate the calculation and payment of taxes.
Process of Filing Income Tax Return Online in 2023
Step 1: Gather your documents
Gather all necessary documents and information prior to filing your ITR online. This may include your PAN (Permanent Account Number), Aadhaar number, bank statements, Form 16 (provided by your employer), Form 26AS (tax credit statement), and information regarding any investments, loans, or other sources of income.
Step 2: Select the appropriate ITR form
This step is to select the appropriate ITR form for your income type. The Income Tax Department provides various forms for various categories of taxpayers, including ITR-1 for salaried individuals, ITR-2 for individuals with income from multiple sources, ITR-3 for self-employed individuals, etc. Choose the form that corresponds to your income and financial situation.
Step 3: Access the online filing system
Visit the Income Tax Department’s official e-filing website (https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/). Log in with your credentials if you are a returning user and register if you are a new user.
Step 4: Select the evaluation year
Select the tax year for which you are filing the ITR on the portal. The assessment year for the fiscal year 2022-2023 would be 2023-2024.
Step 5: Fill in your personal details
Enter your name, PAN, Aadhaar number, date of birth, contact information, and residential address. Ensure that the information is correct and corresponds to the information on your PAN card and Aadhaar card.
Step 6: Choose the appropriate filing type
Select the appropriate filing category, whether you are submitting an original or revised return. The majority of taxpayers will file an original return unless they need to amend a previously filed return.
Step 7: Complete the revenue information
Enter the pertinent income information based on the ITR form you’ve selected. Provide accurate details regarding your salary, other sources of income, deductions, exemptions, and any tax credits for which you may qualify. Ensure accuracy by referring to your Form 16 and other supporting documents.
Step 8: Calculate the tax payable
After entering all income details, the portal will automatically compute the tax owed or refund owed based on the applicable tax rates and deductions. Check the calculated figures for accuracy.
Step 9: Pay any tax due
If you have a tax liability after deductions and credits, pay the tax using the portal’s online payment options. The portal offers multiple payment options, including net banking, debit card, and credit card. Make the payment and make a note of the transaction details for future use.
Step 10: Verify your return
After completing the preceding steps, verify your return by reviewing all the information inputted and confirming the details. Once you have confirmed the accuracy of your ITR, transmit it. Within a specified timeframe, the portal will prompt you to select one of the available verification methods, such as Aadhaar OTP, net banking, or forwarding a signed physical copy to the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC).
Step 11: Generate and save the acknowledgement
The portal will generate an acknowledgement form after your ITR has been successfully submitted and validated. Save and download this form, as the acknowledgement includes crucial details such as your ITR-V (verification) number and the submission date.
Step 12: Complete the verification process
If you opted for e-verification using Aadhaar OTP or Internet banking, the procedure is complete when you receive the successful verification message. If you physically authenticate the return by sending a signed copy to the CPC, you must do so within the allotted time frame (typically 120 days).
Who is Eligible to File Income Tax Return?
Any individual or entity whose total income exceeds the department’s basic exemption limit must submit an income tax return (ITR). Here are some key categories of individuals who must typically submit a tax return:
1. Resident individuals are ordinarily required to file an ITR if their total income before deductions exceeds the basic exemption limit, regardless of age. In India, individuals with a total income of up to Rs 50 lakh can file an ITR.
2. Non-resident individuals are required to file an ITR if they have earned any income in India or if they satisfy any of the other conditions outlined in the Income Tax Act.
3. Senior citizens (individuals aged 60 or older) and super senior citizens (individuals aged 80 or older) enjoy higher exemption limits than regular individuals. However, if their income exceeds the thresholds, they must file an ITR.
4. Individuals engaged in business or self-employment activities, including independent contractors and professionals, must file an ITR regardless of their income level.
What Happens if You Fail to File an ITR?
Depending on the tax laws and regulations of the country, missing the deadline for filing a federal income tax return (ITR) can have various repercussions.
1. Penalties & Interest Charges: One of the most common consequences of failing to file an ITR by the deadline is the tax authorities’ imposition of penalties and interest charges.
2. Refunds Lost: Failing to submit ITR results in the loss of any eligible tax refunds. If you have overpaid tax through sources such as TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) or advance tax, you must file an ITR to claim a refund.
3. Limited access to financial services: Non-compliance with tax filing requirements may limit your access to financial services. Some financial institutions may require income tax returns as evidence of income and financial stability for purposes such as loan applications, credit assessments, and investment opportunities.
Paying your taxes on time and filing returns without a miss is always advisable. You can also visit the Income Tax Department’s official website for accurate and up-to-date information on the eligibility requirements for filing income tax returns.
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