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14 Steps To File Your Tax Returns

Putting off filing tax returns to the last minute is not a good idea. Here is a guide to help you through the process

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If you still haven't filed the returns, here are 14 steps that would hand-hold you file your Income Tax Returns for the Assessment Year 2016-17.

If you have earned more than Rs 5 lakh during the Financial Year 2015-16, or are seeking a refund, you need to compulsorily file tax returns online. Others, especially super senior citizens have the option of filing returns manually.

E-filing is fairly easy. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you file returns through the Income Tax Department facility at

Step 1: You can log-in using your PAN number and Date of Birth apart from the CAPTCHA Code. Once you key in your mobile number you would be asked to verify using a password sent to the mobile number.

Step 2: Once you log-in the first place to head to before filing returns should be to third option on the left hand bar "View Form 26AS", which would tell you about the taxes deducted and paid to the government. If someone has deducted taxes and it is not reflected in your Form 26AS, then you will have to find out why before you file returns.

Step 3: To file returns you can either use "Quick e-File ITR" option (1st button on the left hand bar) or select the "E-file" button, which is third on the top panel and choose Prepare and Submit Online ITR.

Once you select the form and the assessment year (a year succeeding the financial year in which income is earned) there are three sections to be filled - Personal Details, Income Details, Tax Details, Taxes Paid and Verification, 80 G details and Schedule AL (if applicable)

Personal Details
Step 4: Read the instructions before filing the return form. Instead of keying in your personal details, select pre-filing from previous returns or PAN Database. All grey boxes are not editable or pre-filled. Don't press the backspace button while filing the return form and you would be logged out.

Ensure you fill correct details of mobile number and email address as all communication is sent to these and not via letters like in the past.

Step 5: You will have to select the Employer Type among - Government, PSU, Other and Not applicable. Next to it select the tax status - whether tax payable, tax refundable or nil tax balance. Indicate your residential status and select the relevant Sections for type of return. If filing before due date then write: 139 (1).

If after the deadline then write 139 (4) and if filing under notice mention the notice under Section 142(1), 148, 153A, 153C or 119(2)b. Key in the AADHAR No. and proceed to file income details.

Income Details
Step 6: You have to first mention the Salary and Pension (if any). Those owning house property and loss to declare need to select whether they have income from one or multiple house property. Choose whether it is let out or self-occupied. A second house whether let out or not would be considered to give notional rental income.

Next, mention the other income earned during the year such as rent, commission, dividend, interest, profits on selling investments or securities or agricultural income. You need to fill the TDS2 details with respect to the other income.

Step 7: Once the income is defined, you need to provide details of deductions on investments, expenses etc. So fill in the insurance premium, tax-saving mutual fund, NPS, PPF investment details in the relevant section and also expenses such as tuition fee, education loan, expenses on disabled or taking care of dependent with specified diseases.

Note that you can also mention deductions and investment details even if you haven't informed your employer as long as it was made before March 31, 2016. Also, those earning below Rs 5 lakh can claim a rebate of Rs 5,000 under Section 87A (2nd column in tax computation).

Step 8: Once you make a note of income and deductions you would be thrown up details of balance tax payable along with interest and surcharge. If there is no tax payable you would have either "0" mentioned or a refund.

If there is tax payable, you can go to website and pay your tax online, by selecting Challan 280 for self-assessment tax.

Tax Details
Step 9: Apart from the self-assessment tax, you would have details of other tax deducted by employer, bank etc. The TAN number of the employer and the income and tax details need to be filled in Schedule TDS 1, while those deducted by others such as banks, etc. need to be mentioned in Schedule TDS 2. Usually details reflected in your Form26AS are pre-filled and you need to just verify. You would need Unique TDS Certificate Number, the year in which it was deducted.

Taxes Paid and Verification

Step 10: Here you need to give a round-up of all the taxes paid - whether by way of advance tax, through TDS or paid on your own. You also need to mention exempt income such as dividend below Rs 10 lakh, savings bank interest below Rs 10,000, agricultural income etc.

Step 11: Fill in the number of active bank accounts you hold in the next column. You have to five the details such as IFS Code, Account Number, Bank Name and account type. Ensure the details are correct as refunds are now directly credited to accounts.
Immediately after you have to fill your name, father's name and place for declaration of submitting correct details in returns.

Step 12: Under 80 G one has to mention donations that qualify for 100% separate from those qualifying for 50%. You need to provide details such as Name of Donee, Address of the organization, City, State, Pincode, PAN of the organization, Amount paid and amount eligible.

Step 13: Those having an income higher than 50 lakh need to fill Schedule AL, with details of LAND, Building, Cash in Hand, Jewellery, Bullion, Vehicles, Yatchs, boats and aircrafts and any liability in relation to them.

Step 14: Once you submit the return, you would be immediately given options such as
"I already have EVC to e-verify my return," "I don't have an EVC and I would like to Generate EVC to e-verify my return," "I would like to generate Aadhar OTP to e-verify my return," "I would like to send ITR V/ I would like to e-verify later."

To generate EVC you can select options such as Generate through Netbanking, Generate through Demat Account or Send EVC to your registered email and mobile number. These EVEC are valid for 72 hours, unlike the AADHAR based OTP, which is valid only for 10 minutes.

If you are unable to verify using these options, you can take a print of the Acknowledgement (ITR V), sign and send without folding via Post to "CPC - Bangalore, Post Bag No.1, Electronic City Post Office, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560100" within 120 days of filing tax returns.

Happy Filing!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Vaibhav Sankla

Vaibhav Sankla is the Director of Strategy and Business Development at H&R Block India. He has more than 15 years’ experience in taxation and accounting

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