The deadline of filing returns, July 31, is round the corner, so you better rush. While most delegate the task to consultants and agents, increasingly people are doing it themselves through e-filing. The total number of e-filing in assessment year (AY) 2010-2011 was 9.2 million, about 25% of the estimated total taxpayers’ base of 36 million. In the retail category, about three million e-filed last AY. A large chunk of this was done through the income-tax (I-T) department site and many were done by chartered accountants on behalf of their clients.
E-filing not only offers you the convenience of filing taxes anytime and anywhere, it also speeds up the process. “Online filing is pretty safe. Tax auditors have to file company ITR online compulsorily. Many tax consultants are also choosing the online route,” said Anil Rego, CEO and founder, Right Horizons, an investment advisory and wealth management firm.
Where you can e-file
The I-T department offers the e-filing facility, other sites include Taxspanner.com, Taxyogi.com, Taxsmile.com and taxshax.com. Independent mutual fund portal, Fundsindia.com, has also tied up with Taxyogi.com to facilitate free e-filing. A few banks including Canara Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank Ltd also have a tie-up with Taxspanner.com.
How to e-file
Step 1: Gather all relevant documents — Form 16, permanent account number (PAN), statements of income from other sources, including savings bank account statements, investment proofs and insurance policy details.
Step 2: Register with the site of your choice and fill in your details in the applicable ITR form online. You could choose among the various packages according to your requirements. A basic package is for salaried individuals and pensioners having an interest income and income from house property and from other sources. Apart from providing basic facilities, the advanced package comes with value-added services such as review by tax experts. The professional package is meant for those having their own consulting firms or are professionals.
While the I-T department lets you file your returns online for free, most other portals charge a fee.
Step 3: Make the payment after you have reviewed your form. In case you need to pay some tax, visit www.tin-nsdl.com, select the required challan and make a payment through Internet banking. Once you receive the challan identification number, acknowledging your payment, your taxes are paid. Ensure that you save a copy of the challan.
Step 4: The portal will email your ITR form in a digital format (XML file). Upload this form at the I-T department's website (www.incometaxindia.gov.in) after registering with it. Download the acknowledgement receipt (ITR V) and take a printout. Sign the printout and send it to the I-T department, Bangalore, within 120 days of e-filing. Once you receive a confirmation from the department, your e-filing is complete.
You can even sign ITR V digitally. Some websites offer a digital signature, an electronic signature that authenticates your identity and your documents to the income-tax department. It comes for a fee and has to be renewed every year.
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