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Delay in filing returns can be taxing

Arvind Rao / 17 Jun 12 | 12:38 AM

July is the season for filing your tax returns for the previous year. While most tax payers would be engaged in filing their annual tax declarations to their company for the current year, let us not forget about the last duty due for the previous year.

Who should file and when?
As per the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (‘the Act’), every individual whose total income for the year, before accounting for the tax-saving investments and expenses, exceeds the prescribed exemption limit (which is Rs 1.9 lakh for resident women; Rs 2.5 lakh for senior citizens, Rs 5 lakh for ultra senior citizens and Rs 1.8 lakh for other individuals) is obligated to file his tax return.

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Every individual (except for those who are subject to audit under the Act and / or who is a partner in a partnership firm which is subject to audit under the Act), has to file his return by 31st July. In other cases, the due date will be 30 September.

SPECIAL EXEMPTION FOR SALARIED TAX PAYERS
Salaried tax-payers may opt not to file returns if they satisfy all of the below conditions:
  • Net total income (after deductions) is less than Rs 5 lakh
  • Interest from savings bank should be not be in excess of Rs 10,000 and should have been declared to the employer;
  • Salary should have been earned only from one employer;
  • Employer has deducted tax on his salary income and interest income and no refund is due to the employee;
  • The form 16 has been issued to the employee giving details of his PAN, tax deducted, income details.

It is advisable for tax payers to file their returns electronically with the department’s website www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. It is not only fast and quick, but also saves lot of paper work and long queues associated with manual returns. As per the statistics provided by the Department, a total of 1.64 crore returns have been filed electronically till 31 March 2012. The maximum growth in e-returns has been reported for salaried individuals.

Special exemption for salaried tax payers:
Last year, the Income Tax department had said those with taxable income of Rs 5 lakh and interest earnings on savings accounts of less than Rs 10,000 would not have to file income tax returns. The department has extended this norm for the year 2012-13, as well. Besides, the employee should have earned salary from only employer and there should be no refund due to the employee, in order to enjoy this exemption.

Forms to be used
For individuals having income from salary and other sources or only income from other sources, ITR-1 has to be filled and submitted. Even individuals having pension income can use ITR-1. Individuals, having income from business or profession should use ITR-4 and those having income from business covered under the scope of presumptive business could use ITR-4S. Tax-payers reporting income from house property and / or capital gains have to use ITR-2. Any individual, who is also a partner in a partnership firm will have to use ITR-3.

As per the existing filing rules, no documents are to be attached along with the returns.

Check the TDS credits
Every tax payer is advised to verify the TDS credits available against their PAN in the prescribed statement called Form 26AS before filing their income tax return. The Form 26AS is a comprehensive statement available on the Income Tax website giving details of the all the tax credits reported and available for the tax payers PAN. This process, when followed, enables faster processing of the tax returns and quick refunds. In case any discrepancy is discovered in relation to the TDS credits in the form, it is advisable to sort the same with the person responsible for the tax deduction.

Signature on the returns
The returns have to be signed by the individual himself or herself. In case, the individual is not present in India, the same may be signed by the power of attorney holder too. Tax payers, who opt for electronic filing, have an option to sign the returns using digital signature.

For individuals, whose accounts are required to be audited under the Act, using digital signature is mandatory. For all other categories of tax payers, it is optional. In the latter case, the acknowledgment (called ITR-V) generated for returns filed online, has to be signed and sent to the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) within 120 days of uploading the return. Only the original signed ITR-V has to be posted (ordinary or speed post only) to the CPC with the signature in Blue Ink.

Delayed returns
if any individual fails to file his or her return within the due date, the same can still be filed by 31 March 2013. Any tax that is payable by the individual on self-assessment will attract interest of one per cent per month, for every month of delay beyond the due date, which can be quite taxing. Therefore, only if the taxpayer is of the opinion that the additional tax liability is zero or a refund is due to him, then delayed return is an option. Also, any losses on account of capital gains and / or business/ profession cannot be carried forward to the next year in case the returns are not filed in time.

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