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How the process of e-filing IT returns works [1185]

The period between April and July consists of a lot of running around for people to file their income tax returns. It is a legal obligation for every individual to file a return of income, whose taxable income during the year has exceeded the exemption limit of Rs 1.5 L  (Rs 1.8 L in case of females and Rs 2.25 L in case of senior citizens).

Filing of income tax returns is generally seen as time-consuming and people leave it to their chartered accountants to do it or get in touch with someone who, for some amount of money, would do it for them. However, the Income Tax department has made it easier for people to file their returns - by providing a portal to file their returns online or e-Filing.

What is e-Filing?

The process of electronically filing Income tax returns through the internet is known as e-Filing. It is a simple process in which, you need to fill up the tax return form provided online and the other required information about income, expenditure and savings. Then, it is just a matter of logging into the income tax website and following simple instructions.

Who can use the e-Filing facility?

Any individual or organization that files returns using the general method can take advantage of this facility. The pre-requisite for filing online is that you must have a valid PAN number. Direct E-filing is available for Form Nos. ITR-1, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4, ITR-5, ITR-6 and ITR-8.

However, as per Section 206 of Income Tax Act all corporate and government deductors are compulsorily required to file their TDS return on electronic media (i.e. e-TDS returns). It is mandatory for Companies and Firms requiring statutory audit u/s 44AB to submit the Income tax returns electronically. However, for other deductors, filing of e-TDS return is optional.

Which are the sites used for e-Filing of Returns?

There are many sites on the internet which offer services which help you file your taxes online. However, E-Filing of tax should be done on http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in and use http://tin.nsdl.com for more information.

When do you file your returns?

The last date for filing return of income for the year ended March 31, 2009 is July 31, 2009 and for individuals who are required to get their books of accounts audited under the Income Tax Act, it is October 31, 2009. If individuals file their returns after the last date mentioned above, they will be charged a penal interest at the rate of 1% per month of delay. However, if such a return is filed after March 31, 2010, apart from the penal interest, they will also be liable for a penalty of Rs 5,000.

What steps to follow to e-File income tax returns?

To file you rincome tax returns online, you need to:

  1. Register at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in
  2. Complete Registration process
  3. Login to Income-Tax Portal
  4. Download and fill the relevant form
  5. Create XML e-Return file
  6. Upload e-Return file to Income-Tax Server
  7. Print Acknowledgement
  8. Incase the return is digitally signed, on generation of ‘Acknowledgement’; the Return Filing process gets completed. Assessee may take a printout of the acknowledgement for his record.
  9. Incase the return is not digitally signed, on successful uploading of e-Return, the ITR-V Form would be generated which needs to be printed by the tax payers. This is an acknowledgement cum verification form. The tax payer has to fill-up the verification part and verify the same. A duly verified ITR-V  form should be mailed to  ‘Income Tax Department - CPC, Post Box No - 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore - 560100, Karnataka’  within 30 days after the date of transmitting the data electronically or visit The TIN Facilitation Centers of the NSDL. You can check out which centre is closest to you by visiting this link http://tin.nsdl.com/TINFaciliCenter.asp . They will help you upload verified ITR-V  form to the TIN central system.

What are the benefits of e-Filing of taxes over paper filing?

One of the foremost benefits of e-filing is the flexibility of filing your returns anywhere / anytime. You just need to have access to an internet connection. Other than this, online tax returns are processed much faster than paper returns and the tax is worked out automatically as the payee completes the form. With this the payee also gets the acknowledgement slip immediately. Also online filing is a safe and secure mode. Lastly, you can forget about standing in long queues since you can file your returns sitting in the comfort of your homes.

How popular is it currently?

According to the income tax department data, online filing of returns by salaried employees and interest or pension earners has jumped four times to 5.8 lakh returns in 2008-09 vis-à-vis 1.43 lakh a year ago. The aggregate online filing by individuals and corporates surged more than two times during 2008-09 to 48.3 lakh against 21.92 lakh returns filed in 2007-08. Needless to say, e-Filing of tax returns is gaining tremendous popularity.

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