Income Tax Return

Income Tax Return (ITR) is a form for reporting gross taxable income from different sources, claiming tax deductions and declaring net tax liability to the income tax authority. ITR is filed to the income tax department by a salaried or self-employed individual, (HUF) Hindu

Undivided Family, companies or firms. The process of filing the ITR is referred to as income tax filing. A taxpayer can file the ITR online on the e-portal of the income tax department. The process of filing ITR online is referred to as e-filing. The following article will explain important aspects of e-filing Income Tax Returns.

Who is required to file ITR?

As per section 139(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, any individual whose total income in the financial year exceeds income tax exemption limit (Rs. 2.5 lakh for FY 19) is liable to file the income tax return. Apart from that any private or public company based out of India or doing business in India, firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs), Association of Persons (AOP), Body of Individual (BOI) etc. are also liable to declare net profits/losses of the year and pay their tax liability by filing ITR.

The Income Tax Department of India has made it compulsory for individuals to file income tax returns. Individuals that need to file income tax returns are as follows:

  • A person with an age lesser than 60 years has an annual income greater than Rs.2.5 lakh.
  • A person with an age between 60 years and 80 years and has an annual income of Rs. 3 lakh or more.
  • A person who is above the age of 80 years and has an annual income of more than Rs. 10 lakh.
  • A company or an organisation is bound to file for an income tax return no matter if the company is in loss or profit.
  • If there is a loss which you want to carry forward under the head of income.
  • If a resident Indian has an asset or any financial interest in an entity situated outside the geographic territory of the country.
  • If an individual applies for a loan or a visa, a proof of filing tax returns might be required.
  • If an individual receives income from property that is held under any kind of trust for charitable purposes or any research association, educational centre or any medical centre, trade union or any non-profit university.
If a non-resident Indian has his/her income sources from India, then he/she is also liable to pay the taxes and also to file Income Tax Returns.

Types of ITR Forms

On the Income Tax Department of India website, there are different forms that can be used to file income tax returns based on different income sources and types of taxpayers (resident/non-resident/individual/non-individual, etc.).

As of Assessment Year 2019-20, there are seven forms available from ITR-1 to ITR-7. Some of these forms might be longer than others and may require additional disclosures such as profit and loss statements. To help you know which one of the forms fits best to your requirements, here is each one of them briefly explained:

  • ITR-1 –  This form is also called SAHAJ.  ITR-1 or SAHAJ is meant to be filed by an individual who gets income from salary, pension, one house property, interest or income from other sources (excluding winning from lottery winnings and income from race horses) and having the total income of up to Rs. 50 lakh.
  • ITR-2 – This form is for individuals or the Hindi Undivided Families (HUFs) who have income which is not from the profits and gains of a business or otherwise profession.
  • ITR-3 – This form is for different persons or the HUFs whose source of income is from the profits and gains of a business or profession.
  • ITR-4 – This form is for those who have presumptive income from a business or profession.
  • ITR-5 – This form is for everyone other than individuals, HUF, company and person filing Form ITR-7.
  • ITR-6 – This form is for all those companies which are not claiming exemption under Section 11 of the Income Tax Act.
  • ITR-7 – This form is relevant for all people including those enterprises who are required to file tax returns under the Section 139(4A), Section 139(4B), Section 139(4C), Section 139(4D), Section 139 (4E) or 139 (4F).

Is it mandatory to file ITR online?

Taxpayers belonging to any of the following class are mandatorily required to file their income tax return only through e-filing mode:

  • Individuals or HUFs having a total income of more than Rs. 5 lakh or having a tax refund claim is mandated to file ITR electronically. However, super senior citizens ( Individuals with 80 or more years of age) filing ITR 1 or 4 have the option to file the ITR manually or electronically. 
  • Every company is required to file ITR electronically under digital signature.
  • A firm or individual or HUF whose books of account are to be audited under section 44AB are mandated to e-file the ITR.
  • A person who is required to file ITR-5 or who is claiming tax relief under section 90, 90A or 91 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 are required to file tax return electronically. 
  • A resident taxpayer having assets located outside India is required to submit tax return  electronically

Documents Required for ITR Filing

The documents that are necessary for the filing of income tax returns online are as follows:

  • PAN card
  • Bank statement
  • Interest certificates from banks or post offices
  • Proof of tax-saving investments
  • Form 16 (for salaried individuals)
  • Salary Slips
  • TDS certificate
  • Form 16A/16B/16C
  • Form 26AS

How to Check ITR Status Online?

Once you have filed your income tax return, you can check its status. There are two ways to check your income tax return status:

Using Acknowledgment Number (without login credentials)

  • Visit the Income Tax Department Portal.
  • On the left side of the homepage under the ‘Services’ tab, select the ‘ITR Status’ option.
  • After selecting the option, you will be redirected to a new webpage where you will be required to provide your PAN, ITR acknowledgment number and captcha code.
  • Submit the details and the status will be displayed on your device’s screen.

Using Login Credentials

  • Visit the Income Tax Return e-filing Portal and login using your user id and password. 
  • On the ‘Dashboard’, select ‘View Returns/Forms’ option.
  • Select the Income Tax Returns option and the relevant assessment year from the drop-down menus and submit.

Once all details are submitted successfully, the return status will appear on the screen.

Important Dates to Remember for ITR Filing

The due date for filing Income Tax Returns for any financial year is usually the same, which is 31st July however it may be extended by the tax authorities. However, there are a few categories of taxpayers that have a different due date. The following table will help you find due dates for the current financial year:

dates to remember
Category of TaxpayerDue Date for Tax Filing
Individual31st July (may be extended)
Body of Individuals (BOI)31st July (may be extended)
Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)31st July (may be extended)
Association of Persons (AOP)31st July (may be extended)
Businesses (Requiring Audit)30th September
Businesses (Requiring TP Report)30th November

Advantages of Filing Income Tax Return Online

The process of filing of Income Tax Returns used to be tiring as well as difficult but with the introduction of ITR e-filing, the burden has lessened. The online method for the filing of income tax returns helps an individual in the following ways:

Once you have logged in to your account, click the “e-file” tab and select “Income Tax Return” option.

  • Every year, the deadline for filing of income tax returns is 31st Filing your tax returns a month or two in advance can help you finish the task rather quickly as you will face less congestion on the website, which tends to lag as the final date approaches.
  • Not filing the income tax return in time can lead to penalties for each day until the payment is made. Filing of income tax return online offers you the convenience of filing your returns in time anytime and from anywhere.
  • Filing of income tax online helps you keep a record of all the financial transactions with the IT Department in an efficient way. Whenever an individual or an organisation seeks a loan from any bank or financial institution, proof of income is required. This record can be your proof of income.