Rushed paperwork. Confusing tax terminology. And the pressure of a fast-approaching deadline. That’s what tax filing season is for most individual taxpayers. But here’s a little secret — It doesn’t have to be this way. With a simple yet effective action plan, you can sail through the whole ITR filing process in a matter of minutes.

Here’s a 5-point checklist that can help you become a pro at filing your tax returns.

 

Keep the important documents handy

Before you begin the process of filing your IT return, get all the essential documents in one place. This makes things a whole lot easier. In fact, it’s best to keep all the important paperwork and IDs in one place, so you can quickly access them each year during tax filing season.

Here’s a list of the basic documents needed

  • Your PAN card
  • Your Aadhaar card
  • Your bank details (in case you’re eligible for a refund)
  • Your bank FD statements
  • A copy of your previous ITR (it makes things easier)
  • Other TDS certificates

 

Have the golden trio ready

Your Form 16/16A, Form 26AS and Annual Information Statement (AIS) make up the golden trio. They contain practically most (if not all) the information that you will need to file your ITR in record time. Check out the details contained in each of these forms.

  • Form 16/16A

Both these forms are essentially TDS certificates. Form 16 contains the details of the salary paid to you and the TDS deducted thereon. It also shows you a detailed breakup of your salary, making it easier to fill in the relevant fields in your ITR.

Meanwhile, Form 16A shows you the details of other income (like FD interest, rent receipts, insurance commission etc.) and the TDS deducted on those incomes.

  • Form 26AS

Form 26AS also contains information about all the tax deducted at source on the different kinds of income you earned during the year. In addition to this, the form shows you the amount of tax collected at source (TCS) and the advance tax or self-assessment tax paid.

You can compare the data in your Form 16/16A with the details in your Form 26AS to see if they match. Ideally, they should. The details in Form 26AS will be automatically filled in your ITR to determine if you need to pay any extra tax before you file your return, or if you’re eligible for a refund.

  • Annual Information Statement (AIS)

Introduced only in November 2021, the AIS is quickly proving to be a crucial part of ITR filing. It is a comprehensive statement that contains your entire financial summary during the year. Check out some of the key items you’ll find about yourself on the AIS.

  • Your salary income
  • Your business/professional income
  • Your rental income, interest income and income from other sources
  • All the purchases and sales of stocks and mutual funds you made during the year
  • Purchases made in foreign currency
  • TDS and TCS

Quite insightful, isn’t it? Make sure you include all these details in your ITR, so you don’t hear back from the IT department in the form of any queries or notices.

 

Know which ITR to choose

If you choose the right ITR, almost half the battle is won. Here’s an overview of the ITRs and who they’re for. Keep it handy for the next time you’re filing your returns.

If your income —

You should choose —

Is below Rs. 50 lakhs and includes:

  • Salary or pension
  • Rent from one house property
  • Income from other sources
  • Agricultural income up to Rs. 5,000

(Not for an individual who is either Director in a company or has invested in unlisted equity shares or in cases where TDS has been deducted u/s 194N or if income-tax is deferred on ESOP )

ITR-1 or SAHAJ

Is above Rs. 50 lakhs and includes:

  • Salary or pension
  • Rent from more than one house property
  • Capital gains
  • Income from other sources
  • Income from foreign assets
  • Agricultural income over Rs. 5,000
     

For individuals having income from profits and gains of business or profession and includes everything in ITR-2

ITR-3

Having total income upto Rs.50 lakh and has computed on a presumptive basis under sections 44AD, 44ADA, and 44AE of the Income Tax Act, 1961. (Not for an individual who is either Director in a company or has invested in unlisted equity shares or if income-tax is deferred on ESOP or has agricultural income more than Rs.5000 )

ITR-4

There are also other ITRs (ITR-5, ITR-6 and ITR-7), but those are typically not applicable for individuals.

 

Fill and file your return

Once you have the above items covered, the next step is to use all the information from your income statements and tax certificates and fill in your ITR. Remember to include the relevant deductions, so you can save tax. And keep proofs for the deductions handy (like your insurance premium payment receipt or your PPF deposit proof).

Once you have filled in the details, verify the information and submit your return.

 

And most importantly, verify your ITR

Before you do a little celebratory dance, you need to verify your income tax return. An unverified return is deemed invalid. You can verify your return using any of the following options.

  • Aadhaar based OTP if your mobile number is linked to your Aadhaar
  • Net banking
  • Electronic Verification Code (EVC) generated through your bank account
  • Electronic Verification Code (EVC) generated through your demat account
  • Using Digital Signature

 

Conclusion

So, there you have it. This should help you with your tax filing when the time comes around. The first time you file your own ITR, it may be a bit intimidating. But with time, you’ll get used to it. After all, it’s just you reviewing and submitting a record of your earnings to the IT department, isn’t it?

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein. Tax laws are subject to amendment from time to time. The above information is for general understanding and reference. This is not legal advice or tax advice, and users are advised to consult their tax advisors before making any decision or taking any action.