Step 1: Declare All Income Shown in 26AS/AIS:
One of the primary steps in filing income tax returns is to declare all income shown in Form 26AS/AIS. Form 26AS is a consolidated statement issued by the Income Tax Department, which reflects tax deducted at source (TDS), advance tax paid, and any other taxes deposited against your PAN. It is important to meticulously review this form and ensure that all income mentioned in it is accurately declared in your tax returns. By doing so, you can avoid any potential discrepancies or scrutiny from tax authorities.
Step 2: Claim All TDS Credits:
To minimize your tax liability, it is vital to claim all TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) credits. TDS is the amount deducted by the payer while making certain payments, such as salary, interest, rent, or professional fees. It is imperative to carefully review Form 16/16A (issued by the deductor) and ensure that the TDS details mentioned therein are accurately reflected in your income tax return. Failing to claim TDS credits can lead to unnecessary tax payments and complications during the assessment process.
Step 3: Declare All Sources of Income:
Accurate disclosure of all sources of income is a crucial step in filing your tax returns. Income from various sources, such as salary, house property, capital gains, business or profession, and other sources like interest, dividends, or gifts, should be duly declared. It is essential to maintain proper documentation and keep records of income earned from each source to substantiate the declared figures, if required.
Step 4: Declare Deduction Details:
To reduce your taxable income, it is important to take advantage of the deductions available under the Income Tax Act. Deductions related to investments in life insurance premiums, medical insurance, provident fund contributions, and home loan interest, among others, can significantly alleviate your tax burden. While filing your tax returns, ensure that all eligible deductions are accurately declared, supported by appropriate documents such as investment proofs, premium receipts, or medical bills.
Step 5: E-Verification of Filed Returns:
Once you have filed your income tax return electronically, completing the e-verification process is paramount. This can be done through various methods, such as using an Electronic Verification Code (EVC) generated through net banking or Aadhaar OTP, or by sending a signed physical copy to the Centralized Processing Center (CPC). Timely completion of this step ensures that your tax return is considered valid and processed by the tax authorities.
Filing income tax returns is a crucial responsibility for every taxpayer in India, and adherence to the essential steps outlined in this guide will make the process seamless and error-free. Remember to declare all income, claim all TDS credits, disclose all sources of income, provide accurate details of deductions, and complete the e-verification process. Complying with these steps not only helps in avoiding penalties and scrutiny but also contributes to a transparent and efficient tax system in the country. By following these guidelines, you can fulfill your tax obligations with ease and ensure a hassle-free filing experience.
(By Swetha Kochar, Partner, PKC Management Consulting. Views are personal)