Being a first-time taxpayer, you must be ridden with a host of questions about the how’s, where’s, why’s, when’s and what’s of filing your Income Tax Returns. It’s quite a stressful time, but don’t let that bog you down. We’re here to help! Read on for some tips for simplifying ITR filing for first-time taxpayers.
The income tax filing process is far from being as difficult as it is often made out to be. Yes, you need to know the process, the tax provisions and benefits, the essential documents, and a few other nitty-gritties that will make ITR filing a cakewalk for you. So, let’s dive right into discussing 10 tips that first-time taxpayers should keep in mind while filing for Income Tax Returns (ITR).
Know your relevant income slab
The first question you should ask yourself while filing your ITR is - What is the income slab that you belong to? Your tax liability in a certain financial year is determined by the income slab that is applicable to you for that financial year. The income tax slab may or may not change every financial year. As per the income tax slab for the FY 2018-19, Indian residents as well as Non Resident Indians (NRIs) with an annual income of up to Rs. 2.5 lakhs are not liable to pay taxes. The limit has been extended to Rs. 3 lakhs for senior citizens, and Rs. 5 lakhs for super senior citizens.
What’s your proof?
You need to mention your basic details like Aadhaar Number, PAN Number, Bank Account Number with IFSC Code, contact number and a valid email ID while filing up your ITR Form every financial year. Not just first-time taxpayers, this is applicable to every taxpayer on every financial year. Keep all these documents handy while filing up your ITR form, so there is no scope for inaccuracies.
Consider all your income sources
‘Income’ does not solely refer to earnings from the organization where you are gainfully employed. Returns from any source – rent, investment, etc., irrespective of whether they are taxable or exempt from taxation, account for your source of income. Make sure that you mention the sum total of all your income sources while you file your ITR.
Save income tax using insurance plans
There are a host of life and health insurance and investment schemes that make you eligible for tax deductions and exemptions as per the Income Tax Act, 1961. You can get tax benefits on life insurance premiums of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh under Section 80C. Health insurance premiums of up to Rs. 75,000 are tax exempted under Section 80D. Donations to specific institutions enable you to avail tax benefits under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. If you have invested in any such schemes, kudos to you! You’re all set for enjoying substantial tax benefits and deduction in your taxable income.
Filling up your Form right!
When it comes to filing your ITR, you cannot be inaccurate with the details you are mentioning in your Form. When your income can be categorized under the head salaries, you will receive a Form 16 from your employer by 15th June every year. It serves as a document proof for your taxable income for that financial year. Form 16 comprises of details like your annual income, taxable and exempted allowances, perquisites, etc.
For income sources other than your salary, there’s Form 16A where the details for such income is mentioned. This form is issued by the entity or organization that has been the source of your income. The form also acts as a guide for the sources of income that are included under the ‘income from other sources’ category.
This form is relevant for you as it shows the TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) deducted from your income and payments made to you. Form 26AS is accessible on the official e-filing website. With every TDS payment to the tax department from your income, the relevant information gets automatically updated in your Form 26AS.
Which ITR should you file?
There are four types of ITRs, classified basis the nature and source of income, the income slab you belong to, among other factors. These decide the return that you will be applicable for. So, the question is – Which one should you file? Let’s take a look at who each of these ITRs are relevant for:
- ITR-1: Individuals with annual income of a maximum of 50 Lakhs from sources like salaries, one house property, interest, etc., have to fill up ITR-1.
- ITR-2: This form is for individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) who are not involved in a business or profession under any proprietorship.
- ITR-3: ITR-3 is especially for individuals and Hindu Undivided Families enjoying a source of income from a business or profession under a proprietorship.
- ITR-4: For presumptive income from business or profession having total income up to Rs.50 lakh, ITR-4 has to be filled up.
Keep a tab of the ITR deadline
The last day for filing your income tax returns is 31st July of every financial year. Filing your ITR has become easy, thanks to digitization. You can now sort out your income tax rituals for the financial year from the comfort of your home – right from downloading the relevant form to submitting it.
Keep a proof of verification and acknowledgement
You can verify your return either online or offline. For the online option, you can access the information through the Aadhaar OTP or Electronic Verification Code method. For the offline method, you have to send the signed printout of the ITR to CPC, Bengaluru, within 120 days from the date of e-filing. An acknowledgement message will be sent immediately to your registered email once you have uploaded your return successfully. After your ITR has been verified and processed, you will be notified about it through email or mobile message.
To conclude : Now that you have gone through the tips that first-time taxpayers should remember while filing ITR, does it sound like rocket science anymore? We bet not! All you need is to carefully fill up the form and meet the deadline for submission. Yes, it’s that simple!