In our previous article, we tried to help you in decide whether you should e-file your income tax returns? Now we will provide details on how you can e-file your Income Tax Returns and evaluate various options available.
E-filing is possible with or without digital signature.However, if you are not using a digital signature for e-filing, make sure that you complete the process or else your filing will be incomplete.
Types of e-filing Income tax returns (ITR)
Before we begin, lets have a look on various ways to file your Income Tax Returns electronically.
- Use digital signature, in which case no further action is required.
- File without digital signature, in which case ITR-V form is to be filed with the department. This is a single page receipt cum verification form.
- File through an e-return intermediary who would do eFiling and also assist the Assessee file the ITR -V Form.
Process of E-filing Income Tax Returns
Option 1. : E-filing directly through Income Tax Department’s e-filing website
You can file income tax returns directly at Income Tax Department’s e-filing website. The department has also prepared a demo of efiling process to educate users who wish to e-file there income tax returns. However, you need to know which ITR form is applicable to you before you start e-filing by downloading Income Tax Return preparation software for the relevant form.
The process to file return through this option is listed below.
- Select appropriate type of Return Form
- Download Return Preparation Software for selected Return Form.
- Fill your return offline and generate a XML file.
- Register and create a user id/password
- Login and click on relevant form on left panel and select “Submit Return”
- Browse to select XML file and click on “Upload” button
- On successful upload acknowledgement details would be displayed. Click on “Print” to generate printout of acknowledgement/ITR-V Form.
- Incase the return is digitally signed, on generation of “Acknowledgement” the Return Filing process gets completed. You may take a printout of the Acknowledgement for your record.
- 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 Bag No – 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore – 560100, Karnataka” within 30 days after the date of transmitting the data electronically. In case, Form ITR-V, is furnished after the above mentioned period, it will be deemed that the return in respect of which the Form ITR-V has been filed was never furnished and it shall be incumbent on the assessee to electronically re-transmit the data and follow it up by submitting the new Form ITR-V within thirty days. This completes the Return filing process for non-digitally signed Returns.
Option 2. : E-filing through online tax filing services
Another option to prepare and e-file your tax returns is to use online Income Tax Return preparation and e-filing services offered by various websites for a fee, some even offer this service as free.
E-filing intermediaries offer different services like calculating the tax, preparing the returns, making available the facility of digital signature and fees are charged based on the service availed.
The main advantage that these services offer is that you don’t need to know the applicable Income Tax Returns form applicable to you. The service takes your details in a question-answer form and calculate your tax liability. It then generates relevant ITR form applicable to you based on your inputs. So, you don’t need to know the applicable ITR form before you start e-filing. Once completed, you can either take a printout of the ITR form and file offline or choose to generate XML to e-file your Income Tax Returns.
- Sign up with the online tax filing services of your choice
- Enter the relevant financial details. The service generates your return based on this data.
- Most of these services offer an intuitive review of data you entered, and let you know if any information is missing
- View your tax computation
- Choose the Filing plan of your choise and make the payment.
- You can then generate the ITR form in PDF format and/or XML format.
- You can either authorize your service provider to efile your Income Tax Return on your behalf or choose to e-file your return yourself through Income Tax Department’s e-filing website (from Step 4 onward as listed in Option 1 above).
- Receive the Acknowledgement (if return is signed digitally) or the ITR-V (if not)
Digitial Signature is not mandatory for e-filing tax returns
You can e-file your Income Returns even if you do not have a digital signature. Once your XML ITR form is prepared you can upload it on income tax e-filing website. If your return form is digitally signed, then the return filing process is complete and you can take a printout of the acknowledgement for your record. Incase the return is not digitally signed you will have to fill-up the acknowledgement cum verification form called ITR-V. A duly verified ITR-V form should be submitted to the Income-tax Department by mailing it to Income Tax Department , CPC, Post Box No – 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore – 560100, Karnataka within thirty days after the date of transmitting the data.