It is time to file your annual tax returns – Here is what you must know

tax b It is time to file your annual tax returns   Here is what you must know

Normally, this article is relevant in July when the tax returns are due to be filed. However, this time things are different due to COVID. The last date for filing of income tax returns was postponed from July 31 to November 30 and now it stands further extended to December 31 this year. Whether that will be the final data or it will be further postponed is not known, but you must start preparing to file returns at the earliest if all the documents are in place.

Methods of filing tax returns on your own

If you are filing your tax returns (now online filing is mandatory in most cases), here are two methods you can choose from.

  1. You can download the relevant ITR form, fill the form offline and save the generated output as an XML file. The process is simple and menu driven. For this you will have to either download the excel utility or the Java utility from the Income Tax website.
  2. The second option is to directly open your login page on the ITR e-filing website. Here the filing form comes auto-populated with all the relevant data. However, this facility can only be used for the ITR-1 and ITR-4. For others you need to use Java / Excel utility.

How to file tax returns using the Java / Excel utility?

Here are the steps you need to follow to file returns using the Java / Excel utility for return filing.

  • Firstly, you need to download the Appropriate ITR utility from the relevant download section of These are normally in ZIP file format that can be extracted with UNZIP or WINRAR utilities. The form is self-explanatory.
  • Before you start using the utility in Excel, you need to enable macros on the macro link. Only after that, you will be able to see all the auto calculations for various fields working and populating automatically.
  • The downloaded Excel will allow you to enter inputs in certain fields and auto-calculated fields are blocked. Once you fill the form, you must check and validate that no required data is missing. It is also advisable to verify details with Form-16 once again.
  • Once the validation is done, you can click on Calculate Tax and it will also calculate any refund payable to you or any pending tax with applicable interest and penalty. In case there is any tax payment pending, you cannot file the returns unless you pay up.
  • Once this is done, you are all set to save the file. Save it on your desktop in XML format. Then you can login to your secured income tax area with your PAN and password. Then click on the e-file menu and upload the XML.
  • There is one more step pending, which is to authenticate your return submission. Now it is possible to authenticate your return submission via digital signature using DSC, Bank account authentication using EVC or even Aadhar based authentication. In these cases, no physical copy needs to be sent. Alternatively, you can download the acknowledgement form and mail it by registered post to the facilitation centre in Bengaluru.

How to file tax returns using the online portal facility?

This is a lot simpler and does not require any Excel download or XML upload. Everything is online and data is auto-populated. However, this can only be used for ITR-1 and ITR-4. Here are the steps.

  • You must first go to the Income Tax e-Filing portal, and login by entering PAN and Password. Then you can click on the Income Tax Return link for the next steps.
  • Please note this is auto-populated data so ensure your Form 26AS is checked and verified in advance. Once the remaining details are filled online, just submit the details online with the click of a button.
  • In the interests of data safety and security remember two things. Firstly, always use a secured connection and don’t do these things from cyber cafΓ© networks. Also, to avoid loss of data keep saving the draft at regular intervals. You can retain the saved draft for up to 30 days in the system.
  • Once this done, the last step is verification of the return and authentication where the same steps as the previous version need to be followed.

In case, you need assistance from us to file your returns, you may email us at [email protected] placing a request to file. We will render this service for you with the help of Auditors at a nominal cost.

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