By: Preeti Sharma and Ravleen Sethi|Jun 4, 2013, 12.12PM IST|Economic Times|
The Tax return filing for most of us is like the toughest exam, it brings nervousness and trouble and when completed, there is a sigh of relief!
We often consider filing of the tax return is the end of the whole story. There is misconception that once the tax return has been filed, work is over until the next tax return filing deadline. This is what even Gaurav thought when he filed his tax return for the year 2011-12.
Gaurav is a software engineer with an IT company and his personal tax situation is not very complex. His only sources of income are salary received from his employer and a small amount of interest from his savings bank accounts. He reported these incomes and filed his tax return before 31 July 2012 and took a deep breath, he too thought it is all over.
He was a relieved man until one day, when he received an e-mail from the tax department. “An e-mail from the tax department” – he thought he had landed in trouble. Shivering and tensed, he opens the mail which said that his ITR-V was not received by the Income tax Department – CPC, Bangalore. And there he sat, now confused what ‘ITR-V’ meant and not knowing what was he supposed to do next. He quickly caught hold of his return files and glanced through the papers of his last tax return. He realized that the acknowledgement of the income tax return is called the ITR-V. When he read the document hard, he found a caption on it reading that it is required to be signed and sent to the Income tax Department – CPC, Bangalore within 120 days of e-filing of his tax return. “How could I miss this?”, so thought Gaurav as he quickly signed the ITR-V and sent it off through Speed Post.
Gaurav soon realized that tax return filing may not necessarily end with the deadline. One needs to watch out a host of other factors even after filing of the tax return.
A few days later while I was sitting with Gaurav I offered him a few handy tips that one should be vigilant of even after the tax returns have been filed. Here are the tips for the readers:
The process of return filing is complete only once a signed copy of the ITR-V has been sent to the Income tax Department – CPC, Bangalore after e-filing of the return. The ITR-V should be sent within 120 days of filing of the return.
It is necessary that the credit of taxes deducted at source as claimed in the tax return is also appropriately reflected in the Form 26As. If not your refund may not be processed. In case the credit in the Form 26As does not match with the amount claimed in the tax return, you may have to approach the deductor of tax and ask him to revise his quarterly TDS tax return. Once the deductor’s quarterly TDS return has been revised, the credit will automatically get updated in the Form 26As.
Be watchful of emails, letters and notices received from the Income tax Department and respond to them within the requisite time. The process of responding to the notices has been simplified now and in many cases one can directly send the details and documents to the Income tax Department – CPC, Bangalore online.
The Indian tax authorities follow a well laid out procedure for assessment of income and taxes. As provided in the India tax law, after the preparation of a tax return, the total income and tax of an individual is re-assessed by the tax office. Tax returns to be assessed by the tax officer are chosen on a random basis. If the tax office determines any differences in the amount of income or tax, they send an intimation/notice to the individual. One must be promptly respond to such notices.
If you have missed the deadline for filing of your tax return, you may still be able to file your tax return after the deadline. A belated Income-tax return for the tax year 2012-13 can be filed upto 31 March 2015. However, in such a case, the following points need to be noted:
a)A belated return cannot be revised if certain errors / omissions are discovered after filing the return of income
b)Certain losses under some heads of income cannot be carried forward to subsequent years for being set-off against future income
c)If any taxes remain unpaid, then simple interest @1% per month is payable on such outstanding tax liability upto the date of payment of such tax. In case the return of income is not filed within 1 year from the end of financial year, the tax officer has the power to levy a penalty of Rs 5,000.
Be careful of spam e-mails on income tax refunds. Such e-mails may ask you to disclose your Permanent Account Number and personal information which can be misused by the sender.
With these simple tips, we hope the tax return filing will no more be life’s toughest exam.
(The authors are Senior Tax Professionals, Ernst & Young. Views expressed are personal)