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Last date for filing of Income Tax return for income earned between 1 Apr 2015-31 Mar 2016 is 31 Jul 2016. People are trying to figure out all the paperwork associated with filing tax returns. Some can manage it on their own,some approach a chartered accountant. One can file using  Income Tax Department’s e-filing website but there are many alternatives which can help you file your income tax. This article lists comparison of tax filing websites, overview of How to efile Income Tax Return at incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in,How to Fill ITR for other sites such as ClearTax, HRBlock.in, Choosing how to file ITR: Income Tax efiling website or TaxSpanner , HRBlock or CA and  what  mistakes people generally make while Filing ITR.

Comparison of Income Tax Filing Websites

Comparison of Top Tax Filing Websites from Economic Times article (read here) is as shown in image below. Income Tax Website wins hands down. Alternatives to Income Tax Websites are ClearTax.com, HRBlock.in, TaxSpanner.com,TaxSmile.com MyItreturn.com.   These websites help to save time on the online filing process with offering services at the click of the mouse. The websites are betting on “user friendly” to help individual taxpayers make their income tax filings without consuming much time. Apart from facilitating filings, some portals also suggest possible investment opportunities for the users to save on their tax liabilities. Among others, users of many such platforms are greeted by videos, blogs and algorithm ­backed calculators

The costs of filing various kinds of ITR forms on different websites is also shown, in the second image.

  • ITR Forms offered for Self filing all the websites offer ITR1,ITR2,ITR2A,
  • ClearTax.in, TaxSpanner.com, MyItreturn.com also have mobile Apps for filing returns
  • If you have changed jobs and have multiple Form 16 then only ClearTax.in, TaxSpanner.com support.
  • ClearTax.in, TaxSpanner.com, MyItreturn.com can automatically read Form 16 which you upload and fill most of ITR.
  • ClearTax.in, TaxSpanner.com have Ability to upload Govt. notices. ClearTax.in for free and TaxSpanner.com for price.
  • Using ClearTax.in, TaxSpanner.com, TaxSmile.com one can file revised returns also.
  • Please note that if you efile returns through the alternative sites, you cannot eVerify returns directly. But all provide support for submission of ITR-V to CPC Bengaluru and detailed guidance on how to e-verify your ITR.
  • Apart from facilitating filings, some portals also suggest possible investment opportunities for the users to save on their tax liabilities.
Comparison of income tax filing websites

Comparison of income tax filing websites

The costs of filing various kinds of ITR forms on different websites is  shown in image below.

  • Many of the alternatives offer free filing of Income tax return especially for Self Filing of Individuals.
  • Many also offer assisted Plans where a chartered accountant is assigned to you after payment. You can then upload your documents. The CA contacts you and prepares your return. Finally, the CA e-files the income tax return after your review. Click here to see ClearTax Pricing , Click here to see TaxSpanner Pricing for Filing Income Tax returns For Self filing for Individuals
  • Live chat and call support through the income tax return e-filing process.
  • Provide Support for submission of ITR-V to CPC Bengaluru and detailed guidance on how to e-verify your ITR.
  • Comparison of costs of income tax filing websites

      Comparison of costs of income tax filing websites

How to efile Income Tax Return at incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

Steps to e­file your income tax return on income tax Department’s online tax filing site (incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in) are:

  • Register yourself  To e-file your income tax return, you will have you register on the income tax Department’s online tax filing site (incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in). You have to provide your permanent account number (PAN), name and date of birth and choose a password. Your PAN will be your user ID.
  • Choose how you want to e­file There are two ways of e­filing your income tax return.
    • One is to go to the download section and select the requisite form, save it on your desktop and fill all the details offline and then upload it back on the site
    • Or you can choose to fill the form online by selecting the quick e­file option.
  • Select the requisite form
    • ITR­1: For individuals earning a salary, pension, or income from property or sources other than lottery.
    • ITR­2: For those earning capital gains.
    • ITR 2A for those owning more than one house but no capital gains.
    • ITR 3, 4 and 4S: Professionals and business owners.
  • Keep the documents ready
    • Keep your PAN, Form 16, interest statements, TDS certificates, details of investments, insurance and home loans handy.
    • Download Form 26AS, which summarises tax paid against your PAN. You can then validate your tax return with Form 26AS to check your tax liability.
    • If you earn more than Rs 50 lakh, from this year you will have to fill an additional column —”AL” or assets and liabilities. You will have to disclose the value of your assets and liabilities. Assets have to be declared at cost.
  • Fill form and upload XML If you choose to fill the form offline, after you have downloaded the form and filled all the details, click on ‘generate XML’. Then go to the website again and click on the ‘upload XML’ button. You will have to first log in to upload the XML file saved on desktop and click on submit.
  • Verify ITR V
    • On submitting your ITR form, an acknowledgement number is generated.
    • In case the return is submitted using digital signature, you just have to preserve this number.
    • If the return is submitted without a digital signature, an ITR­V is generated and is sent to your registered email ID. The tax filing process is incomplete and ITR is invalid unless your ITR V is verified.
      • You can electronically verify or
      • mail the signed ITR V to the processing centre in Bengaluru within 120 days of filing the return.

You may read our articles on how to fill ITR1 in Excel.

How to Fill ITR for other sites

For comparison we are listing steps to file ITR from ClearTax.in and HRBlock.in

Filing ITR at ClearTax.in

Filing ITR at ClearTax.in from their Guide https://cleartax.in/Guide/eFilingIncomeTaxReturns. The image below shows the details which one needs to fill in.

  • Goto https://cleartax.in. Click on ‘start your tax return now’ to start e-filing.
  • Enter your Name, PAN, DOB and Bank account details.
  • Fill in your salary, employee details (Name and TAN) and TDS.
  • Enter investment details under Section 80C(eg. LIC, PPF etc., and claim other tax benefits here.
  • If you have non-salary income,eg. interest income or freelance income, then add tax payments that are already made here.
  • If you see “Refund” or “No Tax Due” here, Click on proceed to E-Filing.You will get an acknowledgemnet number on the next screen. Tip: See a “Tax Due” message? read this guide to know how to pay your taxes.
Filing Income Tax return at ClearTax.in

Filing Income Tax return at ClearTax.in

Filing ITR at HRBlock.in

From HRBlock https://www.hrblock.in/infographics/file-taxes-for-free.aspx

1) Visit www.hrblock.in.
2) Select ‘Income Tax Services’ menu and click on Income Tax e-Filing Online (Free).
3) Click on ‘Start Free e-Filing’ button.
4) Register using email Id and password.
5) On the first screen select options from Form 16, Other Income, House Property etc. that apply to you and our application will customize your tax e-filing experience.
6) Upload your Form 16 and our application extracts most of the data from it and pre-populates it for you.
7) Enter amounts for any other tax exempt income.
8) Enter details for income from other sources, house property etc.
9) Enter details of TDS and other taxes paid from your Form 16 – Part A.
10) Provide your personal information as asked.
11) Review your summary and e-file your income tax return.

Choosing how to file ITR: Income Tax efiling website or TaxSpanner , HRBlock or CA

Income Tax efiling website is Free. But you need a computer, working internet connection and how to use Excel/Java Utility.  One  can file his/her ITR on his own, provided that you are having knowledge of the Income Tax and certain provisions which are applicable to you. One needs to file accurate  income tax return because if any aspect is missed out, revised return is  to be filed which includes number of procedural work and consequences. Many people are not comfortable with computers or Excel.  Many also don’t know the basics of income tax,applicable to them for example, they file ITR1 when ITR2 was to be filed. ITR filed in wrong form will be defective.

If you are doing tax return filing yourself, please note that here you take full responsibility of what you enter and submit in your return to income tax department. So, at a later date, you cannot say that you calculated a certain deduction wrongly because of mistake and you don’t know IT provisions – in that case, you cannot expect any mercy from IT department and they will slap a hefty penalty treating as a concealment of income. A friend of mine didn’t know the difference between FY and AY so he filed for the wrong AY. He realised his mistake,filed the it for appropriate AY . As he did not send the ITR-V so he thought he has corrected his mistake till he got a notice from Income tax department. I don’t want to scare you , filling income tax form is no rocket science but is not a cake walk either.

Income tax e-filing websites like ClearTax, TaxSpanner ,HTBlock are simple to use, fill some forms. It’s not that costly also.

An expert is “somebody who obtains results that are vastly superior to those obtained by the majority of the population”. Many use Chartered account to file their returns, for the human touch. Someone to ask whether advance payment has been done, whether they can have used all exemptions. Normally all the Chartered Accountant (C.A) will keep a file of their client. A copy of the communications,  reports,certificates, returns, workings etc will be there in the file. The advantage you have is you will have a copy of the information’s always available with a trusted one. Another is that if any issue like income tax notices etc it is easy for them to follow up and reply. How much you paid in taxes last year can help you figure out how you can save in next year.

No matter whether you efile yourself or file through alternatives or use CA services, please do cross check details. Ask questions. Income tax filing is not rocket-science but its not ABC. And it is work in progress. Every year I personally learn something due to ITR changes or questions from readers. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, as we know a stich in time saves nine.

Click here to read more about Advantages and Disadvantages of using how to file ITR.

Don’t make these mistakes while Filing ITR

Report interest income from Saving Bank
The exemption of Rs 10,000 a year under Section 80TTA applies only to the interest earned on the balance in a savings bank account. You are supposed to declare it in ITR and then claim the deduction. Our article Interest on Saving Bank Account : Tax, 80TTA talks about it in detail.

Report Interest income and Pay TDS if due :Though interest earned from fixed deposits, recurring deposits, even tax­saving bank deposits and infrastructure bonds, is fully taxable,people often do not report any interest income below Rs 10,000.  You may read our article Fixed Deposit , Interest , TDS, Tax,Income Tax Return, Refund for more information.

Another common misassumption is that one need not pay tax as TDS has been deducted on the income. Remember that the tax deducted by the bank at source is at a flat rate of 10%. However, tax slabs may vary. So, if you fall in a higher tax slab, your liability may be more and you will have to pay the balance while filing returns. You need to re­calculate your liability and pay balance TDS. The department can catch such mistakes by matching your ITR with Form 26AS.

The taxman also digs deeper, going beyond TDS. It tracks the deposits and interest income where TDS has not been deducted, that is, where you have submitted Form 15 G/H. The penalty is more severe (up to 200% of the tax evaded) as it is not a mis­calculation, but concealment of income.

Club income if Investing in name of Wife or Minor children: Many people invest in the names of spouse or minor children. There is no limit to the amount you can give your spouse, but if you invest the gifted money, Section 64 of the Income Tax Act, a provision for clubbing income, comes into play. Under this, any earning from the gifted amount is added to your taxable income. It doesn’t matter if your spouse has an income or not. The money will be clubbed with your income. Our article Fixed Deposit in Name of Wife: Clubbing,Tax,TDS, ITR,Refund talks about it detail.

For a minor child, the earning is treated as income of the parent who earns more. You also get an exemption of Rs 1,500 a year, per child, up to a maximum of two kids. If you want to escape tax, invest the gifted money in a tax­free option, such as the PPF or ELSS scheme. Or invest in the name of your parents or a major child, where clubbing provision does not come into play.

You may read our article Mistakes while Filing ITR and CheckList before submitting ITR for more information

Checklist before submitting ITR

  • Select the Correct Assessment Year. For filing Income Tax return for Income earned between 1 Apr 2015 to 31 Mar 2016 AY is 2016-17
  • Select the correct ITR or Income Tax return Form
  • Mention Correct Details, Personal Details,Bank Details
  • Claim Deductions: Claim HRA(if not claimed ), 80C deductions
  • Report Exempt Income : Income from PPF,Tax free bonds , Long term capital Gains on Equityetc
  • Report Interest from Saving Bank Accounts under section 80TTA.
  • Report Interest from Fixed Deposit and Recurring Deposit.
  • Match TDS with Form 26AS
  • Fill correct TDS details
  • Pay Self assessment Tax and update ITR. You should owe Zero or Nil tax to Government while filing your ITR
  • After submitting ITR  ITR-V or E verification

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