Written by Umang Saini
It's that time of the year in India to file personal Income tax. The deadline for AY 09-10 is 31st July. I have filed IT return 4 times till now -
- AY 06-07 - Local Tax Associates - Rs. 150
- AY 07-08 - Same - Rs. 200
- AY 08-09 - CA Referred by a friend - Rs. 150
- AY 09-10 - DIY - E-filing - FREE + Postage Cost Rs. 5 (Link)
Steps for DIY e-filing
- Register at Income Tax India E-Filing. (Link)
- Download relevant Excel sheet to fill the return
- Copy-Paste data from your Form 16
- Look at your Bank Statements, FD's and NSC interests. Fill in column 2(b).
- Calculate the Tax
- If you have to pay additional tax then go to this link. See the e-payment procedure and head towards 'Pay Taxes Online' link. Do online payment, and collect your challan number which is to be quoted in IT Return. Simple.
- Re-Check the Excel sheet.
- Generate XML
- Submit the file through your registered account. You'll receive the ITR-V acknowledgement
- Mail the acknowledgement with your signature to local IT office within 30 days.
- Done. They will email you a scanned document of stamped acknowledgement soon.
Steps for e-filing via 3rd party
- Register at some XYZ third party web-site
- File few web-forms
- Upload Form 16 and Investment details
- Pay the fees - Typically Rs. 150
- They send you the Form V.
- Mail the form to IT office.
Steps for hard-copy filing via an agent, IT Lawyer or CA
- Go to the agent with PAN photocopy and Form 16
- Fill a simple form
- Go back to collect your acknowledgement form
- This usually costs from Rs. 150-250 for basic plan.
Steps for traditional filing
- Print the relevant form (ITR-1, 2, 3, 4 etc)
- Fill it
- Go to IT Office. Stand in the queue. Submit it and take acknowledgement.
I would recommend to file the e-returns directly. The biggest gap is the requirement of ~$85 Microsoft Excel to fill the form. That's a deal breaker for many. For avoiding the grey area of pirated software, one may use the 60 day trial version. File taxes and un-install.
It’d be nice if someone replicates ITR-1/2 spreadsheet on Zoho or Google Online Docs. The responsibility lies with IT-department to continue to pull down barriers in filing taxes.