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Guide to filing income tax returns

It’s the season of taxes and most individuals are running from pillar to post to figure out how to do things right! Well, if you are planning to file your tax returns for the very first time, and are looking for information on the same your search ends here as we have a comprehensive guide that will tell you all you need to know about filing income tax returns.

Who needs to file income tax returns?

Normally there is a lot of confusion about who needs to file returns, here’s a list of people who need to file retuens:

  • If you are an individual whose gross income is ₹ 2.5 lakhs per annum and above you need to file returns. If your income exceeds ₹ 5 lakhs e-filing is mandatory.
  • If you are senior citizen aged between 60-80, you need to file returns if your gross income is ₹ 3 lakhs and above
  • If you are a super senior citizen above the age of 80 you need to file returns only if your gross income exceeds ₹ 5 lakhs.

What’s the last date to submit returns?

The last date to file returns for the financial year 2015-16 is July 31st 2016.To avoid a last minute rush job, it is highly recommended that you finish the process earlier. If you have taxable income in 2015-16, this year is referred to as the financial year and the year in which you file income tax returns for the same is referred to as the assessment year.

Documents you will need

  • Form 16 – If you are a salaried individual, you will need this form. It is issued by your employer to certify that you have drawn a salary for the financial year and tax has been deducted at source (TDS) for the same.
  • Form 16 A – Form 16 A bears witness to any other income you have may have earned during the financial year. So you need to collect this form from your bank because it deducts TDS from your interest income. Also if you are a homeowner, do not forget to collect this form from your tenant, if he is deducting TDS on rent.
  • Other income – All income that cannot be classified under the heads of salary, capital gains, property or business and profession must be categorised as ‘Other Income’ from other sources. These are:
    1. Apart from interest income, dividend income, loans and deposits, winning from lotteries, income incurred from furniture or machinery put in rent, gambling and even any sum of ₹ 50,000 or above that has not been received as an inheritance or on the occasion of one’s marriage is also classified as other income. You therefore need to keep the document proofs of one of more of the incomes incurred from the above mentioned sources.
    2. If you have incurred income on any immoveable property or capital assets based offshore, you need to report and show income proof from the same.
    3. If your income is above ₹ 50 lakhs you are also required to provide details of your other assets such as jewellery, cash and land or property, so ensure that you have details of the same handy.
    4. Finally, if you have a home loan or a student loan, keep your loan documents and bank statements handy as deductions will apply to your case.
  • Form 26AS – This is the statement of your tax credit that shows that all your tax has been received on time by the Income Tax Department.Details of your tax deductions as well as high value transactions are recorded in this form. You must check this form for errors before you begin filing income tax returns for the year. In case of any error, corrective action must be taken immediately.

While you may feel that a large part of your income is taxable, you must know that there are several deductions you can avail according to the tax bracket that is applicable to you.

Filing one’s income tax returns is not as difficult as it is made out to be. If you carefully collate all the documents and keep them in order, you will be able to e-file your returns in a few minutes!

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