Last Updated on May 25, 2022 by Neera Bhardwaj

Income tax filing has become a lot simpler with time from the earlier paper-based process that required one to painstakingly match the data points and fill the paper form, and then physically file them. The IT department’s earlier website didn’t help much either with its complex navigation and crowded interface that left people Googling for how to file ITR. The forms still needed to be physically couriered to the IT office. But what it did do was herald online tax filing.

Today, filing income tax returns online is easy, made efficient through Aadhar-based verifications and a smooth and seamless experience delivered by the Infosys-created new interface. What used to be July 31 as the deadline for tax filing for the financial year, the aftermath of the pandemic, and certain systemic errors as Infosys went live with the new website saw the tax filing deadline being pushed to 31 December 2021 for tax filing for FY 2020-2021. It may be best to not delay it till the last date with your tax filing. A late fee of Rs. 5000 may be levied as a penalty. Moreover, certain benefits like carrying forward of losses will also lapse in case you fail to submit your returns within the deadline. 

The following step-by-step guide on how to file income tax returns online will help you if you haven’t yet furnished your income tax return.

Steps to file income tax returns

Step 1: Visit the official Income Tax Portal at https://eportal.incometax.gov.in/iec/foservices/#/login 

Step 2: Log in to the income tax e-filing portal using your user ID and password. In case you don’t have an ID, create one using your Aadhaar and PAN details. 

Step 3: On your Dashboard, click e-File > Income Tax Return > File Income Tax Return.

Step 4:  Select assessment Year as 2021- 22 and click ‘Continue.’ Remember, for the FY 2020-2021, the assessment year will be 2021 – 2022. Do not get confused here. 

Step 5: Select ‘Online’ as the mode of filing from the two available options of ‘Offline’ and ‘Online’ and click ‘Continue.’ 

If you have any drafts saved from earlier, the same will reflect here. You can either continue with those drafts or start afresh. To resume with the saved draft, click ‘Resume Filing’, whereas to start filing from the beginning, click on ‘Start New Filing’.

Step 6: In the next step, you’ll be asked to select status, click on the status as applicable to you and click on ‘Continue’. For example, if you have income from salary, click on the ‘Individual’, while if you are filing the return of a partnership firm, click on ‘Others’. 

Step 7: Now, you’ll be asked to select the type of Income Tax Return:

If you know which ITR form is applicable to you, select ‘I know which ITR Form I need to file’, and choose the desired income tax return from the dropdown that will appear and click ‘Proceed with ITR’.

If you are not sure which ITR form is applicable to you, click on ‘Help me decide which ITR Form to file’ and click proceed. The window that will appear is created for providing information to the taxpayers and contains qualifying details of ITR forms. 

Once you figure out the ITR form with the help of the information provided, proceed with filing your return. 

Step 9: In the next window, a list of checkboxes will appear asking you to confirm your reason for filing the selected return. You can select the applicable checkboxes and click ‘Continue’. 

Step 10: The portal will present your pre-filled data from the records available. You are supposed to review your pre-filled data and make necessary changes wherever required. 

There will be several sections, and you need to review/edit each one of them serially. Once you review each section, click on ‘Confirm’ to move on to the next one. 

Step 11: Provide your income and deduction details in the ‘Gross Total Income’ and ‘Total Deductions’ sections, respectively. The next section,’ Tax Paid’, asks you for details of taxes already paid, like advance tax, self-assessment tax, etc. 

Step 12: If you are liable to pay any taxes, the same will be reflected in the next section, ‘ Total Tax Liability’. This tax liability is assessed based on the information of income and deduction provided by you in the above sections. You’ll find two options at the bottom of your screen – ‘Pay Now and Pay Later’ select the suitable option. 

Step 13: Pay the tax liability, if there’s any, and click ‘Preview Return’. In case there is no tax liability payable, or you are eligible for a refund, you will be redirected to the ‘Preview and Submit your return’ page.

Step 14: From the ‘Preview and Submit your return’ page, click on ‘Proceed to Validation.

Step 15: Now, if there are any errors in your return, this page will display a list of them. You will have to return back and amend those errors. When there are no errors, you can proceed to e-verify your return by selecting ‘Proceed to Verification’.

You can e-verify your return using any of the following methods:

  • Via net banking
  • Via Aadhaar OTP
  • Via EVC on the Income Tax Department website
  • Digital Signature Certificate
  • Via Demat account
  • Sending signed ITR-V/Acknowledgement receipt

Step 16: Verification of income tax is mandatory. Thus select your preferred mode of verification and verify your return. 

There’s an ‘e-Verify Later’ option that allows you to submit your return without verification. In this case, you will be required to verify your return within 120 days of filing your return. 

Once your ITR is e-verified of your income tax return filing, a success message will be prompted on the screen. You’ll also find a Transaction ID and Acknowledgement Number. A confirmation message will also be sent on your mobile number and registered email Id. 

Conclusion

The process of filing an income tax return might feel complicated, but following the above steps, you can conveniently get your return submitted. The new online income tax portal created by Infosys for the Income Tax Department has now gone live for tax filing for FY 2020-21. It comes armed with some additional features like ITR form guide and a facility of pre-filled data that has made it simple for even novice taxpayers to file their returns on their own. Make sure you join hands with the law-abiding taxpayers of the country by filing your income tax return. You can still file your ITR (called a zero-ITR) even if you don’t have income exceeding the basic exemption limit laid down by the income tax department.

Ayushi Mishra

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