The Moneycontrol
Tax-Filing Guide

The tense, once-a-year ritual is just around the corner. Yes, the time to file your income-tax returns, after many extensions, is now December 31. From getting all the documents in place, to choosing the right return forms, to manoeuvring through the tax portal, avoiding pitfalls and finally calculating and paying your dues, we have every bit of detail you would need to make the process smooth. Here is our detailed coverage for the income tax return filing season of AY 2020-21.

This tax-saving season, avoid these common investment mistakes

Buying unnecessary life insurance policies, borrowing to invest for saving on taxes, and mixing financial and tax planning are best avoided

Budget 2021: Interest income on annual EPF contributions above Rs 2.5 lakh to be taxed

A larger contribution to your Employees’ Provident Fund will be taxed

Putting off income tax return filing? Be prepared for heavy fines

The due date for filing income tax returns has again been pushed back to December 31. Avoid interest and penalties by filing income tax returns before the due date

Calculate your Income Taxes for FY 2019-20

A proper assessment of your taxable income is crucial before you file your income tax return. With the help of the income tax calculator, you can gauge the impact of the tax structure on your income.

Tax returns: Made high-value transactions or large investments? The new Form 26AS captures it all

While filing your income tax returns, make sure to check Form 26AS. This form reflects not just TDS deducted by your employer or bank, but also details of various financial transactions

Income tax return filing: Why you should pay your taxes now despite deadline extension

Besides filing income tax return on time, it is also important to pay your taxes now. Apart from refund delays, there could be interest build-up on unpaid tax.

Use the correct ITR form or else your tax returns would be invalid

Seven ITR forms are available for you to file returns. Complete disclosure of your income is not enough. Make sure you use the correct form, too

  • Video: Explained | Here's how legal heirs should file tax returns for their departed loved ones

    Filing income-tax return for the deceased is mandatory in case of taxable income. Find out more here

  • Video: Explained | Here are some of the FAQs answered to get your tax return right

    As the due date to file income tax returns for the financial year 2019-20 approaches, we answer some of the frequently asked questions. More here

  • Video: Explained | How to select the correct ITR form

    It is important to choose the correct form as filing with the wrong ITR form is considered an invalid return by the income tax department. Watch for more.

Missed claiming tax deductions in investment declarations? Do it while filing returns

So long as you make your tax-saving investments or incur certain expenses within March 31 (July 31 this year), you are still allowed tax deductions

Why you need to file returns even if your employer deducts full taxes

You need to file returns even if your income falls below the basic threshold after all deductions

How to file a revised income tax return

You can revise your income tax return as many times as you want. It’s useful if you forget to claim a deduction or declare an income while filing earlier


Simply Save podcast | Common mistakes you must avoid while filing income tax returns

Preeti Kulkarni spoke to Vaibhav Sankla, a veteran in the tax consultancy space and founder of the Billion Basecamp Family Office.

Simply Save podcast | Paid excess tax due to fewer deductions? Make up for it while filing tax returns

Preeti Kulkarni explains how to go about claiming these tax breaks now.

Simply Save podcast | Filing your income tax returns? Here’s a do's and don'ts checklist

Keerthana Tiwari and Preeti Kulkarni provide a final checklist of things to remember while filing your tax returns.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to select the right income tax return form?
Depending on the category you fall into, there are seven Income Tax Return (ITR) forms for you to choose from for filing your return for the assessment year 2020-21 (financial year 2019-20). Out of these, five are meant for individual taxpayers, depending on their income level, sources of income and other rules. Selecting the correct ITR form is critical, as filing a wrong ITR form is considered an invalid return.
I had forgotten to submit investment proofs to my employer for claiming deductions in January. Can I claim these while filing returns?
Yes. The deadline set by employers for submitting investment declaration to avail of deductions under section 80C, 80D, 80E and so on usually falls in January and February. However, despite multiple reminders from employers, many tend to skip submission of proofs for tax-saver investments. As a result, a higher amount of tax is deducted from the salary during the last three months of the financial year. If you missed submitting the proofs, you can enter the details in your tax return form and claim the deductions and tax refund.
What are the most common errors made while filing income-tax returns?
Errors could be as simple as not choosing the right assessment year. Remember, you will be filing income tax returns for the financial year 2019-20 and, thus, assessment year 2020-21. You must also double-check your bank account details. Entering incorrect details could lead to a delay in getting your tax refund.

This year, you will have to make scrip-wise disclosure of long-term capital gains made on sale of equity-oriented mutual fund units or shares. You must ensure that you compute these gains correctly by taking into account the market value of these investments as on January 31, 2018. You must obtain the NAV of the correct plan (growth/dividend and direct/regular) of the mutual fund scheme.
What if I forget to disclose some income that I had earned in the past financial year? Will the income-tax department send me a notice?
It’s possible that some of us forget to disclose certain incomes, even if unintentionally, in the rush to file our tax returns. This is the case particularly with salaried individuals who rely on their Forms 16, which does not contain details of capital gains made, fixed or savings deposit interest income, for instance. If the income tax department detects this missing income, you could end up with a notice.
Do I need to complete the verification process after filing tax returns?
Yes. Simply because it won’t be considered complete until you verify the returns within 120 days of having filed it. And, many forget to do so even though the electronic process can be completed in a matter of minutes. You can also download the ITR-V, or acknowledgement form and send it physically to the tax department’s CPC in Bengaluru.
Should I opt for the e-verification process or the physical mode?
It is best to take the online route. The physical process is more laborious – you have to download, print and sign the hard copy before sending it to Income Tax CPC, Bengaluru, by post. On the other hand, e-verification takes just a few minutes. You can use Aadhaar-OTP or your internet banking account, your pre-validated bank or demat account to generate an electronic verification code (EVC) to complete the process.