Income Tax Filing
For Income Tax Filing, you have to register and create an account on the official portal of the Income Tax Department. As on June 26, 2023, there are 11,14,48,568 Individual Registered Users on this portal. This portal provides single-window access to income-tax-related services for taxpayers.
If you are new to income tax return (ITR) filing , it’s important to note that you can only file it electronically (e-filing) through the income tax website. However, there is a special provision for individuals aged 80 years or above, known as very senior citizens. They may have the option to file their income tax return in paper mode if they meet certain criteria.
However, for most individuals, whether they file their tax return independently, seek help from a chartered accountant or tax expert, or use private tax filing portals and intermediaries, it is mandatory to file their ITR online.
To file your tax return online, you need to have an account on the Income Tax e-Filing portal, which you can access at https://www.incometax.gov.in/iec/foportal/. Before you start the filing process, it’s important to become familiar with some important features of your Income Tax e-Filing account. Let’s take a look at these features.
Who needs to file an income tax return?
According to the Income Tax Act of 1961, it is mandatory to file your income tax return (ITR) if your income exceeds the basic exemption limit. For the financial year 2022-23 (assessment year 2023-24), the deadline to file the income tax return is July 31, 2023. The basic exemption limit is set at up to Rs 2.5 lakh for individuals below the age of 60 years, up to Rs 3 lakh for individuals between the age of 61 and 80 years, and up to Rs 5 lakh for individuals above the age of 80 years.
In addition to the basic exemption limit, there are certain other situations where filing a tax return becomes necessary. For example, if you have incurred capital losses in the financial year and want to carry them forward to offset against future income, you need to claim the loss by filing your tax return before the due date. Other circumstances that require filing of tax returns include exceeding a specific amount on your credit card bill or foreign tour expenses, earning income from a foreign country, and more.
How to register and create an e-filing account?
Visit the official portal of the Income Tax Department, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, at https://www.incometax.gov.in/iec/foportal/. This portal offers a convenient platform for taxpayers to access various income tax-related services. As of June 26, 2023, there are 11,14,48,568 registered individual users on this portal. To create your account, click on the ‘Register’ tab located at the top right-hand side of the portal.
When you click on the registration tab, you will be prompted to enter your 10-digit alphanumeric permanent account number (PAN). This step is taken to verify the authenticity of your PAN number and check if it is already registered with the department.
Once your PAN is verified, the next step is to confirm your registration as an ‘Individual taxpayer’. It is important to ensure that your status is accurate because the following screens will depend on this information.
Furthermore, you will be asked to enter your last name, middle name, and first name. It is crucial to provide accurate information that matches the details on your PAN, as they will be validated when you click the ‘Continue’ button. Additionally, you will need to select your gender and residential status.
For verification purposes, you must provide a primary mobile number and email Id. It is important to confirm whether these contact details belong to you or someone else.
During the third step, you will be asked to provide your postal address. It is important to note that all the information mentioned earlier is required for the registration process. Make sure to provide accurate details at each step to avoid any errors or inconsistencies and ensure a seamless and successful registration.
Finally, you will be prompted to set a password. After clicking on ‘Continue’, a six-digit OTP1 and OTP2 will be sent to your registered mobile number and email ID. Enter the correct OTPs to finalize the registration process.
E-filing vault for higher security (Income Tax Filing)
Once you have created your account, it is strongly advised to set up the e-filing vault as a priority. This extra security measure adds an additional layer of protection when logging into your e-filing account, ensuring the safety of your financial information from unauthorized access. By enabling the e-filing vault, a one-time password (OTP) will be required each time you or anyone else tries to access your e-filing account.
Since e-filing accounts hold important financial information like PAN, address, bank account details, tax deductions, and past income tax return history, it is extremely important to prioritize the security of your account. The e-filing vault feature serves this purpose by providing effective protection for your account.
To make use of the e-vault feature, go to the ‘Profile settings’ tab and find the option ‘E-filing Vault – higher security’. Click on it to choose one or more higher security methods: linking your Aadhaar for OTP generation, using net banking, or obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). Once you have made your selection, the next time you log in, an additional authentication step will be required using Aadhaar, net banking, or DSC. For example, if you choose net banking, you will need to log in to your net banking account in order to access the e-filing portal. To use Aadhaar or DSC, you must first register these details with your e-filing account.
By utilizing the e-filing vault, you can strengthen the security of your e-filing account and safeguard the confidentiality and accuracy of your financial information.
Update other information
Once you have improved the security of your account, go to the “Your Profile” section and carefully check the accuracy of your personal details, such as your name, date of birth (DOB), and address. It is essential to verify that all the information is correct. If necessary, you can make edits and updates. Moreover, you have the choice to provide your bank account information and nominate a specific account to receive any potential tax refunds.
Additionally, you have the option to provide information about your Demat Account and register a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC), but please note that these steps are not compulsory.
Furthermore, if you require assistance or guidance from an e-return intermediary or a chartered accountant for tax filing and related services, you have the option to add their information to your profile.
In certain situations, you can register as a representative assesses for another individual, allowing you to perform activities on their behalf within the e-filing platform. Alternatively, you also have the option to register another person as your representative for specific situations.
The other uses
Although the main purpose of registering and creating an account with the income tax department is for e-filing tax returns, it is worth noting that the account can be used for various other purposes too. In addition to filing returns, the account grants access to a wide range of information and documents.
For example, in your account, you have the ability to view and download past tax returns, Form 26AS, Annual Information Statement (AIS), and other documents. Moreover, the account can be utilized to resolve any grievances regarding e-filing portal registration, profile or password problems, verification of ITR/Forms, e-proceedings, Instant PAN (e-PAN) through Aadhaar, or concerns related to income tax-related cybercrime.
Likewise, if you have any concerns related to refund processing, rectifying errors, correcting demands, appealing orders, PAN-related applications, or any other miscellaneous applications that are awaiting action from the Assessing Officer (AO), you can raise these matters through your account.
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