If an assesses has income less than Rs. 3 lakhs and decides to file her return offline, he/she can either download the forms from the income tax website (www.incometaxindia.gov.in) or Contact Us. He/She has to write down all the details required in the form, and then submit to the assessing officer concerned or to the help desk, which is called “Aaykar Sampark Kendra”. Along with the ITR form, he/she also has to fill up the acknowledgement form, which has the summary of the ITR. A stamped copy of the acknowledgement form is given back to the assesses.
While the offline process is available, it is better to go online, for various reasons.
In the online mode, some data, such as personal details, are automatically filled by the software, based on information given by the taxpayer in the previous year’s ITR or Permanent Account Number (PAN). This saves time and increases convenience.
Using government website:
Earlier, the process was only partially online. Now, it is fully online as well.
In the partial online process, you first need to download the relevant ITR form from the website and save it on your desktop. Fill up the return offline and generate a file in the XML (or Java) format, which has to then be saved on the computer. Go back to the website, and register if you haven’t already done so. If you have an user identity (PAN) and password, use these to login. On the left panel, click on “upload return”, select the relevant ITR form and assessment year, and upload the saved XML file. Once it is uploaded and submitted, an acknowledgement is generated. You will receive this in your email as well.
The fully online process is similar, except there is no need to download the form. You can fill the details online itself and upload the form directly.
Using service provider:
Most service providers have in-built, self-designed, user-friendly software on their websites, and these don’t have to be downloaded.
You just need to follow the instructions and fill up the form. Some service providers, to make the process even simpler, follow a question-and-answer format. If you only have a Form 16 as income proof, which captures all the income you earned during the previous financial year, you can upload this itself and the software picks the relevant details and fills the form for you.
You can also send a soft copy of the Form 16, and the company will use it to fill the ITR and send to you.
Whether you go through a government website or a private service provider, the final form has to be submitted online.
If the return is digitally signed or if you have mentioned your Aadhaar number, you can take a printout of the acknowledgement (ITR-V), and you do not have to send it to the income tax department’s Centralized Processing Center (CPC). Save a copy for your record. If the return is not digitally signed, the ITR-V has to be sent to the CPC by post. Once it is received, you will get a confirmation mail.
After the ITR-V is received, the tax department checks the filed return for mistakes before it is sent for processing. An intimation is sent by the tax department after checking for any arithmetical error, incorrect claim, excessive deduction or wrong exemption in the return of income filed by the taxpayer for a particular financial year. After matching the return filed by an individual with the in-house data, another mail is sent to the assesses, which is called intimation under section 143(1). This intimation is important if there is a tax demand and the taxpayer has to take further action.
In other cases, it just serves as a communication from the I-T department about correctness of the return you filed.