As an Indian, you would surely be aware that July 31, 2023, is the deadline for filing Income Tax Returns for the assessment year 2023-2024. It’s quite likely that the Income Tax Department could extend this deadline, similar to previous years, to enable a higher number of persons to file their Income Tax returns.
By law, every Indian of working age is expected to file an ITR, regardless of whether or not their income is taxable. However, few people consider this requirement as important and hence, don’t file their ITRs.
Filing an ITR has several benefits.
Even a zero deduction Income Tax certificate that states your PAN card number, name and address have legal validity as proof of your identity and residence in India. Several countries require your Income Tax returns certificate for the last three years while applying for a visa.
Most people ignore filing their IT returns because they believe it’s a complex process that requires paying a Chartered Accountant. However, that’s not the case. Anyone can file their ITR for free through the Sahaj portal launched a few years ago by the Income Tax Department.
To access the Sahaj portal, visit the Income Tax Department’s website and select the option of filing your ITR online. As a first-time user, it's necessary to create an account using your Aadhar card and PAN card number as username and password. You can also use a valid email ID or some other details to create a username and account.
Upon registration, you will be led to the ITR filing page. The rest of the job is easy. All you have to do is key in the total income and provide figures for the money spent on house rent, housing loans, insurance policy premiums, and other necessities. This work involves only keying in the figures.
At this stage, never fake your figures such as income and outgoes because that’s equal to cheating the tax authorities and can attract stiff penalties under the Income Tax Act.
There’re simple rows on the Sahaj portal where you have to only key in the exact or approximate figures. It's also possible to get an exemption from Income Tax for donations given to registered charities and expenses on education and healthcare.
Once you key in all the figures under their various heads, the portal automatically calculates your tax liability. At this stage, you also have to select a bank to receive your Income Tax returns, if any. Always give details of your main bank or the one where you receive you salary or wages of profits of the business.
Ensure that you provide the proper details of the bank. This means giving your correct email ID, phone number, IFSC code, accounts number and name and location of the bank and its branch.
To complete filing your ITR, submit the online form and acknowledge with your Aadhar card verification. You will get an OTP. Once you key in the OTP, your name and ITR filing will be submitted successfully. You will receive an SMS and an email acknowledging the filing of the ITR for the assessment year.