FAQ on Return of Income
What is a return of income?
It is a prescribed form through which the
particulars of income earned by a person in a financial year and
taxes paid on such income is communicated to the Income tax
department after the end of the Financial year. Different forms
are prescribed for filing of returns for different Status and
Nature of income.
How do I choose a return applicable for me?
You choose a return form according to your
status and nature of income from the following:
For Individuals having Income from Salary/ Pension/
family pension & Interest
For Individuals and HUFs not having Income from
Business or Profession
For Individuals/HUFs being partners in firms and
not carrying out business or profession under any
For individuals & HUFs having income from a
proprietary business or profession
For firms, AOPs and BOIs
For Companies other than companies claiming
exemption under section 11
For persons including companies required to furnish
return under section 139(4A) or section 139(4B) or section
139(4C) or section 139(4D)
Return for Fringe Benefits
Where the data of the Return of Income/Fringe
Benefits in Form ITR-1, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4, ITR-5, ITR-6 &
ITR-8 transmitted electronically without digital signature
What are the due dates for filing a return of income?
The due dates are as follows:
Companies & and Directors
Other business entities, other than companies, if
their accounts are auditable & their working partners
In all other case
What documents are to be enclosed along with the
return of income?
The new return form numbering 1 to 8 is annexure
less. Hence no documents need to be attached.
Where and how am I supposed to file my return?
A return is to be filed before your Assessing
officer. It may even be sent by post or filed electronically.
Nowadays returns are also being received at designated post
Who is an Assessing officer?
He/She is an officer of the Income tax department who has been
given jurisdiction over a particular geographical territory or
class of persons.
How is a return filed electronically?
Companies and firms are compulsorily required to
file their return electronically, while for others it is still
optional. For electronic filing of return you have to log on to
the Departmental website http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/ and
upload the information of income and taxes in the prescribed
form. If you have digital signature the same can be appended and
there would be no need to file a paper return. In case you do not
have a digital signature you will be required to file a paper
return quoting the provisional acknowledgement number received on
completion of uploading.
I am going out of India. Who will file my income tax return for
You can authorize any person by way of a Power of
Attorney to file your return. A copy of the Power of Attorney
should be enclosed with the return.
Will I be put to any disadvantage by filing my return?
No. On the contrary by not filing your return in
spite of having taxable income, you will be laying yourself open
to the penal and prosecution provisions under the Income-tax
What are the benefits of filing my return of
Filing of return is your constitutional duty and
earns for you the dignity of consciously contributing to the
development of the nation. This apart, your IT returns validate
your credit worthiness before financial institutions and make it
possible for you to access many financial benefits such as bank
Is it necessary to file return of income when I do
not have any positive income?
If you have sustained a loss in the financial year,
which you propose to carry forward to the subsequent year for
adjustment against its positive income, you must make a claim of
loss by filing your return before the due date.
If I fail to furnish my return within the due
date of filing, will I be fined or penalized?
Yes. This may take the form of interest if the
return is not filed before the end of the assessment year. If the
return is not filed even after the end of the assessment year,
penalty may also be levied.
Can a return be filed after the due date?
Yes. It may be furnished at any time before the expiry of two
years from the end of the financial year in which the income was
earned. For example, in case of income earned during FY 2006-07,
the belated return can be filed before 31st March 2009.
So far I have never paid any tax. If I file a
return this year will the IT department ask me about my earlier
It is never too late to start honoring your
constitutional obligations for payment of tax. The department may
ask you to file return of income for earlier years if it finds
that you had taxable income in those years.
If I have paid excess tax how and when will it be
The excess tax can be claimed as refund by filing
your income tax return. It will be refunded by issue of cheque or
by crediting to your bank account. The department has been making
efforts to settle refund claims within four months from the month
of filing return.
Am I required to keep a copy of the return filed as proof and for
Yes. Since legal proceedings under the income tax act can be
initiated up to six years prior to the current financial year,
you must maintain such documents at least for this period.
There are various deductions that have not been reflected in the
Form 16 issued by my employer. Can I claim them in my return?
Why is return filing mandatory even though all my
taxes and interests have been paid and there is no refund due to
Amounts paid as advance tax and withheld in the
form of TDS or collected in the form of TCS will take the
character of your tax due only on completion of self-assessment
of your income. This self-assessment is intimated to the
department by way of filing of return. Only then does the
government acquire rights over the prepaid taxes as its own
revenue. Filing of return is critical for this process and,
hence, has been made mandatory. Failure will attract levy of
Am I liable for any criminal prosecution [arrest/imprisonment
etc] if I dont file my income tax return even though my income is
Non-payment of tax attracts interests, penalty and
prosecution. The prosecution can lead to rigorous imprisonment
from 6 months to 7 years and fine.