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What is Income Tax Return (ITR)? How to File Income Tax Returns

What is Income Tax Return (ITR)? How to File Income Tax Returns

Income tax return is a form that allows you to file your taxes with the Income Tax Department. In most cases, the tax return is a worksheet with predefined parameters, which helps calculate your income tax liability based on your income.

The legal framework requires every individual and business to file income tax for each financial year. The returns must be filed for any income earned as a salary, interest, dividends, capital gains, or other sources. More importantly, the income tax returns must be filed before the specified date to avoid late charges and other penalties.

If the income tax return (ITR) shows that you have paid more than the liability, you may file for a refund of the excess tax. However, such refunds are subject to the calculations made by the Income Tax Department.

There are different types of ITR forms. These are classified as under:


This form must be used if your income is earned through either a salary or pension. Additionally, if you have income from house property or other sources, excluding lottery winnings or income earned through horseracing, you need to file this ITR form.

If your annual income exceeds INR 50 lakh or you own foreign assets, you cannot file using this form. Moreover, the form may not be used for taxable capital gains, income from multiple properties, agricultural income exceeding INR 5,000, or income from profession or business.


If your annual income from house property, salary or pension, or other sources exceeds INR 50 lakh, you must file your ITR using this form. If you club income of your spouse or children with your annual income, you must file income tax using form 2. However, this form is not to be used if your individual income includes earnings from a profession or business.


An individual who earns an income from carrying on a profession or business is eligible to file income using the form 3. The form may also be used if your earnings include income from pension or salary or other sources.


If you have opted for the presumptive income scheme under section 44AD, 44ADA, and 44AE, you must use form 4 to file your income tax ITR. However, if your total annual turnover is more than INR 2 crore, you will have to file your income tax using form 3.


Form 5 is used to file income tax by limited liability partnerships (LLPs), a body of individuals (BOIs), and an association of persons (AOPs).


Form 6 must be filed electronically by companies that are not exempt under section 11, which provides guidelines for income from property held for religious or charitable uses.


Any individual or company that must furnish income tax ITR under sections 139 (4A), 139 (4B), 139 (4C), and 139 (4D) must file returns using form 7.You may easily file your ITR form online, also known as e-filing, which makes the entire procedure simple, quick, and hassle-free. 

Here are some tips to help you do it online:

Know the basic rules

Before you file your returns online, it is recommended you understand the basic rules and changes that may have been made for the current year. It is also important you know the tax rates to calculate your tax liability accurately.

Modifications to the ITR forms

The Income Tax Department has modified the various forms in the current year. Before you file your returns online, understanding these changes will ensure you are able to complete the procedure without any trouble.

Decide the relevant ITR form

As discussed above, there are multiple forms and you must know the one that you need to file. It is recommended you read the various rules and regulations to know the form you must use to file your income tax return.

Verify Form 26AS

You must check and verify that the details on the tax credit statement (Form 26AS) are accurate. This form provides details on the tax deducted at source (TDS) by your employers and others.

Check the minutiae 

Certain headings, like interest, may be slightly complicated. Moreover, salary misreporting is another common error. It is crucial you check all these minor details to avoid any issues in the future.

Missed out deductions

The Income Tax Act provides several tax benefits and deductions. You must ensure you take advantage of the income tax deductions to minimize your tax liability.

Once you file the returns online with the digital copies of the required documents, you must verify the same. Failing to do so renders the filing incomplete and you may have to pay a penalty for late filing.


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