Benefits of E-Filing Income Tax Returns
Benefits of E-Filing Income Tax Returns
Filing of Income Tax Returns is mandatory for all assessees whose taxable income exceeds the basic exemption limit. A basic exemption limit is an amount fixed by the Government in the interests of social justice. Individuals whose taxable income falls below the threshold limit are exempted from the requirement to pay income tax. In case the income earned by an individual exceeds the basic exemption limit, the assessee faces the requirement both to pay income-tax and also file the income-tax returns. Both the payment of tax and filing of the returns should be performed on or before the due date. The due date varies depending on whether the assessee is corporate or an individual. It also varies depending on whether the assessee is covered by a mandatory tax-audit or not. In earlier years, the process of filing tax returns was manual and thus not only cumbersome but also highly prone to errors and clerical mistakes. At present, the Income Tax Department has initiated the mechanism of e-filing for the purpose of creating a tax system that makes the process of income-tax assessment easy and convenient. In this article, we discuss the various benefits of e-filing income tax returns.
Methods of Filing Returns
To start with, let us understand the various methods through which returns can be filed:
- Manual Filing – This is the traditional method of filing returns in which taxpayers file returns manually by visiting the income tax office.
- eFiling Intermediaries – For taxpayers whose schedule is too tightly packed to file returns, an agent, a chartered accountant or a firm could take the responsibility of formulating and submitting the returns on his/her behalf.
Benefits of E-Filing
Getting back to the context of this article, let us examine how e-filing scores over the traditional method of manual filing. The following are the advantages of e-filing:
All, or at least the majority of modern-day systems offer convenience to its users, and so is the case with income-tax. Manual filing involves visiting a tax office crammed with people, making the entire process tiresome and time-consuming for the taxpayer. On the other hand, e-filing of returns reduces the strain by facilitating the taxpayers to file returns from the comfort of their homes.
It is not that taxpayers wouldn’t be made aware of their ITR status in the past. However, it used to be a game of patience as the concerned person was intimated of it only through postal means. This accorded the user with neither power nor convenience, as the taxpayer would have to depend on postal services, which would restrict the user to track the status on his/her discretion. The method of filing returns online benefits the taxpayer with the option of tracking status according to his/her wish. It facilitates the user to check whether the particular return has been received by the Income Tax Department, its current stage of progress or the status of an income tax refund.
Access to Documents
E-filing of returns prompts the user to upload the necessary documents, thus creating a database which could be accessed whenever the need arises. Manual filing of returns had no such provision.
Taxpayers can claim their refunds by filing returns. The digital medium has been brought into the fray to make way for quicker processing over the archaic ones in the country, which had previously inflicted a severe burden on the common man, for whatever service it might have been. E-filing of returns under income-tax provides the taxpayer with an edge, as he/she is likely to receive funds faster than he/she ever could have under manual filing.
Auto-population of Records
Manual filing of returns involves the manual filling of forms, which is an activity dreaded by many. E-filing takes away such complexities as the data is auto-populated during the initial filing of returns, making it easier for the applicant on the filing of prospective returns.
Errors at Bay
We, humans, are prone to errors, especially when it comes to computations. Filing of return involves a lot of computations, and manual filing could lead to the furnishing of incorrect details due to erroneous calculations. The e-filing mechanism curbs this deficit by way of its tax calculation mechanism.
Efficiency in Cost
In the absence of a calculating tool, the taxpayer might be required to hire a professional to make the essential computations; which effectively means the taxpayer would be obligated to pay more. The provision of e-filing is set to spare the taxpayer from such financial burdens.
Previously, income-tax returns were dispatched to CPC Bengaluru, which handled the aspects of verification. Income tax returns can now be verified online through the e-verification facility. However, for making use of the e-filing facility, the assessee should have an aadhaar card. Moreover, the phone number mentioned in the aadhaar card should be valid, since the verification OTP (One Time Password) is sent only to that phone number.