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Income tax returns can be filed in 2 ways—online and offline. In the former method, you can enter all the necessary details on an online form and submit it. With the latter method, you have to download the applicable income tax utility either in excel or java format, fill the form, save the changes, generate an XML file, and upload it on the website.

You may be thinking of choosing the easiest method, i.e. the online method. However, not everyone can use this method. Only those who are eligible for ITR-1 and ITR-4 can use the online method for income tax return filing. On the other hand, those who come under ITR-2 and ITR-3 must mandatorily use the offline method to file returns. You even have the option to fill ITR-1 and ITR-4 offline.

  1. What is an ITR XML file?
  2. Procedure to file returns with XML file
  3. Which ITR form should you file with?
  4. What preparations are required?

1. What is an ITR XML file?

XML is a file format. It is easier to upload the information you have entered in the offline form when converted to XML file. Upon uploading the XML file, the data will easily be distributed onto the online repository of income tax department.

2. Procedure to file returns with XML file

Don’t worry about the procedure. Here is a step-by-step guide for you.

Step 1: Visit the income tax e-filing portal at www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

Step 2: Look for the ‘Download’ section on the homepage of the website.

Step 3: Select the assessment year for which you want to file returns. Based on the type of income you have received in the financial year, choose and download the corresponding ITR Form (offline utility).

Step 4: Click on the ‘Pre-fill’ button to pre-populate the personal information, income details and tax payment/TDS details, and other details.

Step 5: Once you fill-in the other information, click on ‘Calculate’ to compute the tax and interest liability. You can also get to know the tax payable or refund you will receive.

Step 6: Save all the changes and click on ‘Generate XML’ option. You can save the generated XML file at the desired location for easy access. It is recommended to open the file and check if all the information you have entered is correct.

Now, log in to your account on e-filing portal and upload the generated XML file. That’s it. You are done with filing returns!

3. Which ITR form should you file with?

If you have any confusion about which ITR form you should file, the table below gives you a clear idea.

ITR FormWho is it for?
ITR-1For resident individual with a total annual income of up to Rs.50 lakh. The source of income can be salary, one house property, and other sources. Income from agriculture of up to Rs.5,000.
ITR-2
For individuals and Hindu undivided family (HUF) who do not earn income from profits and gains of business/ profession, and those who are not eligible to file ITR-2.
ITR-3For individuals and Hindu undivided family (HUF) who earn income from profits and gains of business/profession.
ITR-4For resident individuals, HUFs, and firms having a total annual income of up to Rs.50 lakh and having income from business or profession computed under Section 44AD, 44ADA or 44AE.
ITR-5For Firms, LLP, AOP and BOI.
ITR-7For those who are required to furnish returns under Section 139(4A), 139(4B), 139(4C), or 139 (4D).

4. What preparations are required?

Before you begin worrying about ITR XML file, it is recommended to gather all the necessary documents and keep them handy. You may need documents such as updated bank passbook, salary slips, Form 16, Form 26AS, investment proofs, insurance documents, loans papers, rent receipts, and other documents as per your tax statement.
Do keep all these proofs handy to facilitate your income tax filing.

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