Income Tax in India : Guide, IT Returns, E-filing Process 2018
Taxes in India can be categorized as direct and indirect taxes. Direct tax is a tax you pay on your income directly to the government. Indirect tax is a tax that somebody else collects on your behalf and pays to the government eg restaurants, theatres and e-commerce websites recover taxes from you on goods you purchase or a service you avail. This tax is, in turn, passed down to the government.
Direct Taxes are broadly classified as :
Income Tax – This is taxes an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family or any taxpayer other than companies, pay on the income received. The law prescribes the rate at which such income should be taxed
Corporate Tax – This is the tax that companies pay on the profits they make from their businesses. Here again, a specific rate of tax for corporates has been prescribed by the income tax laws of India.
Indirect taxes take many forms: service tax on restaurant bills and movie tickets, value-added tax or VAT on goods such as clothes and electronics. Goods and services tax, which has recently been introduced is a unified tax that has replaced all the indirect taxes that business owners have to deal with.
Oct – Nov
Deadline to submit your investment proofs
Deadline to make investments under Section 80C
Last date to file your tax return
Time to verify your tax return
Income Tax Basics
Everyone who earns or gets an income in India is subject to income tax. (Yes, be it a resident or a non-resident of India ). Also read our article on Income Tax for NRIs. Your income could be salary, pension or could be from a savings account that’s quietly accumulating a 4% interest. Even, winners of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ have to pay tax on their prize money. For simpler classification, the Income Tax Department breaks down income into five heads:
Head of Income
Nature of Income covered
Income from Salary
Income from salary and pension are covered under here
Income from Other Sources
Income from savings bank account interest, fixed deposits, winning
Income from House Property
This is rental income mostly
Income from Capital Gains
Income from sale of a capital asset such as mutual funds, shares,
Income from Business and Profession
This is when you are self-employed, work as a freelancer or contractor, or you run a business. Life insurance agents, chartered accountants, doctors and lawyers who have their own practice, tuition teachers
Taxpayers and Income Tax Slabs
Taxpayers in India, for the purpose of income tax includes:
Individuals, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Association of Persons(AOP) and Body of Individuals (BOI)
Each of these taxpayers is taxed differently under the Indian income tax laws. While firms and Indian companies have a fixed rate of tax of 30% of profits, the individual,HUF, AOP and BOI taxpayers are taxed based on the income slab they fall under. People’s incomes are grouped into blocks called tax brackets or tax slabs. And each tax slab has a different tax rate. In India, we have four tax brackets each with an increasing tax rate.
Income earners of up to 2.5 lakhs
Income earners of between 2.5 lakhs and 5 lakhs
Income earners of between 5 lakhs and 10 lakhs
Those earning more than Rs 10 lakhs
Tax to be paid
Up to Rs.2,50,000
Between Rs 2.5 lakhs and Rs 5 lakhs
5% of your taxable income
Between Rs 5 lakhs and Rs 10 lakhs
Rs 12,500+ 20% of income above Rs 5 lakhs
Above 10 lakhs
Rs 1,12,500+ 30% of income above Rs 10 lakhs
This is the income tax slab for FY 2017-18 for taxpayers under 60 years. There are two other tax slabs for two other age groups: those who are 60 and older and those who are above 80.
A word of note: People often misunderstand that if they earn let’s say Rs.12 lakhs, they will be paying a 30% tax on Rs.12 lakhs i.e Rs.3,60,000. That’s incorrect. A person earning 12 lakhs in the progressive tax system, will pay Rs.1,12,500+ Rs.60,000 = Rs. 1,72,500.
Check out the income tax slabs for previous years and other age brackets.
Exceptions to the Tax Slab
One must bear in mind that not all income can be taxed on slab basis. Capital gains income is an exception to this rule. Capital gains are taxed depending on the asset you own and how long you’ve had it. The holding period would determine if an asset is long term or short term. The holding period to determine nature of asset also differs for different assets. A quick glance of holding periods, nature of asset and the rate of tax for each of them is given below.
Holding more than 12 months – Long Term Holding less than 12 months – Short Term
20% As per Slab Rates
Holding more than 36 months – Long Term Holding less than 36 months – Short Term
20% Depends on slab rate
Residents and non residents:
Levy of income tax in India is dependent on the residential status of a taxpayer. Individuals who qualify as a resident in India must pay tax on their global income in India i.e. income earned in India and abroad. Whereas, those who qualify as Non-residents need to pay taxes only on their Indian income. The residential status has to be determined separately for every financial year for which income and taxes are computed.
Income has been very widely defined in the Income-tax Act. In simple words, income includes salary, pension, rental income, profits out of any business or profession, any profit made out of the sale of any specified asset, interest income, dividends, royalty income etc. The law classifies income under 5 major heads as already mentioned above.
House Property income
Profits and Gains from Business or Profession
Income from other Sources
The law also allows a taxpayer to claim deductions specific to each such income and hence to avail the appropriate deductions, it is important that you classify income under the right heads. Eg. A salaried taxpayer can claim a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 while a taxpayer having rental income from a flat can claim municipal taxes as a deduction.
Income Tax deductions
There are broad themes to what the government incentivizes. These are either in the form of:
Various deductions available under Section 80 of the Income Tax Act which can be claimed from the Total Income or
Deductions that are specific to each source of income.
Some of the key deductions have been discussed here:
Stamp duty and Registration under Section 80C
Home loan principal and interest
First time homeowner benefit of Rs.50,000 under Section 80EE
Maximum allowed (for self-occupied house property)
Maximum allowed (for property on rent)
Stamp duty and registration + principal
Rs.1,50,000 within the overall limit of Section 80C
Rs.1,50,000 within the overall limit of Section 80C
Deduction on home loan interest under Section 24
No cap (but rental income must be shown in the income tax return) Further, maximum loss from house property capped at Rs 2 lakhs
Deduction for first-time homeowners under Section 80EE *certain conditions apply
House Rent Allowance or HRA (for salaried only) Given how many Indians move cities for work, this is a common allowance most salaried individuals can find in their payslips. If you are renting an apartment, be sure to claim this in your tax return.
Section 80GG (if you are renting and don’t get HRA) If you are not salaried, or you are still salaried, but don’t get HRA, then you can claim deduction for rent under Section 80GG. Learn more.
Life insurance premium under Section 80C
Medical insurance under Section 80D
Preventative health checkups under Section 80D
Medical bills (for salaried only)( replaced with standard deduction of Rs 40,000 effective 1 April 2018)
Tax Deductions for health insurance under Section 80D in FY 2017-18
Maximum deduction Below 60 years
Maximum deduction 60 years or older
You, your spouse, your children
Preventative health checkup
Maximum deduction (includes preventative health checkup)
Employee provident fund (for salaried only)Companies cut 12% of your basic salary and put it in a fund managed by EPFO.Public provident fundIndividuals can open a PPF account from a post office or a public sector bank like State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. All of these allow you a deduction under Section 80C upto RS 1.5 lakhs Contribution to NPS is also another tax saving avenue for claim of deduction under Section 80CCD
Other investment avenues
Running a business and wondering how to go about your taxes? It is simple. Take your gross receipts from your business and reduce various business related expenses from it eg telephone, internet, salary you pay to people you have hired, depreciation on the items that you use for your business like computer etc. What you are left with are your profits that you need to offer as your Income from Business. Similar is the method of computing your taxable profits if you are carrying out a profession too. But make sure you maintain proper books of accounts recording all your business transactions as law mandates that you do do. However, if you do not want to maintain books, you may opt for Presumptive taxation scheme where you will have to offer a fixed percentage of your gross receipts as your income.
Income of certain nature will suffer a Tax Deduction at source itself. Eg salary, interest, rent, commission etc. The person in charge of paying such income will have to mandatorily deduct taxes before making the payment subject to certain conditions. Similarly, one may be liable to pay advance taxes if taxes payable after reducing TDS is Rs 10,000 or more. After TDS and advance tax, if there still tax to be paid, the same would be paid in the form of Self Assessment Taxes. All of the above taxes paid i.e. TDS, Advance Tax and Self Assessment Tax would reflect in Form 26AS of the taxpayer which is a significant document one needs to rely on while filing the return of income. This Form 26AS is called the tax credit statement that contains all the tax credits lying against you PAN for any given financial year.
Income Tax Rules
While the Income Tax Act, 1961 is the law enacted by the legislature for governing and administering income taxes in India, Income Tax Rules, 1962 has been framed to help apply and enforce the law contained in the Act. Further, the Rules cannot be read independently. They must be read in conjunction with the Act only. Further, the Rules must be within the framework of the Act and cannot override the provisions of the Act. For example, the Act lays down the law with regard to taxability of perquisites given by the employer to his employees as “salary”. However, it does not discuss how the perquisites must be valued. Such valuation is in turn prescribed under Rule 3 of the Income-tax Rules.
Income Tax Calculation
Every income that your receive should form part of your income tax return. Of course, the law does provide for exemption of certain incomes eg. dividend income from an Indian company, LTCG on listed equity shares upto Rs 1 lakh in any financial year etc. Therefore, here is a quick guideline you can probably follow to compute taxes due on your income:
List down all your income – be it salary, rental income, capital gains, interest income or profits from your business or profession
Remove incomes that are exempt under law
Claim all applicable deductions available under every source of income . eg claim standard deduction of Rs 40,000 from salary income, claim municipal taxes from rental income, claim business related expenses from your business turnover etc
Claim all applicable exemptions under every head of income eg. amount reinvested in another house property can be claimed as exemption from capital gains income etc
Claim applicable deductions from your total income eg the 80 deductions like 80C, 80D, 80TTA, 80TTB etc
You will now arrive at your taxable income. Check the tax slab you fall under and accordingly arrive at your income tax payable.
The government keeps introducing and altering tax slabs, schemes and tax benefits, so it’s a good idea to keep up with the Budget.
The Government collects income tax from three channels:
Self Assessment tax
TDS exists to help government get tax throughout the year. There’s a prescribed table on how much tax deducted under what circumstances.
Your employer cuts TDS based on the information available to him about you. So if you’ve made investments, but have not declared or if you live in a rented house, but have not shared rent receipts, your finance department will have no choice but to deduct tax based on only thing they know – your CTC.
This is why the investment proofs deadline in your office is super important. Save yourself some headache and submit your investment proofs on time.
Banks don’t know if you’re working in a company or if income from fixed deposits is what you solely rely on. So they deduct a standard 10% tax before they give away the interest. Now if you fall in the 20% or 30% bracket, it’s on you to pay the remainder of the income tax. That’s why sometimes you may find yourself paying some tax at the time of filing a tax return.
Make sure banks have your PAN number. They deduct 20% tax if they don’t have your PAN in their records.
Anyone who’s receiving an income of a specified nature say salary, interest, commission, rent, professional income etc. will have some percentage of tax withheld as prescribed by the government.
Self-employed people must do the calculation themselves and pay the tax to the Government periodically every quarter.The deadlines are:
Advance Tax Payable
On or before 15th June
15% of advance tax
On or before 15th September
45% of advance tax
On or before 15th December
75% of advance tax
On or before 15th March
100% of advance tax
To calculate your advance tax:
Add up all the invoices received and include future payments you will be receiving till March 31 to estimate your taxable income.
Deduct expenses directly related to your business, and any investments you have made under Section 80C in order to arrive at your taxable income.
Determine your tax liability for the year
Reduce the Tax already deducted at source from your tax liability as determined above
If the remaining tax payable is greater than Rs 10,000 you will have to pay advance taxes based on the rates prescribed in the above table.
When you are filing a tax return and you find out that you need to pay additional tax, you’d be paying self assessment tax. Another way to think about this would be.
if you are paying tax for a financial year after the deadline has ended, you will pay self assessment tax.
if you are paying tax for a financial year during the financial year, you will pay advance tax.
Payment of TDS Advance Tax and Self Assessment Tax:
TDS is deducted by the payer himself and remitted to the government by him. Hence the taxpayer need not worry about this part of his tax liability. As regards advance tax and self assessment tax, the same can be discharged online using Challan 280. Read our detailed guide on payment of taxes online.
Income Tax Return
An Income Tax Return is a form where a taxpayer discloses details of his income, claims applicable deductions and exemptions and taxes that are payable on the taxable income. Further, details of taxes paid also reflect in the return. Any excess tax paid for a year will be claimed as a refund in the return of income.
Some taxpayers who are into any business or profession disclose details of such business or profession like turnover, expenses relating to business, profits from business etc.
All the above information, put together, form part of your return and is filed with the Income Tax Department.
Income Tax Return Filing
Filing of income tax return online has been made mandatory for all classes of taxpayers barring few exceptions :
Taxpayers aged 80 and above need not filed return online
Taxpayers having an income less than Rs 5 lakhs and not claiming a refund need not file return online
Do note that deadlines for filing of returns have also been prescribed. For most individual taxpayers, the due date for filing return of income is 31 July immediately following the concerned financial year. If you do not file on time, here are some disadvantage:
You will be denied carry forward of losses (except house property loss) to future years
Delay processing of refund claims if any
Difficulty on getting home loans
Levy of late filing fee upto Rs 10,000 under Section 234F
Levy of interest under 234A if there are taxes due as on 31 July
E-filing online is a more complete and better alternative to filing on the income tax website. Also it is for more than just e-filing your income tax return. ClearTax helps you claim all the deductions you’re eligible for and helps you invest.
Once you file your return online, you either e-verify the same or take a print of the ITR V and send it to CPC, bangalore for processing of your return. Read our detailed article on e-verification of return of income
ITR forms i.e. the return filing forms have been prescribed differently based on the class of taxpayers and the source of income. See below for further clarity
Documents Required for ITR Filing
Form 16, Form 26AS, Form 16A, proof of tax saving investments made, bank account details etc are some of the crucial details / documents that you need to be ready with before filing your return. Further the documents you are going to need to file your tax return are largely going to depend on your source of income. Here is our detailed article on documents you need for filing of your return of income
Income Tax Faqs
When it is mandatory to file return of income ?
It is mandatory to file return of income for a company and a firm. However, individuals, HUF, AOP, BOI are mandatorily required to file return of income if the income exceed basis exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakhs. This limit is different for senior citizens and super senior citizens.
What are the maximum exemption limit and slab rates applicable for Assessment Year 2018-19 ?
Resident and non-resident individuals
Senior Citizens (Above 60 yrs but less than 80 yrs)
Super Senior Citizens (Above 80 yrs)
Upto Rs. 250,000
Rs. 250,001 – Rs. 300,000
Rs. 300,001 – Rs. 500,000
Rs. 500,001 – Rs. 10,00,000
Above Rs. 10,00,000
Can i file return of income even if my income is below taxable limits ?
Yes, you can file return of income voluntarily even if your income is less than basic exemption limit
What documents are to be enclosed along the return of income?
There is no need to enclose any documents with the return of income. However, one should retain the documents to produce before any competent authority as and when required in future.
Should I disclose all my income in the return even if it is exempt?
Yes. Income from every source including exempt income must be disclosed. The same can be shown under the Schedule EI.
Income Tax Tax Glossary
Form 26AS is a tax summary statement that contains all the tax payments you’ve made yourself (self-assessment tax/ advance tax) or tax someone deducted (TDS) on your behalf. You’re going to need this document when you are doing your income tax e-filing. Form 26AS can be downloaded from www.incometaxindiaefiling.com
If you need to know whether or not your company has given you some tax allowance like your offer letter says, or want to see how much tax has been deducted throughout the year, or need to see EPF contributions, wouldn’t it be easier if you could see them all in one place? That’s your Form 16. Form 16 has:
a summary of all the tax deducted by each quarter
all the tax benefits and allowances you’ve availed as a salaried individual
Section 80C deductions you’ve claimed through your employer
and your taxable income after allowances and Section 80C deductions
This is a super important document for all salaried individuals. And having a Form 16 makes e-filing your income tax return very simple. You can upload your Form 16 and e-file your income tax return. No income tax login required.
Form 16A is very similar to a Form 16 in that it contains how much tax was deducted over what income. So how’s Form 16A different? Form 16A will never be issued by an employer. They’re usually given to you by a bank that’s deducting TDS, or a company that’s deducted tax on your freelancing service.
Investment submission proof deadline
Depending on how large your company is, you might have two deadlines related to investment proofs. There’s one in the beginning of the year (April) that needs you to just declare how much money you’re planning to invest in Section 80C. This will give an indication on how much they need to deduct in TDS.Again in the last quarter (roughly between December and February), you will be asked to submit investment proofs. This is when you need to submit all your rent receipts, medical bills (if you’re getting medical reimbursement), investments under Section 80C, 80D. Learn more about Investment submission proof deadline
Assessment Year/ Financial Year
Financial Year runs between April 1 and March 31 of each year. Income tax is calculated for this period. Income tax returns are assessed the year after the financial year has finished. So that’s your Assessment Year. During the assessment year, taxpayers file their income tax return. Income tax return and refunds are processed by the I-T Department that year.
ITRV stands for Income Tax Return – Verification. After filing your tax return online, you must print and sign a 1-page document and send it to the Income Tax Department.
Challan 280 is the slip that you will use for online income tax payment. Follow this guide to learn how to pay tax due. This is the link to the Income Tax Department website. If you are a taxpayer, you’re going to need to use for:
Getting your tax credit statement Form 26AS
Getting your tax records for home loan or visa application
Verifying your income tax return after ITR submission
Here we have listed the most frequently downloaded documents and the format for the respective passwords.
To understand the application of these passwords better, let’s take an example
Rohan is a resident individual who has been filing his tax returns for over ten years. His date of birth is 24.02.1988. Rohan’s PAN is AAOPK0029P
Refund arises when taxes paid are higher than your actual tax liability (including interest). It could be in the form of advance tax, self-assessment tax, tax deducted at source, foreign tax credit etc. Read on to understand more about an income tax refund.
Though agricultural income is exempt from income tax, the act has laid down a method to indirectly tax such income. This method or concept is called as the partial integration of agricultural income with non-agricultural income. Read more about the taxation of this income here.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) authorizes Income tax officers to accept such returns claiming an exemption, deduction, refund, carry forward of losses as the case may be, even after the expiry of the due dates prescribed. Section 119 of the Income tax act deals this. Visit to know more.
The article lays down the difference between assessment and reassessment and basic information about income escaping assessment. It also gives the timelines for the issue of notice for income escaping assessment.
Cost Inflation index also called Capital gain index is used to calculate the indexed cost of acquisition for long-term capital gain tax. Read this article to know more about the cost inflation index who notifies it with practical examples
section 44AB is required to be done before the due date of 30th September. This Article Talks about the forms that are used for section 44AB tax audit report and detailed information about form 3ca, 3cb, 3cd,3e
e-PAN is a new initiative taken by the income tax department to ease the process of PAN allotment. This facility is only available to first time return filers who have an Aadhaar card. This facility is available only for a limited period of time.
Section 80QQB : Deduction on royalty income earned by authors. Authors can claim section 80QQB deduction on royalty income. Let's see the procedure for claiming deduction under income tax along with Form 10CCD format.
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It is the(PMC),(PCMC) [based on the location of property], that assesses a property to give it a value and levy tax on a person’s real or personal property in Pune. Read more about the tax calculation and various methods of payments
Savings accounts are designed to encourage more savings, unlike current accounts which allow unlimited transactions and do not offer any interest. Know more about Interests, Benefits and Tax Implications
The post office savings account is a deposit scheme provided by the post office departments throughout India, which provides a fixed interest rate. It is a beneficial scheme for individual investors who wish to earn a fixed rate of interest by investing a significant portion of their financial asset
SFT / Statement of Financial Transaction under Section 285BA is a report of specified financial transactions by specified persons including prescribed reporting financial institution. Read this article to know more about SFT Rules, Forms, Due Dates, Remedies & consequences.
A timely and consistent paying of taxes and filing of returns ensures the government has money for public welfare at any point of time. To make sure that taxpayer does not default in paying taxes or disclosing the information, there are several penalties prescribed under the Act
Form 10C When in employment, an employee has a pension fund for securing the retirement age. In case of change of employment, the employee can carry forward the same account for pension. Therefore to avail the benefits he employee files a Form 10C.
The article give information on Permanent Registration Account Number generated for subscribers of the New Pension Scheme. It provides details of documents required for applying for PRAN. It also helps understand the types of accounts available to PRAN subscribers
PFRDA is a pension regulator and work towards its promotion and development. It is a Central autonomous body and is a quasi government organisation and has executive, legislative and judicial powers similar to other financial sector regulators in India such as Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities
Current bank accounts are very popular among companies, firms, public enterprises, businessmen who generally have higher number of regular transactions with the bank. The current account includes deposits, withdrawals, and contra transactions. Such accounts are also called the Demand Deposit Account
This article contains a detailed discussion about the scheme of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana introduced by the Government of India in 2014. Know about PMJDY Online Scheme, documents required for opening an account, benefits and much more.
Pay Commission is an administrative system or mechanism appointed by Government of India to examine, review and recommend desirable and feasible changes to salary and its structure. Read on for the highlights of the 7th Pay Commission.
Payment of taxes have been made easy with the e-tax payment option. The bank should be authorized by the department to process the tax payments and the taxpayer should have a netbanking account. if not the payment can be made at the bank.
UIDAI - the article gives a detailed understanding of the role and functioning of the www.uidai.gov.in / Official Aadhaar Website. It explains how one can have information changes on the Aadhaar or link other accounts to Aadhaar.
Form 67 for claim of Foreign Tax Credit has to be submitted online of the return of income is filed electronically. This form has to be filed before due date of filing return of income under Section 139(1)
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Charitable Trusts and NGOs in India enjoy certain tax benefits in the form of income tax exemptions subject to certain conditions. This article discusses these exemptions and the conditions laid down for claiming them
Patent Box regime was introduced by Finance Act, 2016 under Section 115BBF to levy income tax from patents developed and registered in India at 10%. Read this article to know about patent taxation & treatment in India.
The Finance budget comes up with amendments some being prospective some being retrospective. Ever wondered what exactly is a retrospective amendment. And are these amendments welcome to taxpayers. Read on..
Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) Scheme is for incentivise employers for generation of new employment, Government of India will be paying the 8.33% EPS contribution of the employer for the new employment. In Textile Sector rest 3.67% EPF contribution will also be borne by Government
PAN / Permanent Account Number is an unique identification number assigned to all taxpayers in India. It acts as the primary key for storage of information & is shared across the country. Know more about PAN eligibility, documents required, structure, enrollment & much more.
The article gives a basic understanding of the most commonly issued income tax notices issued by the department. The reasons why the notice is issued and the timelines till when the notice can be issued.
Challan ITNS 281- the article lays out the purpose of the challan along with the process of generating it. It gives the online and offline methods of generating the challan. Know more about Challan ITNS background, compliance, filing process & status check.
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An income tax raid otherwise called the search and seizure operation by the income tax department is one of the crucial weapons that the Income tax department possesses to check black or unaccounted money. Read more on w
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After you have successfully filed your income tax return, the next step is to verify it. The Income Tax Department starts processing your return when it is verified.You can e-verify using demat account number
individual/HUF not covered under tax audit are also required to deduct TDS @ 5% if the payment of rent is Rs 50,000 or above.TDS deducted should be paid within 30 days from the end of the month in which tax is deducted.
E-verification of the return is done by generating Electronic Verification Code(EVC). EVC is a 10 digit alphanumeric code which is sent to registered mobile number. EVC can be generated using bank account
Section 40A(2) gives power to the income tax officer to disallow any expense if payment is made to specified persons and he considers it to be excessive in regard to fair market value of goods or services provided
NSDL website & UTIITSL website have been authorized by the govt.to carry out PAN transactions on behalf of the Income Tax Department. Read this article to know how to apply for PAN Card & how to make changes or corrections in your Permanent Account Number.
to claim relief for arrears salary received, you will have to file form 10E. This is a step by step guide to file form 10E. This form is required to be filed on Income Tax Website before filing your income tax return.