What is e-filing of returns?

Filing of Income Tax returns is a legal obligation of every person whose total income for the previous year has exceeded the maximum amount that is not chargeable to income tax under the provisions of the I.T Act 1961. Income Tax Department has introduced a convenient way to file these returns online using the Internet. The process of electronically filing your Income tax returns through the Internet is known as e-filing of returns.

How is e-Filing different from the regular filing of returns?

E-filing offers convenience of time and place to tax payers. This facility is available round the clock and returns be filed from any place in the world. It also eliminates/ reduces interface between assessee and tax officials.

I have forgotten my password. What is to be done to retrieve it?

Click on the forget password link from the login page in ITD e-filing website. In the password reset page, one of the following can be selected by the taxpayers:

  • Enter the answer to the secret question , taxpayer has entered in the registration details OR
  • Upload the DSC registered in the e-filing login OR
  • Using OTP sent to the mobile number which taxpayer had given during registration to e-filing portal
  • Using Aadhar OTP sent to the Aadhar registered mobile number, provided Aadhar is linked to e-filing login

Enter the new password and confirm the same. Click on Submit to reset the password of your user id. If any of these options do not exist, contact ITD at https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/main/contactUs

Can a Legal Heir file the return of the deceased assessee for the compulsory DSC cases?

Yes. Firstly, the legal heir has to obtain a DSC in his/her own capacity. The DSC of the legal heir, so obtained can be registered in the ITD e-filing website as follows:
The details of Legal heir and the deceased assessee, such as:

  • PAN
  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Father’s First Name
  • Father’s Middle Name
  • Father’s Last Name
  • Mobile Number

All these have to be sent through e-mail to efiling.administrator@incometaxindia.gov.in along with the documentary evidences (in scanned format) i.e., death certificate of the deceased Assessee.

After receiving these details by the e-filing administrator, the legal heir’s PAN will be linked to the deceased Assessee and a confirmation email will be sent to email id of the legal heir and then only the return of the deceased assessee can be filed electronically by legal heir.

My challan of payment of Advance Tax or Self Assessment Tax does not contain correct PAN or Assessment Year. Will the claim be allowed?

No. You are advised to get it corrected by making written request to Branch of Bank from where payment has been made up to 15 days of payment and thereafter to your Assessing Officer. Detailed challan correction mechanism is available at here.

The last date of filing falls on Saturday or Sunday. Can I file my e-return on subsequent Monday?

Yes, you can.

How can taxpayer find his Assessing Officer (AO) code?

Click on “Know Your PAN | TAN | AO” menu under Quick Links in home page of the ITD e-filing website.

How can i come to know about TAN of my deductor?

Kindly refer to Form 16 or Form 16 A issued by the employer/ deductor for the TAN number. You can also see the details of the deductor in the 26AS Tax credit statement made available by the TRACES in its website, which can be easily accessed through ITD e-filing website.

Why is it necessary to give bank information in case of refunds?

As per prevalent standard banking practice, it is IFSC code and the Bank account number which uniquely determines the destination account.

In the cases of refunds, the information desired is IFSC, bank a/c number and type of account. The assessee is not required to mention the name of the bank. However, this may be necessary to ensure that the refund is not credited to a wrong account due to quoting of incorrect MICR code.

In case of wrong IFSC code, the refund credit will fail but would not be credited to the wrong account at all.

How do I know whether my e-return is being processed at CPC Bangalore or the Assessing Officer?

The taxpayer is advised to login to the website using his/her user id and password and select the sub menu option “View e-Filed Return/Forms‟ under the menu option “My Account‟ in the ITD e-filing login to check the status of return for a given assessment year.

What are the due dates for filing of returns for non-corporate and corporate taxpayers?

As per the provisions of section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 the due dates for filing of returns of income for different category of assessees are as under:

  • For all corporate assessees and all such non corporate assessee, whose accounts are required to be audited, including working partners of such firms, 30th Sept. of the Assessment Year.
  • For such corporate assessee which is required to furnish a report u/s 92E of the IT Act, 1961, 30th Nov of the Assessment year.
  • For any other assesses, 31st July of the Assessment Year.

Is it mandatory for all firms to file their return electronically?

No. Only those firms, who have to get their accounts audited under 44AB of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Is it mandatory to file return of income after getting PAN?

No. The liability to file return of income arises only when you have taxable income.

Who can file the return for a deceased assessee?

A legal heir can file the return in such case. 

If I have paid excess tax, how and when will it be refunded to me?

To claim the excess paid tax, the assessee has to be file returns of income, irrespective of the fact whether the income is taxable or not. The amount of refund will be remitted to the assessee directly to the back account as mentioned in the ITR form after the processing of the return.

I don't understand the process of e-filing. What should I do?

To understand the procedure to file e-returns, use the Help option available on home page of the ITD e-filing website.

What happens if I Don’t Register?

Without the unique User ID and password, no individual will be able to access the web site. This registration needs to be done only once.

What information do I need, to register myself in the ITD e-filing website?

The basic information required is PAN, Full Name, DOB, Postal Address, valid e-mail id and Mobile number.

Should Registration be made in the name of the Company or can a director register in his name and file the returns of the company from his user id?

No. Registration has to be done in the name of the company using company’s PAN. The company login is required for uploading the return of the company.

Can a Chartered Accountant (CA) file return on behalf of the Company?

No. The person authorized by the company to file the return has to file the return of the company using DSC.

What do I do next after registration?

After registration, ITD will send an activation link on the registered email id of the taxpayer. Once the taxpayer clicks the same, the user-id of the taxpayer becomes functional. Now, the taxpayer can login into ITD e-filing website. Therefore, taxpayer is advised to provide a valid email id in the registration profile.

What is the Return Preparation Software?

Software used to prepare the Income Tax Return that will be uploaded to ITD e-filing website is called the ‘Return Preparation Software’. The input to the “Return Preparation Software” will be the actual data that taxpayer need to fill while preparing return of income.

Is it necessary that I use the 'Return Preparation Utility created by Income tax Department? Can I use some other utility?

Yes. End users are also free to use any other utility created by other software providers, as long as the XML output conforms to the XML Schema which has been posted at the E-Filing website.

What is XML?

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. It is a general purpose markup language designed especially for Web documents. XML is a way of describing data and it allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations. Any Client Side Utility which creates an e-return XML will be a file with an extension .xml. This is the file that must be uploaded to the ITD e-filing website.

What is a Schema?

A schema refers to the collection of database objects associated with a particular database. Any user who files e-return will have created an xml file based on the schema. A simple analogy would be that the schema represents a letter template where the user enters the addressee details, name, salutation, body text etc which then completes the document which is the equivalent of an xml file. The template ensures uniformity and standardization of the format of the letter in the same way that the schema provides a structure to the xml file.

On uploading the file on to the system, a unique database object is created in the Income tax Department system. If you are using the services of the Utilities available at the e- Filing website, or any other Utility capable of generating an e-return XML for these forms, you need not download the schema or be worried about it. The Schema is made available to those individuals, software companies and organizations who wish to use this code to help create their own software utility for filling up these forms.

Who should use which form for A.Y. 2018-19?

The following table may be used for selecting the right type of form depending on the type of income.

itr forms Income
Who can file ITR-1 Income of Individual from:
• Salary/Pension
• One House Property
• Other Sources
• Total Income not exceeding 50 lac
Who can file ITR-2 Income of Individual and HUF from:
• Salary/Pension
• House Property
• Capital Gains
• Foreign Sources
• Agriculture Income> ₨5000
• Other Sources
Who can file ITR-3 Income of Individual and HUF from:
• All income of ITR2
• Partnership Firm
• Business/Profession
Who can file ITR-4 Presumptive Business of Income of Individual, HUF and firm under:
• Section 44AD
• Section 44ADA
• Section 44AE
Who can file ITR-5 Other than Individual, HUF, Company and person filing ITR-7
Who can file ITR-6 Companies not claiming exemption under section 11
Who can file ITR-7 Person/companies required to furnish the return under:
• Section 139(4A)
• Section 139(4B)
• Section 139(4C)
• Section 139(4C)

Is it mandatory for certain classes of assessees to submit the Income tax returns electronically with Digital Signature Certificate?

Yes. It is mandatory for all companies and those non-corporate assessees who have to get their accounts audited u/s 44 AB of the Act to file their return electronically with Digital Signature Certificate.

Whether the address given in the PAN database (as per ITD e-filing website) is to be quoted or the current address which may be different from the PAN database address, can also be quoted?

The assessee has to quote the current address on the return forms. In case, the address on the PAN database is no longer valid, the taxpayer may contact NSDL for change of address.

The assessee who is under presumptive taxation scheme i.e. "no accounts case", what he should write for sundry debtors, sundry creditors, stock in trade, cash balance, gross profit as he may not have all these details since he is not maintaining books of accounts.

He has to give these figures from primary records i.e bank statements, cash books etc.

I want to file the return of an AOP. Which form I need to fill?


What is a Digital Signature?

A digital signature authenticates electronic documents in a similar manner a handwritten signature authenticates printed documents. This signature cannot be forged and it asserts that a named person wrote or otherwise agreed to the document to which the signature is attached. The recipient of a digitally signed message can verify that the message originated from the person whose signature is attached to the document and that the message has not been altered either intentionally or accidentally since it was signed. Also, the signer of a document cannot later disown it by claiming that the signature was forged. In other words, digital signatures enable the “authentication” and “non-repudiation” of digital messages, assuring the recipient of a digital message of both the identity of the sender and the integrity of the message.

A digital signature is issued by a Certification Authority (CA) and is signed with the CA’s private key. A digital signature typically contains the: Owner’s public key, the Owner’s name, Expiration date of the public key, the Name of the issuer (the CA that issued the Digital ID), Serial number of the digital signature, and the digital signature of the issuer. Digital signatures deploy the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology.

If you file electronically using digital signature you do not have to submit a physical copy of the return. Even if you do not have a digital signature, you can still e-File the returns.

How legal is a Digital signature?

India is one of the select band of nations that has the Digital Signature Legislation in place. This Act grants digital signatures that have been issued by a licensed Certifying Authority in India the same status as a physical signature.

If an individual doesn’t have a Digital Signature, does this mean he/she cannot file the return online?

For non-auditable cases, DSC is not mandatory. If the DSC is used while uploading the return, the return will be treated as legally filed immediately after uploading. However in case, an individual does not have a DSC, he/she can still file the return electronically, but, in this case, a signed copy of ITR-V has to be sent to ITD CPC, Bengaluru within stipulated time. After receiving the signed copy of ITR-V at ITD CPC, return will be treated as legally filed.

How and where can I get a Digital Signature Certificate ( DSC)?

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for use of Digital Signatures on the documents submitted in electronic form in order to ensure the security and authenticity of the documents filed electronically. Certification Agencies are appointed by the office of the Controller of Certification Agencies (CCA) under the provisions of IT Act, 2000. There are a total of eight Certification Agencies authorized by the CCA to issue the Digital Signature Certificates.

name of certifying agency Website
Safescrypt www.sifycorp.com
iTrust(IDRBT) idrbtca.org.in
National Informatics Centre www.nic.in
(n)Code Solutions www.ncodesolutions.com
e-Mudhra www.e-mudhra.com
CDAC esign.cdac.in
Capricorn www.Certificate.Digital
NSDL e-gov www.egov-nsdl.co.in

Do I need a fresh digital signature, in case I already have one?

A person who already has the specified class II or III DSC for any other application can use the same for filing the Income tax return and is not required to obtain a fresh PAN embedded DSC. Fresh PAN embedded DSC is required in cases where the existing DSC has expired.

How much does a DSC cost?

The Digital Signature certificates are typically issued with one year validity and two year validity. It includes the cost of medium (a USB token which is a one-time cost), the cost of issuance of Digital Signature and the renewal cost after the period of validity. The issuance costs in respect of each Certification Agency vary and are market driven.

How can a DSC be attached with the return while uploading?

The website allows the Assessee to use digital signature as an option. Therefore it is not possible to embed the digital signature feature in the software utility/form. However, the Assessee can browse and attach the digital signature at the time of submission of the e-return at his option. Taxpayer has to first register its DSC on the e-filing website (in the My account menu option) after entering into the system using login id and password. Once DSC is registered, taxpayer has to use the same DSC while uploading the return on the e-filing website.

The Web site accepts DSC in the .pfx format. Other formats like .cer are not being accepted. Can USB token based DSC be used to file the return?

DSC in USB tokens is also accepted.

It is not clear what class of DSC should be used while filing the return?

DSC should be of Class II or III only, issued by CCA approved certifying agencies in India.

What is Section 234F as per the Income Tax Act, 1961?

To get the full insight of Section 234F in the language of the law, we need to move to income tax website. For your reference, the extract of this section has been produced as under:

    1. Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, where a person required to furnish a return of income under section 139, fails to do so within the time prescribed in sub-section (1) of said section, he shall pay, by way of fee, a sum of-
      • five thousand rupees, if the return is furnished on or before the 31st day of December of the assessment year;
      • ten thousand rupees in any other case: Provided that if the total income does not exceed five lakh rupees, the fee payable shall not exceed one thousand rupees.
    2. The provisions of this section shall apply in respect of the return of income required to be furnished for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April 2018.


If I don't file my Income Tax Return after paying all the due taxes then what would be the consequences?

Even after the payment of taxes if you don’t file your IT returns then the IT department may issue a notice of non-compliance after the end of relevant assessment year.

My income is 4,50,000 and if I file my return after the due date(i.e. 31st July); then what would be the amount of fees u/s 234F which has to be paid at that time?

As per section 234F, the amount of fee u/s 234F shall be Rs.1000 where income is below Rs. 5,00,000.

Hence, in your case, the quantum of fees shall be Rs. 1000 if you file between the time period 1st August to 31st March.

My income is Rs. 6,50,000 and If I file my return for F.Y 17-18 after the due date, say on 10th August 2018; then what would be the amount of Fees u/s 234F which is to be paid at that time?

As per section 234F, for individuals having income above Rs. 5,00,000 and filing the return before 31st December of the assessment year then the amount of fee shall be Rs.5,000. Hence, in your case, the quantum of fees leviable shall be Rs. 5,000.

My income is Rs. 9,80,000 and If I file my return for F.Y 17-18 after the due, date say on 2nd January 2019; then what would be the amount of Fees u/s 234F which is to be paid at that time?

As per section 234F, for individuals having income above Rs. 5,00,000 and filing the return after 31st December but before 31st March of the assessment year then the amount of fee shall be Rs.10,000.Therefore, in your case, the quantum of fees leviable shall be Rs. 10,000.

Is it possible to file the return for F.Y 17-18 after 31st March 2019 by paying the late fees of Rs.10,000 u/s 234F?

No, it is not possible to file the return for F.Y 17-18 after 31st March 2019. Finance Act 2017 brought an amendment under the time limit of section 139(4), you cannot file your return after the end of relevant assessment year.

If I have filed the Return but not e-verified then still penalty under section 234F would be levied?

No, as per section 234F, the penalty shall be levied on late filing of return but not on late e-verification of return.

Hence, If you e-verify after the due date of filing return but before 120 days of filing the return, fee u/s 234F cannot be levied.

I have income from salary only, and the TDS is done by my employer. Will I still have to pay late fees under 234F?

Yes, fee under section 234F shall be levied even if TDS has been deducted by your employer. The reason being that fee under 234F is levied in respect of timing of return filing and not in relation to the payment of taxes.

I am a retired person, have income from Bank Fixed Deposit only. TDS has already been deducted by the bank. Do I still need to pay fee under section 234F?

Yes, the fee under section 234F shall be levied even if TDS has been deducted by the bank and your total income is less than the basic exemption limit.

As fees under section 234F are levied in respect of timing of return filing and not in relation to the payment of TDS.

My income is Rs. 350,000 and i am availing deduction u/s 80C of amounting Rs. 1,50,000. So, my income after deduction come to Rs. 2,00,000 then whether section 234 F will still be leviable in my case?

Yes, Sec 234F would be leviable in your case. In your case, you are required to file ITR as per law because your income before deductions is above the basic exemption limit. Therefore, if you file the belated return then sec 234F shall be applicable. Fees of Rs. 1000 shall be applicable in your case.

If my gross total income i.e. income before deductions is below the exemption limit then still whether i am required to deposit fee u/s 234F on late filing?

No, if your income after deductions falls below the basic exemption limit and you are not required to file return but still if you file the belated return then sec 234F shall not be applicable.

I have an exempt income of Rs. 2,20,000 still will the fee u/s 234F will be payable?

No, fees u/s 234F shall not be applicable in your case if your income is below exemption limit or nil and you are filing the belated return.

I am filing a belated return then whether interest u/s 234A will also be levied along with payment of fees u/s 234F?

Yes, both will be applicable simultaneously in a situation when your tax is payable. However, in case of late filing of return when no tax is payable then interest u/s 234A shall not be levied and only fee u/s 234F shall be levied.

Just don’t get confused in both of these sections. Sec 234A speaks for levy of interest at the rate of 1% on the tax amount due while section 234F talks about levy of a definite amount of late fees depending on the date of filing of the return. Therefore, both will be applicable in case of delay in filing of return u/s 139(1) if your tax is unpaid.

What will happen in case my total Income exceeds Rs. 5,00,000 and I have filed the return after due date i.e. on 03/08/2018 with the applicable fees?

In this case, after the e-verification of return, it would be processed by the income tax department as per the normal provisions of the income tax law.

Is there an exemption for the senior citizen from the fees under section 234F?

No there is no such exemption under section 234F. The conditions of levy and the quantum remain same in case of every individual including super senior citizen.

If i will be receiving the refund on the ITR of F.Y 17-18 then also whether section 234F shall be applicable?

Yes, even if you are eligible to receive the refund in ITR of F.Y 17-18 and onwards still late fees u/s 234F shall be applicable in your case as per the applicable provisions. Further, the Income Tax department shall first adjust the fees and then the interest( if any) from your refund amount.