What is a return of income?

It is a prescribed form through which the particulars of income earned by a person in a financial year and taxes paid on such income are communicated to the Income-tax Department. Different forms of returns of income are prescribed for filing of returns for different Status and Nature of income. These forms can be downloaded from www.incometaxindia.gov.in

What are the forms of return prescribed under the Income-tax Law?

Under the Income-tax Law, different forms of returns are prescribed for different classes of taxpayers. The return forms are known as ITR forms (Income Tax Return Forms). The forms of return prescribed under the Income-tax Law for filing of return of income for the assessment year 2016-17 (i.e., financial year 2015-16) are as follows:

Return Form Brief Description
ITR – 1 Also known as SAHAJ is applicable to an individual having salary or pension income or income from one house property (not a case of brought forward loss) or income from other sources (not being lottery winnings and income from race horses).
ITR 2A It is applicable to an individual or HUF whose total income for the assessment year 2016-17 does not include income from business or profession, capital gains. Further, an individual or HUF claiming foreign tax credit or having any asset (including financial interest in any entity) located outside India or having any signing authority in any account located outside India or having income from any source outside India cannot use this form for filing of return of income.
ITR – 2 It is applicable to an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family having income from any source other than “Profits and gains of business or profession”.
ITR – 3 It is applicable to an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family who is a partner in a firm and where income chargeable to tax under the head “Profits or gains of business or profession” does not include any income except the income by way of any interest, salary, bonus, commission or remuneration, by whatever name called, due to, or received by him from such firm.
ITR – 4S Also known as SUGAM is applicable to individuals or Hindu Undivided Family or partnership firm (other than limited liability partnership firm) who have opted for the presumptive taxation scheme of section 44AD/44AE.
ITR – 4 It is applicable to an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family who is carrying on a proprietary business or profession.
ITR – 5 This Form can be used by a person being a firm, LLP, AOP, BOI, artificial juridical person referred to in section 2(31)(vii), co-operative society and local authority. However, a person who is required to file the return of income under section 139(4A) or 139(4B) or 139(4C) or 139(4D) or section 139(4E) or section 139(4F) shall not use this form (i.e., trusts, political parties, institutions, colleges, investment fund etc.)
ITR – 6 It is applicable to a company, other than a company claiming exemption under section 11 (exemption under section 11 can be claimed by charitable/religious trust).
ITR – 7 It is applicable to a persons including companies who are required to furnish return under section 139(4A) or section 139(4B) or section 139(4C) or section 139(4D) or section 139(4E) or section 139(4F) (i.e., trusts, political parties, institutions, colleges, investment fund, etc.).
ITR – V It is the acknowledgement of filing the return of income.
From where can I get a return form?

The return form can be downloaded from the site http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in or http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in
What are the different modes of filing the return of income?
The Return Form can be filed with the Income-tax Department in any of the following ways, –

(i) by furnishing the return in a paper form;

(ii) by furnishing the return electronically under digital signature;

(iii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically under electronic verification code;

(iv) by transmitting the data in the return electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Return Form ITR-V;

Note : Where the return of income is filed in the manner given at (iv) without digital signature, then the taxpayer should take two printed copies of Form ITR-V. One copy of ITR-V, duly signed by the taxpayer, is to be sent (within the period specified in this regard, i.e., 120 days) by ordinary post or speed post to “Income-tax Department – CPC, Post Bag No. 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bengalore-560100 (Karnataka). The other copy may be retained by the taxpayer for his record.

For whom e-filing of return is mandatory?

Following taxpayers shall file their return of income only through e-filing mode:

(1) From the assessment year 2015-16 onwards any asessee filing ITR 1/2/2A (other than an individual of the age of 80 years or more at anytime during the previous year) having a refund claim in the return or having total income of more than Rs. 5,00,000 is required to furnish the return of income electronically with or without digital signature or by using electronic verification code.

(2) Every company shall furnish the return of income electronically under digital signature. In other words, for corporate taxpayer e-filing with digital signature is mandatory.

(3) A firm or an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) whose books of account are required to be audited under section 44AB shall furnish the return of income electronically under digital signature. In other words, in such a case, e-filing with digital signature is mandatory.

(4) A resident assessee having any assets (including financial interest in any entity) located outside India or signing authority in any account located outside India or income from any source outside India shall furnish the return of income electronically with or without digital signature or by using electronic verification code.

(5) Taxpayers claiming relief under section 90, 90A or 91 shall furnish the return of income electronically with or without digital signature or by using electronic verification code.

(6) A person who is required to file ITR – 5 shall file the same electronically with or without digital signature. However, a firm liable to get its accounts audited under section 44AB shall furnish the return electronically under digital signature.

(7) A taxpayer who is required to furnish a report of audit under sections 10(23C)(iv), 10(23C)(v), 10(23C)(vi), 10(23C)via), 10A, 10AA, 12A(1)(b), 44AB, 44DA, 50B, 80-IA, 80-IB, 80-IC, 80-ID, 80JJAA, 80LA, 92E, 115JB or 115VW or to give a notice under section 11(2)(a) shall furnish the return electronically.

(8) Return Form ITR- 3 is to furnish electronically in the following modes:

(i) by furnishing the return electronically under digital signature;

(ii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically under electronic verification code;

(iii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Return Form ITR-V.

(9) Return Form ITR-4 is to be furnish electronically in the following modes:

(i) by furnishing the return electronically under digital signature;

(ii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically under electronic verification code;

(iii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Return Form ITR-V;

However, where the books of accounts are required to be audited under section 44AB, the return is required to be furnished in the manner provided at (i) i.e. e-filing with digital signature.

(10) Return Form ITR – 7 is to be furnished electronically in the following modes :

(i) by furnishing the return electronically under digital signature;

(ii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically under electronic verification code;

(iii) by transmitting the data in the return electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Return Form ITR-V;

However, a political party shall compulsorily furnish the return in the manner mentioned at (i) above. Where the Return Form is furnished in the manner mentioned at (iii), the assessee should print out two copies of Form ITR-V. One copy of ITR-V, duly signed by the assessee, has to be sent by ordinary post to Post Bag No. 1, Electronic City Office, Bangalore-560100 (Karnataka). The other copy may be retained by the assessee for his record.

Is it necessary to attach any documents along with the return of income?

ITR return forms are attachment less forms and, hence, the taxpayer is not required to attach any document (like proof of investment, TDS certificates, etc.) along with the return of income (whether filed manually or filed electronically). However, these documents should be retained by the taxpayer and should be produced before the tax authorities when demanded in situations like assessment, inquiry, etc.

As discussed above, no documents are to be attached along with the return of income, however, in case of a taxpayer who is required to furnish a report of audit under section 10(23C)(v), 10(23C)(vi), 10(23C)via), 10A, 10AA, 12A(1)(b), 44AB, 44DA, 50B, 80-IA, 80-IB, 80-IC, 80-ID, 80JJAA, 80LA, 92E, 115JB or 115VW or to give a notice under section 11(2)(a) shall furnish it electronically on or before the date of filing the return of income.

Where and how am I supposed to file my return?
Return of income can be filed either in hard copy at the local office of the Income-tax Department or can be electronically filed at www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in
In the case of certain persons (already discussed in previous FAQ) e-filing is mandatory.

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