Follow-up on your IT returns

You can file a revised return if you have committed any errors

‘You may have heaved a sigh of relief after filing your tax return within the extended due date of August 5, 2017. But what if you now find out that you have committed some errors or omissions when filing the returns? Or, what if the department finds some mistake or demands more taxes? Your obligation to the taxman is not fully over unless the department processes your return and agrees with your numbers. Here’s what you need to be vigilant about in the coming months:

Revision of returns

Sometimes, it is possible that you may have committed some errors in arush to file your tax return on time. Say, for instance, you may have forgotten to add interest income from some of the fixed deposits you hold; or, forgotten to claim deduction for certain donations you made; or entered the details of self-assessment tax paid wrongly. Tax laws provide for a way to set these mistakes right by allowing you to revise your returns.

For the financial year 2016-17, you can revise your return any time before the expiry of one year from the end of the assessment year. This means that you have time till March 31, 2019, to file a revised return. From the FY 2017-18 onwards though, you can revise your return only until the end of the assessment year, that is, March 31, 2019. There is no specific return form or a separate procedure to file a revised return. You just have to re-file your return with the corrected data through the department’s website www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

You have to mention in the first page that the return is a revised one. The e-filing acknowledgement number of the original return and the date of filing of the original return also need to be mentioned alongside. There is no ceiling on the number of times a return can be revised. The latest one will be considered by the department for processing. But when taking a call on revising the return, you must keep in mind that returns are open for revision only until the department processes it.

Typically, as and when the return is processed, you will receive an intimation from the tax department under Section 143(1). The Centralized Processing Centre at Bengaluru sends out this intimation to your e-mail address a few months after filing — usually by October/November of the assessment year. So even though on paper you may have a lot of time to revise your returns, you need to act quickly if you feel your return warrants a revision, as you actually have a window of only a few months. Also, keep in mind that the chances of your return being picked up for closer scrutiny may be higher if the revisions lead to big changes in taxes.

The good news this year is that those who miss the August 5 due date and are filing past the deadline, can also revise their returns if they find some errors later on. Until last year, late filing meant an automatic disqualification from revising.

Keep fingers crossed

You may be confident about the accuracy and completeness of your return. But you cannot breathe easy unless the department agrees with you. For one, you may get a notice for defective return under Section 139 (9). “Earlier, returns were considered defective if assesses missed out on attachments such as calculation of total income, tax computation, proof of self-assessment tax payment, etc.

Now since returns are annexure-free, a defective return provision could be invoked, say, when you have a certain TDS but have not reported corresponding income. It may also be invoked where specific details such as an IFSC Code of the Bank in which you have your account (which is required as part of the return) may be missing. But under e-filing, chances of missing such details are less as the software makes sure that no apparent errors arise”, says Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO, ClearTax, an e-filing intermediary portal.. If you do get a notice under 139(9), you have 15 days’ time from the date of intimation to correct the defect and refile your return.

However, Archit says that these days, the department uses the intimation under Sec 143(1) more commonly to point out any discrepancies in the return. Thus, if the department finds that you have missed out on any income or you have claimed certain deductions for which you may not be eligible, it may point these out in this intimation (which you can expect to receive in October/November 2017) and raise a demand. If you agree with it, you need to pay the additional dues within 30 days of receipt of the intimation. Otherwise, if you find any mistakes in the department’s assessment, you can request for ‘rectification’ on the IT department’s website.

A user manual for rectification is available at https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/eFiling/Portal/StaticPDF/Rectifcation_Manual.pdf. A request for rectification can be filed within four years from the end of the financial year in which the order sought to be rectified is received. If you have filed your return using an e-return intermediary website or taken the services of a chartered accountant, they can help you with the correction/rectification process.

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