E-filing of ITR Now a Click Away

Till recently, you may have been using the Saral ITR forms to file your annual tax returns. However, taking into account the ever growing number of Indians who are now opting to bypass the local tax filing kiosks and prefer to file their Income Tax Return directly on the IT department's website, the government has decided to meet the eager Indians halfway.

Starting with the 2011-2012 assessment year, the Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has introduced eight easy to use and file ITR forms under two categories called the Sahaj and Sugam forms. With the advent of these two categories of forms, the government moves a level ahead in making the annual and essential task of tax filing effortless and more user-friendly. With the introduction of these two forms, the government hopes to see an increase in the number of Indian citizens who choose the hassle free and more efficient mode of e-tax filing.

The following features of the Sahaj and Sugam forms are worth understanding which makes e-tax filing such a lucrative option:

  1. Simple and user-friendly format
  2. Low paper-filing costs
  3. Automated and direct updation to government records
  4. Easier for the Tax Department to maintain records
  5. Increased transparency in all dealings/claims/transactions
  6. Accuracy in processing since manual intervention is being eliminated
  7. Moving to a higher level of international best practices

Depending on an individual's source of income, one may chose either of the two Sahaj and Sugam forms, and file their income tax return as applicable. Broadly, the Sahaj category of forms is for salaried individuals whereas the Sugam category of forms is for businessmen.

Below is a quick snapshot of the eight ITR forms and its intended users:

ITR 1: Return of income for individuals having income from Salary/ Pension/ family pension and interest.

ITR 2: Return of income for individuals and HUFs not having income from business or profession.

ITR 3: Return of income for individuals/HUFs being partners in firms and not carrying out business or profession under any proprietorship.

ITR 4: Return of income for individuals and HUFs having income from a proprietary business or profession.

ITR 5: Combined form for return of income (including Fringe Benefit Tax Return) for firms, AOPs and BOIs

ITR 6: Combined form for return of income (including Fringe Benefit Tax Return) for companies other than companies claiming exemption under section 11.

ITR 7: Combined form for return of income and fringe benefits for Charitable/religious trusts, political parties and other non- profit organisations.

ITR 8: Stand alone form for return of fringe benefits for persons who are not liable to file return of income but are liable to file return of fringe benefits.

ITR 9: Return Verification Form

All the above mentioned forms (except for the ITR-7 form) are annexure-less to enable e-filing.

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