Second, if you file your return late, you lose out on the benefit of being able to carry forward losses eligible for adjustment against future income. “This restriction on timely filing of return, however, is not applicable in cases where there are losses under the head 'income from house property'. Under Section 139(1), such losses can be carried forward even if return is filed after the due date," says Suresh Surana, founder, RSM Astute Consulting Group.
By filing your returns on time, you can also avoid the mandatory interest under Section 234A (for delay in filing return at the rate of one per cent per month). However, this interest charge is not applicable in cases where the entire tax liability has already been paid via tax deducted at source (TDS) or via advance tax.
By filing late, you also lose out on the benefit of a quick refund. According to the finance ministry, 90 per cent of refunds were issued within 60 days and 67 per cent within 30 days of filing the returns in 2016-17. "A prudent taxpayer should file his return within the due date to ensure quick processing and credit of refund," says Surana.
Finally, you also lose out on interest income on tax refund as it will be calculated from the date of filing. "Interest on tax refund from advance tax and TDS is calculated from April 1, and you will lose out on it if you file after the due date," says Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, ClearTax.
Next, let us turn to the procedure for verifying your returns. "Income tax returns are not considered to be valid until they are verified," says Gupta. Verification must be completed within 120 days of uploading the return.
The taxpayer can verify his return using digitally signed certificate (DSC). Those who don't have a DSC can carry out e-verification via any of the following means: Net banking (see box), Aadhaar OTP, EVC (electronic verification code) on the I-T department's website and via demat and bank account. One more option is the physical route.
To carry out e-verification via Aadhaar, your Aadhaar number and PAN card need to be linked. Go to the e-filing web site of the I-T department. Once your ITR is uploaded, choose the following option: "I would like to generate Aadhaar OTP to e-verify my return". An OTP will be sent to your registered mobile that is valid for10 minutes. Enter it and select the submit button. You will get a message: Return successfully e-verified. Download the acknowledgement.
The EVC is a 10-digit alphanumeric code that can be generated on the e-filing portal and is valid for 72 hours. To generate EVC through the bank account or demat account, these accounts need to be pre-validated.
Finally, there is the physical approach. Download the ITR-V form. Take a printout, sign in blue ink and send it to the address of the central processing centre (CPC) in Bengaluru via ordinary or speed post (not via courier). Once this document is received by the CPC, you will get an acknowledgement via SMS or email.