With March 31 approaching, its time to check whether you have fulfilled all the tax-filing commitments. The important deadlines to remember are March 15 (the last date for paying advance tax), March 31 (for investing in tax-saving instruments), and July 31 (for filing tax returns). In case you miss the date, you can file the return before March 31, 2014. But you will be charged a penalty of 1 per cent of the taxable amount, for every month of delay.
HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR FORM 26AS?
The form 26AS or the tax credit statement allows a permanent account number (PAN) holder to check various incomes reported under different sections. You can check this on income tax departments website www.incometaxindia.gov.in. Ensure that you include all reported incomes while filing your tax return. You can also check the Form 26AS on your banks website.
HAVE YOU MADE A LIST OF ALL YOUR TAXES DEDUCTED?
Compile a list of all your tax deducted at source (TDS) forms. The one you get from your employer is Form 16(A). There are other TDS forms, too. For instance, the one given by your bank, and shows the interest paid on your accounts and the tax deducted on the interest. In case the form 26AS is not reflecting the TDS, you should take it up with the organisation (which deducted your tax).
List down all your other incomes that do not reflect in Form 26AS such as interest incomes from bank accounts, any cash payments or cheque payments for which TDS has not been deducted. All this has to be filled in separately when you file your tax return.
This is relevant for those working as consultants and get a fee. If you get an income from rent, you should have proof of TDS for the rental income as well.
HAVE YOU EXHAUSTED ALL THE LIMITS FOR CLAIMING TAX EXEMPTION?
Check whether all tax benefits that are available have been utilised like Sec 80C, 80D, 24b, 80CCG and so on.
An income-tax assessee can invest up to Rs 1 lakh in various tax saving instruments such as Public Provident Fund, life insurance premium, equity-linked tax savings, mutual funds, repayment of home loan and so on. You can also claim tax deduction for health insurance premiums paid to the extent of Rs 15,000 for self, spouse and children and an additional Rs 15,000 for dependent parents, under Sec 80D. If parents are senior citizens, the limit is Rs 20,000.
If you have not completely used the deduction limits, you can still make the investment by March 31 even though you have already submitted proofs of the investment to your company and claim refund while filing returns, says Anil Rego, CEO, Rights Horizons.
HAVE YOU SUBMITTED THE PROOF FOR ALL YOUR TAX SAVING INVESTMENTS AND EXEMPTIONS TO YOUR OFFICE?
Submit the proof of your investment in the tax saving instruments to your office. Most companies ask for the proof by January or February so that they can show the details in the Form-16. Also, submit proof of childrens tuition fees paid or donations to any charitable organisation so that these can be accounted for in the Form-16. Again, if you have missed the deadline in your office, show the proof while filing the tax return.
HAVE YOU SUBMITTED YOUR HOME LOAN CERTIFICATE?
If you have availed of mortgage or home loan, then collect the certificate from your lender that shows the break-up of the interest and principal repayment, and submit the same in your office. In case of a second house, if the rental income is lower than the interest repayment, then that can be adjusted against your salary income or business income as loss, but not against capital gains, says Sandeep Shanbag, a certified financial planner.
HAVE YOU PAID ADVANCE TAX?
If you have capital gains from sale of property, then you must pay advance tax by March 15. If you have suffered any short-term or long-term capital loss, this can be offset against your capital gains during the year, thereby, reducing your tax liability.
HAVE YOU SUBMITTED PROOF FOR LTA, BILLS FOR TELEPHONE AND MEDICAL REIMBURSEMENT?
Submit proof of your travel such as air or rail tickets in order to claim your leave travel allowance (LTA). Also, submit all bills for telephone and medical reimbursement. If not you will have to pay tax on each of these.