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Sometimes navigating and uploading a TDS return on the TRACES portal can be difficult for some of the taxpayers. Complying with the data procedure too has been found tedious by many. Therefore to make it quite easy, I am describing step by step procedure of filing TDS Return using the utility available on NSDL.

The procedure is as follows:

1- The very first step is Registration on Traces and E-filing. First of all, you need to register your TAN number on Traces. But you cannot register on Traces until and unless you have already filed a TDS return (other than NIL Return). Because for registration on Traces, you will have to incorporate the challan details and a token number of your last filed return. (You do not need registration on Traces for filing TDS Return as TDS returns are uploaded on E-Filing). You also have to register your TAN number on E-Filing site. 

2- The second step is to download the utility from TIN-NSDL. There are two utilities available for TDS Return preparation. The first is RPU (Return Preparation Utility), with the help of which we prepare the TDS Return. And the second utility is FVU (File Validation Utility), with the help of which we validate the data incorporated by us in the RPU by matching the details with CSI File. Link for downloading the utility from TIN- NSDL is-

3- Now many of you must be thinking that what is CSI File. CSI File which is also known as CIN File is a Challan status inquiry file which you need to validate the data while preparing TDS Return. You can download it by he following process:

(a) Go to
(b) Click on TAN BASED VIEW.
(c) Fill in the required details.

And then you can download it. 

Here one important thing is to be noted is that while downloading CSI File, make sure that the period for which you are downloading CSI File includes all the challan which you have mentioned in your return. 

4- Now after installing both utilities, you have to open the RPU and select the relevant form number and then select Regular and then Click to Continue.

5- Then fill in all the relevant details.

6- After filling all the details, save your file. And then click on Create File. A dialog box will appear. In the first box (Challan input file name with path), you have to select the CSI file which you have downloaded earlier.

7- In the next box (Error and statistics report file path), you have to select the folder where all the files will be saved after generating. Then click on Validate.

A few files will be generated and saved in the selected folder.

8- Then you have to open FVU and a Dialog box will appear. In the first box (TDS Input file name with path) you have to select the file with ".txt" extension generated in the earlier step. In the next box, you have to select the CSI File. And in the third box, you have to select a folder where files will be saved after generating. Then click on Validate.

A few files will be generated. If there is any error in the return prepared by you then in the files generated, there will be an error file. In the files generated, you will find a PDF file named "27 A". You can once cross check the details that you will find in it.

You will also find a file with ".fvu" extension. Convert it into a ZIP file.

9- Log into E-Filling with the registered TAN number for which you are preparing the return. Click on TDS and then upload. Fill in the details and upload the ZIP File and Signature file and submit the return. 

If any error was found during the validation in Step- 8 then rectify the error. Create file again and validate it again.

10- After 2-3 days, you can check the status of filed return on TRACES. 

I have tried my level best to explain the TDS Return filing using the NSDL Utility.

The author can also be reached at

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Category Income Tax, Other Articles by - Komal