At the very first instance, it has been a great step by the government that they have made available the ITR forms on 1st April itself. Although the last date of filing ITR is 31st July for individuals, people have already started filing returns from the first week of April itself. But, as a professional, there are few points which I would like to highlight regarding filing of returns before 15th May. Let us discuss about income tax return for salaried class, for whom Form 16 and 26AS are the basis for filing ITR .
1. What is 26AS? 26AS is nothing but a statement of TDS deducted by employer on your salary. Credit of TDS in 26AS of individuals is reflected only after filing of TDS returns by employers. Nowadays Form 16 is directly generated from TDS website (TRACES) after filing of TDS returns.
2. Due date of TDS return: The due date of filing TDS returns for the March quarter is 15th May. This implies that your 26AS will not be updated & you will not get Form 16 from the employer before 15th May.
3. Appropriate date of filing ITR by individuals: The best time to file ITRs by individuals is from 16th May to 31st July. Why so? If you file your ITR before 15th May, it may happen that there are differences in the TDS reflected in your salary slips and the TDS in Form 16.
From statistics of last year, it was observed that 70 - 80 % of notices u/s 143(1) issued by IT department were because of the mismatch of TDS claimed in ITR and TDS shown in 26AS. This can be avoided simply by filing ITR after 15th May.
Government is motivating people to file income tax returns at the earliest, but early filing of returns may lead to more discrepancies in TDS amount, resulting in demand of tax and interest from TAXMAN, thus increasing trouble for taxpayers. Government should also advance the date of filing TDS returns from the next year so that the true spirit of early availability of ITR forms is achieved.
So let us not rush and wait for the employers to file TDS returns first.
Thanks for reading!