Filing income tax returns online if you are in India

I will take a small de-tour today from my regular blogging schedule on all things WinRT and C++. This post is all about filing your tax returns if you are working in India or need to file your tax returns in India.

Beginning this year, all individuals who have an income over INR 10,00,000 should file their returns online. While there are many sites offering their services to file returns on your behalf, I remain wary of what they will do with my data. If you are like me and would like to have control over your data (PAN, income details, investment details etc) then you should file your returns directly with the Income Tax Department. The department maintains an e-filing website exclusively for this purpose at The following steps should give you a good idea of the complete process.


1. Navigate to the above mentioned site.

2. Register on the site using your PAN number as the user name.

3. If you are like me and have only your income from employment and no other source of income, download the ITR-1 form from this page. The ITR-1 is also known as the SAHAJ form.

4. This form is an excel sheet within a zip file. Extract the Excel sheet from the zip file and save it to a folder on disk.

5. Open the Excel sheet using Microsoft Excel. When Excel opens the sheet, it prompts you to turn on MACROS. Click OK to enable the MACROS.

6. To proceed further, you should have the Form-16 document from your employer. In case your employer has not provided it yet, you should get the form ASAP.

7. If you have the Form-16, open the same. This is either provided in physical form or as a PDF document.

8. Fill up your name, address, PAN, Date of Birth and other mandatory details in the Sheet 1 of the Excel utility.

9. Once you get to the income particulars, refer to your Form-16. Each item in the Excel sheet has a corresponding line item on your Form 16. For example, the Income under Head Salaries has a similar line item on your Form 16. So does deductibles under Chapter VI ( A ) etc.

10. Fill up all these details by matching them with line items on your Form-16.

11. Move to the next sheet in the Excel utility. This contains the tax deducted from your income at source and deposited into the Income Tax account. It is also called the Form 26 ( AS ). This information is usually provided in your Form-16 (either as a supplementary section or as a separate page).

12. Fill up the section by referring to the Form-26. This section needs the TAN of your employer (which can be found on Page 1 of your Form-16), address of your employer, total tax deducted at source etc.

13. Move to the next sheet in the Excel utility. This is the verification sheet. Fill in all mandatory details marked in Red. The needed information includes your bank account details, MICR number of your account, account type and finally a self-declaration section.

14. If you have made any 80G contributions, you can fill those in Sheet 4 and click on Insert items to Sheet 1.

15. Once you are done with filling all these details, move to Sheet 1 and click on the Validate button at the top of the sheet. Correct any errors that it displays. If all is well, move to Sheet 2, 3 and 4 to repeat the process.

16. Once the validation is complete in all the 4 sheets, move back to Sheet 1.  Click on the “Compute Tax” button to compute total tax liability.

17. If you are eligible for a refund, change the Tax status field to refundable amount. If you have to pay tax, change it to tax owed.

18. Click on Create XML file button at the top of Sheet 1.

19. The excel utility will prompt you to save the XML file. It will be saved in the folder where you saved the excel utility.

20. Once the XML file creation is complete, you can login to the Income Tax department site mentioned above, and upload the XML file. The department will send you a notification via email. This email takes about 2 days to arrive (Don’t ask me the reason for the delay).

21. On successful receipt of the email (it contains a zipped PDF file), take a printout of the PDF file, sign the form in black ink and send it to the address mentioned in the form.

22. Once the department receives the signed receipt, they will issue an tax filed receipt over email which can be used as proof that you have filed your tax returns with the department.




P.S: We now return to our regular blogging on WinRT and C++.

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