July 31st is the last day for filing an Income Tax Return (ITR). Most people regard this task as a burden, but filing an ITR filing of Return – on time is an extremely important tool to create your financial history. When you file your tax returns every year, you manage to maintain your financial record with the tax department. This financial / tax history is positively viewed and auspiciously utilized by most agencies with whom you may need to interact at times. It will help you to be in the good books of the financial institutions such as banks, Insurance companies, NBFCs etc. and also serves as a proof of income earned by an individual and total taxes paid.
It is always advisable to file one’s tax return even if the taxable income falls below the basic exemption threshold. Currently the limits are INR 2.5 lakhs for ordinary individuals, INR 3 lakhs for senior citizens and INR 5 lakhs for super senior citizens.
You can enjoy the following benefits if you file tax returns:
- ITR Receipt is an important document: Having an ITR receipt is important because it is more detailed than Form 16, entailing your income and taxation along with revenue from other sources.
- Use as address proof: If you have been filing your returns regularly, then the assessment order can act as a proof of residence.
- Easy loan or card processing: Being a diligent income tax filer makes it easier for banks to assess your financial position when you apply for loans like an auto loan, home loan etc. Providing a copy of ITRs receipts with your loan application make it easier for you to get approved it quickly.
- Compensate losses in the next financial year: Unless you file the ITR you will not be able to carry forward capital losses (short-term or long-term), if any, in a financial year to be adjusted against capital gains made in the following years. As per the income-tax provisions, if tax returns are not filed on time, unadjusted losses (with some exceptions) cannot be carried forward to subsequent years. A long-term capital loss in one year is allowed to be carried forward for eight consecutive years immediately succeeding the year in which the loss is incurred. Long-term capital loss can only be adjusted against a long-term capital gain in the following years. But short-term capital loss can be adjusted against long- as well as short-term capital gains.
- Hence, to ensure that the losses are carried forward for future adjustment, a tax return would be required to be filed within the due date (31st July) of the assessment year.
- Avoid paying additional interest: If you owe some taxes and still do not file your tax return, then you may be liable to pay additional interest u/s 234A at 1% per month on remaining tax payable by you. For instance, banks would deduct tax from interest on fixed deposits exceeding a certain limit.
- Avoid penalties or scrutiny from the tax department: From FY 2017-18, INR 10,000 would be imposed for not filing ITR. Also there could be prescribed penalties ranging from 50 to 200% in certain cases. This black mark on your financial history will remain for years to come.
- Credit card processing: Credit card companies also insist on having proof of return prior to issuing a card, so they can reject to issue you a credit card if you haven’t filed your ITR.
- For a hassle-free visa application procedure: If you are planning to immigrate to another country or exploring a high-paying overseas job opportunity, then prepare yourself well in advance.At times visa authorities ask for copies of past tax returns, therefore to apply for a visa a tax return would essential to be filed. Embassies, especially those of US, UK, Canada etc., require you to furnish the copies of your tax returns for the last couple of years at the time of the visa interview.
- To buy an insurance policy with a higher cover: Taking in consideration high cost of living, buying life cover of INR 50 lakh or INR 1 crore has become very usual from past few years. However, these covers are available against your ITR documents that verify annual income. “Life insurance companies ask to furnish ITR receipts if you opt to buy a term policy with sum insured of INR 50 lakh or more. If insurance providers have reasons (non-compliance) to believe that you are a tax-evader, they will not give you policies with more cover.
- Government tender: If one plans to start his business that require him to apply for a government tender or two, he will be need to present his tax return receipts of the previous five years. This again, is to show your financial position and whether you can meet the payment obligation or not. However, this is no strict rule. It may vary depending on the internal rules of the government department. Even the number of ITRs required can vary.
- Makes life easier for freelancers and independent professionals: Businessmen, consultants, partners of firm, freelancer or self-employed people don’t get Form16. This is the only document to prove that they have filed the ITR. Without this, they can face funding issues and transactional problems.
- High-value transactions: If you regularly file your ITR, then it will create a strong financial history and credibility. When you do any high-value transactions such as purchase or sale of property, buying a car, cash deposits in bank, investment in mutual funds, credit card bill payments, etc., by filing ITRs, one can report these transactions & substantiate the same as per one’s income.
If you require any assistance in filing your personal income tax returns, corporate tax returns, income tax assessments, response to income tax notices, please contact AJSH & Co LLP. If you have any query regarding this Click Here.