Thursday, September 2, 2010

Filing Tax Returns in India - Made Easy !

I'm phobic to "standing in queues" - be it a theatre or a government office. I hate to stand in long lines, especially when things can be done from your home, over the internet, with the click of a mouse button. The thought of standing in long lines to file my tax returns made me nervous, in July. Thank God ! Indian government has brought a number of e-governance initiatives and "filing tax returns online" is one such initiative. (Also read: I love IRCTC.CO.IN)

I didn't have to file tax returns in India for the last several years, since I didn't have any income in India. The last time I filed tax returns in India, I had to stand in the queue for at least 2 hours to just submit the application and to get a stamped acknowledgment. I was thrilled to hear about the online service for filing tax returns. I initially envisioned it to be an equivalent of Turbo Tax or Tax Cut - but, it is no where close to those services. However, it is lot better than the hard copy "Saral form" that I filled years ago.

I got some tips from my colleagues and decided to file the tax returns online. All you need to do is download an Excel Spreadsheet, fill the relevant information from Form 16 and upload it online. You'll get an acknowledgment right away. In addition to doing this, you need to "mail" the hard copy to NSDL processing center. The process involved is very simple and you can complete it in just an hour or so. The refund amount gets automatically deposited in your bank account, if you provide bank account details. I was not eligible for any refunds and hence, couldn't validate that work flow. But, I heard that you DO get refunds from the IT department :)

In the past, I had to rely on my friends to understand the different fields in the Saral form. Having filed tax returns in US on my own, several times, I could now understand the fields easily. Moreover, the Excel Spreadsheet has lots of 'intelligence' built-in. It does all the basic checks that prevent you from entering wrong data.

Overall, I liked the online interface for filing tax returns. Someday, I want it to be as intuitive and easy as Turbo Tax / Tax Cut.

Also read:

Filing tax returns in US after your R2I - Some tips
Getting a PAN card in India - Not Easy!

1 comment:

  1. Have been filing returns online for the past 2 years...Now it has become a breeze, first time when I had filed, there where couple of 'mistakes' that I did while filing, IT department corrected them and they even had sent me a copy on how they corrected my returns...


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