Pre-filled Income Tax Return (ITR) Forms have made e-filing of Income Tax Return 2019-20 easier than before, as assessees need not enter all the information in each and every place of the form. However, one shouldn’t blindly trust the pre-filled data as the pre-filled ITR Forms are not error free.
Take for example the case of Nitesh Das (name changed), who is a government employee and was transferred from one department to another in August last year. The department, in which he is now serving, has given the Form 16, in which it was stated that a part of the tax payable has been deducted at source (TDS) and deposited by the department, while the rest of the TDS amount was deducted and deposited by the previous department.
However, while filing the return, the amount of Gross Salary mentioned in the pre-filled ITR Form (ITR-1) was around Rs 4 lakh more than the amount mentioned in the Form 16. He got confused and thought the extra amount may have been the gross salary he earned from the previous department.
Another discrepancy he noticed was mentioning of HRA (Sec 10(13A)-Allowance to meet expenditure incurred on house rent) amount of around Rs 40,000 under "Allowance to the extent exempt u/s 10". As he is not living in rented accommodation, he never claimed HRA exemption and the Form 16 available with him was also not reflecting the same. So, he deleted the figure of HRA exemption.
While other fields look alright, he just put the amount of health insurance premium paid and medical expenses made on his wife and mother u/s 80D as those were not mentioned in the Form 16.
However, when he reached the "Tax Paid and Verification" page, to his dismay, he found that instead of refund on account of deductions availed u/s 80D, it was showing tax payable of over Rs 1 lakh.
He then compared the TDS figures given in Form 16, Form 26 AS and the TDS page of the pre-filled ITR Form and found that the figures are identical everywhere. He then added the amount of gross income mentioned against the TDS figures in Form 26 AS and in the TDS page of the pre-filled ITR Form and found that the total was exactly matching with the figure of Gross Salary mentioned in the Form 16.
That makes it clear that the Form 16 contains the gross salaries paid by both the departments and the figure given in the pre-filled ITR Form with excess amount of around Rs 4 lakh was wrong. He then changed the figure mentioned in the pre-filled ITR Form with the figure of Gross Salary mentioned in the Form 16 and found that the "Tax Paid and Verification" page was showing some refund amount as predicted, instead of tax payable.
After that he went on to verify the details and once satisfied, he submitted the return and e-verified it through Aadhaar OTP.
Although, it can’t be verified how the inflated figure of Gross Salary and the figure of HRA exemption were appeared on the pre-filled ITR Form, but a lesson was learned that one can’t rely blindly on pre-filled data as it can’t be taken for granted that all the information are correct.
So, keep your documents ready beforehand and while filing your ITR, match all the data given in the pre-filled ITR Form before you submit your return.