Is filing the Income Tax Return compulsory?

As an Individual you are required by law to file your Income Tax Returns, if your total income without allowing deductions (such as Section 80C etc) exceeds the basic exemption limit.

For Assessment Year 2012-13, the basic exemption limits are the following:

   For Men below the age of 60, the exemption limit is Rs. 1,80,000.

   For Women, below the age of 60, the exemption limit is Rs. 1,90,000.

   For Senior Citizens, whose age is between 60 years to 80 years, the exemption limit is Rs. 2,50,000. This is identical for men and women.

   For Super Senior Citizens, of the age of 80 years or more, the exemption limit is Rs. 5,00,000.

What does Total Income without allowing deductions (such as Section 80C etc) actually mean?

Let’s say, your gross total Income is Rs. 2,00,000. You have paid Rs. 50,000 in LIC premium for claiming deduction under Section 80C. Your Taxable Income is Rs. 1,50,000 (Rs. 2,00,000 - Rs. 50,000). The tax payable on Rs. 1,50,000 is Zero.

However, even in this situation, you are required to file your Income Tax Return as your gross total Income exceeds the basic exemption limit of Rs. 1,80,000. (assuming you are not a senior citizen).

Exemption for filing Income Tax Return for Salaried Employees

For the Assessment Year 2012-13, there is an exemption from filing the Income Tax Return for Salaried employees, subject to the following conditions. 

   Your Total Income after deductions (such as Section 80C etc) is upto Rs. 5,00,000.

   Income other than Salary should be only from Saving Bank Interest, upto Rs. 10,000. If you have any other source of Income like House Property, Capital Gain, or even interest from fixed deposits, you will have to file your Income Tax Return.

   You must declare this Interest Income from the Saving Bank to the Employer. The employer then has to deduct the TDS taking into account your Interest Income.

   If you have a refund due, you need to your file your Income Tax Return to claim this refund.

This exemption is difficult to get in actual practice. You will most likely have to file your Income Tax Return.

This is because, you must declare your Interest Income to your employer before 31st March of the Financial Year. But in most cases, the Bank issues the Interest statement after 31st March. So it is virtually impossible to report the Bank Interest to the employer in time.

Compulsory filing of Income Tax Returns if you have foreign assets.

For the Assessment 2012-13, it is mandatory to file your Income Tax Return if you have any foreign assets. Even though you may not have any taxable Income.

When is e-filing your Income Tax Return compulsory?

For the Assessment year 2012-13, e-filing of the Income Tax Return has become compulsory for the following cases:

   If your Total Income exceeds Rs. 10 Lakhs, then you must e-file your Income Tax Return.

   If you own foreign assets, you must e-file.

I have paid all my taxes, do I still need to file my Income Tax Return?

As explained above, the law has placed an obligation on you to file the Income Tax Return even if you have no tax due.

ClearTax helps Individuals prepare and file their Income Tax Returns online in India.

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