Monday, April 2, 2018

Income Tax Returns

I recently filed my Income Tax Returns for AY 2017-2018 and AY 2016-2017. Though it was pending for a long time and I kept telling myself that I will get around to it, I didn’t. I also knew that for both the years I would get refunds since my Employer Organization had deducted more than what I was liable to pay because some of the documents I submitted were deemed insufficient and it was too late to resubmit them. I know in some areas excuses just don’t cut it and this is one of those. As cliche and boring as it may sound, all I can do is plead a busy schedule. And honestly, I didn't know this much time had passed since I last filed my returns. Time just flies!

I got a refund of INR. 4080 for AY 2017-2018 and INR. 48080 for AY 2016-2017 (how is that for a pattern?). The processing was done promptly too with a decent wait time. The process is even more simplified since the last time I filed, in the sense that I didn’t have to mail the physical copy of the Return with my signature in it. Filling up the AADHAR number automatically e-verifies it, which saves the hassle of taking a print out, signing it and then going to the post office to mail it.

Though there are many sites which are more user friendly and make the calculations a bit easier, I still choose to go with the government website to file my returns. There is something about the process (collecting all relevant documents, poring over all my records, understand each and everything about the figures) and doing it all by myself that I find immensely satisfying.

When I entered the work force 8 years ago, I had absolutely no idea about Income Tax. The first few years I paid the whole thing in full, without even making the most straight forward deductions (I guess I should find comfort in the thought that it all went to the development of my great Nation).

This is true with most of my friends as well. In fact, many of my friends still don’t know the basics. The last time I had filed mine, I helped three of my friends and my baby brother with their Returns. I did everything from scratch for them- created the user account in the government website, pored over their Form 16s and other relevant documents, did the actual filing and finally mailed the Income Tax return and also the user account details (username and password, obviously) of the website to their email accounts. For one of my friends, I lent the tax money that she had to pay, which she prudently paid me back later (love you Pai!). With hindsight, I guess I had time to spare back then. Happy times indeed!

I didn’t file my return for the year AY 2015-2016. I was eligible for a refund from that year also but the last date to file that one has lapsed (was 31 March, 2017). Usually, the late Return can be filed even one year after the end of the relevant AY. I knew this already, but still didn’t file. Except for the AY 2015-2016 all my returns are in order now. This year though the Income Tax Department announced that even for the AY 2017-2018 last date to file is 31 March, 2018 which means they are doing away with almost one year of extra time to file the return. So it is better to look for these news items than rely on the usual practices.

Anyways, filing your Tax Return even if all your tax liabilities are paid already is good practice. It denotes that things are in order. It helps in easy Loan Processing and even Visa Processing. If you already have the Returns in hand, you don’t have to file them in a hurry when you are in the middle of a Loan Processing or Visa Processing which already tend to be tedious processes by themselves sometimes. So don’t be like me. File your taxes on time. I definitely intend to do so in the future.

Two TED talks I liked

I recently came across the following two TED talks, both of which I liked. In the first one, the Speaker talks about why it is important t...