Do I Have to File Income Tax Return?


(Last Updated On: August 28, 2019)

Everyone around you must be rushing to collect information about their income, TDS certificates, details of investments made etc. The reason is pretty obvious; the time to file income tax return for a year has come again . You must be feeling like to ask someone “Do I also have to file Income Tax Return?”, but don’t want to look like a fool. Relax! as Professor Dumbledore once said “Help is always given to those who ask for it” and we are here to help you!

  • When it is a must for me to File Income Tax Return?

One thing to note before we begin, there are different types of “persons” as per law when one file  income tax return. For e.g. Individual (like you & me), HUF, Company, an AOP/BOI etc. In our topic, we are covering the concept of Individual.

An individual is required to file income tax return if his income before deductions exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax i.e. basic exemption limit. 

Too technical..?? Wait, let’s simplify it for you. 

  • If your age is below 60 years. You need to file income tax return only when your income exceeds ₹ 250000. (Take care; this limit is before deductions)
  • If your age is 60 years or more but below 80 years. You got to pay taxman when your income is more than ₹ 300000. (The same thing, this limit is before deduction)
  • If you are a dadaji i.e. 80 years or more. We all love you, so the government, therefore you need to file income tax return only when your income exceeds ₹ 500000. (Yeah we know you are getting smart! Before deduction).

What is meant by income before or after deduction?

We are here to simplify it for you with a short & simple e.g. Let’s say you have a gross income of ₹ 300000 and out of this you have invested ₹ 100000 for tax saving as per sec 80C. Now your net income becomes ₹ 200000 (₹ 300000 – ₹ 100000). It is below the limit of ₹ 250000 (we presume that you are a fit gentleman who is less than 60 years). For determining basic exemption limit, income will be taken as ₹ 300000 not ₹ 200000, this means “before deduction”. Gotcha?

Now, let’s bust a Common Myth! Many people think that they are required to file income tax return just because they have PAN. It is not the case, filing income tax return is compulsory only when you are covered under the above discussed situations. For further PAN related queries, visit the page.

Apart from the condition of basic exemption, there are some other situations when an Individual is required to file income tax return compulsorily. They are as follows:

  1. If you own any asset, say, property or have financial interest in any entity outside India. Then department want you to file income tax return compulsorily without any limit.
  2. If you going to apply for visa or a loan? In both these cases, previous years income tax returns are required to be submitted to the embassy or bank respectively.
  3. If you are having excess loss under any head of income then you can carry forward it to next year. But to do that, you need to file your income tax return on or before the due date. However, in case of loss from house property you can carry forward the loss even if return is not filed within due date.
  4. If tax paid by you exceeds your actual liability then you become eligible for a tax refund. In that case, you’ve got to file income tax return to claim that refund buddy.
  5. If you have earned Long Term Capital gain on sale equity shares and other assets which are exempt u/s 10(38)  (Exemption withdrawn from F.Y 2018-19). You have to file income tax return even if such LTCG is only source of income and it exceeds ₹ 250000.
  6. If you have received any income from a property held under trust, medical institution or any other not for profit organisation. In that case, you need to mandatorily file income tax return.

Even if your income is below basic exemption limit, just don’t feel relaxed !!  Do Check whether you are still liable to file an income tax return or not to avoid any legal consequences.

So, by now, you must have understood the conditions when you have to file income tax return compulsorily. Now, let’s also discuss when you can file the paper return. The conditions to be satisfied are as under :

  1. When your gross income does NOT exceeds ₹ 500000 or
  2. When you DO NOT want to claim the refund.

It is to be noted that only ITR-1 & ITR -4 can be filed in paper mode. Further, in all other cases it is mandatory to file income tax return online.

Filing Income Tax Return is a sign of good tax compliance and keeps your image clean in front of tax department. We have heard many people say filing income tax return is “Faltu Ki Jhanjat” for them, please do not make that mistake. We’ve previously shared some fantastic benefits of filing income tax return, do read it now! There are very strict laws against non-filing of income tax return like fee u/s 234F. Don’t become a victim of them.

For further assistance regarding the time limit to file income tax return, we highly recommend you to refer Due Date for ITR filings and ITR Forms for AY 2018-19.

We at Tax2Win continuously try to make your income tax life happier and simple. If you need any assistance to file an income tax return, get in touch with our eCAs. Also, keep following our blog and social media pages for regular updates. HAPPY FILING!

Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2Win.in. Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.