Let us continue on the efiling of the income tax return topic.
The free portal from government of India allows you to choose the right form for filing of the income tax and gives you downloadable excel file which you can use to enter data, edit, take printouts and then deposit the return to the income tax department. You are also allowed to create the xml file that you upload to the IT department's website and then follow up with the printout of the data entered.
If you do not have the digital signature you can take a printout of the return sign it and post it to the central processing centre of the Income Tax department in Bangalore. So this process is not quite efiliing as you still have to take printout sign and send it by ordinary post to the CPC in Bangalore the address for the same is given below:
“Income Tax Department – CPC, Post Bag No - 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bengaluru - 560100, Karnataka”
This needs to be done within 120 days of submitting the data to the Income tax department website either using the government’s free portal or one of the paid website like Taxsmile.com or taxspanner.com.
One may wonder why would one use a paid site if the free government site is available. Well the reason is simple the paid websites are easier to use and have a decent interface for data entry and they guide you step by step. The IT departments website though free is a pain to use and I had to abandon it as the process of data entry was too painful specially if you have other sources of income like
1. Capital Gains
So the process of efiling without using the digital signature is not actually paperless, what is happening is that the Income tax department is asking you to do data entry rather than one of their babus once they receive your paper return. Very smart, you sell it as a paperless return but actually the IT department is saving on cost of a data entry operator while you still have to take a printout and send it to the IT department by post. Though it is not without merit as you have done data entry you are sure what is reaching the servers of the IT department and chances of clerical errors at the IT departments end are reduced.
Next article we will examine the so called total paperless return using a digital signature and find out if it is truly paperless or there is a catch attached there also.
Thanks for reading.