File Your Taxes Right – Changes to Note in the ITR-1 (SAHAJ) Form

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It’s that time of the year again when you have to go through the process of filing your ITR. Don’t forget that the last date to file your ITR for FY 2018-19 is July 31, 2019 (if not extended by government)! Formerly, filing your ITR was a long drawn process, including long lines and a lot of paperwork. However, with the perceptible shift to digital, there have been many benefits in terms of making the filing process accessible to everyone. Gone are the days when filing ITR was a complicated concept – it can now be done at the click of a mouse in the comfort of your own home.

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Must Read: How to verify your Income Tax Return Online?

Even if you are familiar with filing ITR online from the last few years, there are some changes which are introduced every year to further smoothen out the process. For instance, if your individual gross income is less than 50 lakhs a year, you will have to note the changes in the ITR-1 form (SAHAJ). Making note of these changes will not only help you file your ITR quickly, you avoid the risk of filing incorrect tax returns too!  Here’s taking a look at some of the changes introduced in the ITR-1 form this year:

  1. The most important change to note in the ITR-1 form (SAHAJ) this year is the introduction of Section 80GGA. Under this section, you can avail deductions for donations made for rural development or scientific research. If an individual wishes to claim deductions in his total taxable income, he or she can provide the necessary details of donations which have been made. There is a catch however, if you are someone with a business income, you are not eligible to claim deductions under his section.
  2. If you are yet to link your bank account to your PAN Card and are not registered as valid users on the e-filing website, now would be a good time to do so. As of 2019, the IT Department has taken the decision to issue e-refunds, only from March 2019. These returns will be available only to those individuals who have already completed the formalities mentioned above. So, before it’s too late, make sure you’re eligible to receive e-refunds!
  3. Unlike last year, the IT Department requires you to disclose whether the house property you own is let-out on rent, self-occupied or deemed let out during the fiscal year. This information needs to be provided on the ITR-1 form itself.
  4. Additional information to introduce absolute transparency seems to be the theme of the year for ITR. If you own house property which has been sold in the last year (2018-2019), you will now need to disclose the details of the buyer who has bought the property. This additional information will once again have to be noted in the ITR-1 form (SAHAJ) itself.
  5. In terms of donations made, the further stringency of process can be seen. Under Section 80G, you will not only have to disclose the donation amounts, but also the detailed break-up of the donation. This includes information such as the amount of the donation which was made through cash and that via banking channels.
  6. In addition to these changes, ITR-1 now requires you to also disclose all exempt income, such as the amount received from a life insurance policy, a provident fund of recognition, any agricultural income which is below Rs.5,000 or dividends received, to name a few.

ITR-1 this year has also restricted the below list of individuals from filing ITR-1 form (SAHAJ):

  • If you hold the position of Director in any organization.
  • If in the duration of the last fiscal year you have held any unlisted equity shares.
  • If you have claimed a deduction for expenses incurred while earning income via ‘other sources’. This does not include deductions claimed for family pension.

In brief these are some of the changes which need to be noted, when filing the ITR-1 (SAHAJ) form. Even though you may have filed your ITR last year and know that the process is simpler than before, you can never be too sure. Check the rules set forth by the IT Department on their official website before filing your taxes, and if you still have any doubts, you can always come back to us for queries!

You can even download Minty, which is India’s only chat app for Tax and Financial resolutions on the go. Connect with taxation experts/advisors on Minty and ask them any query you have.

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