How to File Income Tax Return Online for Salaried Employees
Filing income tax returns promptly is an all-important financial exercise for salaried individuals in India. However, the procedure for filing returns remains fenced by several misconceptions and a general lack of information. So today, we shed light on this subject by answering all queries on how to file income tax returns online for salaried employees.
Let’s get started!
Income Tax Return: An Overview
The Income Tax Act, 1961, mandates Indian taxpayers to furnish details of their income earned and applicable taxes on the same through a form. This form is known as an income tax return or ITR. An assessee, therefore, submits this form to the Income Tax Department of India.
Additionally, the information of income provided in this form pertains to a given financial year, i.e., a year commencing from April 1st and ending on March 31st of the subsequent year.
Furthermore, before we dig into how to file income tax returns for salaried employees, let’s understand who should file them. Individuals who fall into the following categories are liable to file ITR:
- An assessee whose gross income is more than the basic exemption limit before deductions under Sections 80C, 80CCD, 80D, 80TTB, and 80TTB. The table below summarises the basic exemption limit:
Age of the Individual
Amount of Income
Up to 60 years of age
Between 60 years to 80 years of age
Above the age of 80 years
- An individual earning income from more than one source of income, such as a residential property, capital gains, investments, etc.
- Individuals with investments or earnings from foreign assets
- An assessee with over ₹1 crore of deposits in one or more banks
- An individual who has made a payment of over ₹2,00,000 on foreign travel of a person. (this person may or may not be a family member)
- An assessee who has paid more than ₹1,00,000 as electricity charges in a year
How to File an Income Tax Return online for Salaried Employees?
Now that you are familiar with filing income tax returns, let us elaborate on how to file ITR online for a salaried person. Simply follow these steps:
- Step 1: Navigate to the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department.
- Step 2: Log in to the portal by submitting your user ID (PAN), password, and a Captcha code. If you are not registered with this portal, you can sign up using your Permanent Account Number (PAN), which will then serve as a user ID.
- Step 3: Under the e-file section, click on ‘Income Tax Return’ from the drop-down menu and select the relevant assessment year. At this point, you need to select the appropriate income tax return (ITR) form and download it. Salaried employees can opt for ITR-1, ITR-2, or ITR-3 (which we shall delve into later in this article).
- Step 4: Select the filing type as ‘Original’ if you are not filing for a revised return.
- Step 5: Choose the submission mode of ‘Prepare and Submit Online’ and click on ‘Continue.’
- Step 6: Now, fill in the relevant ITR form with all the necessary details related to your income, deductions, exemptions, and investment. Then, you are required to add the details of tax payments through TDS, TCS, and advance tax. However, ensure that all data is accurate. Additionally, click on the ‘Save The Draft’ option periodically to avoid losing data due to technical errors.
- Step 7: Compute the tax payable and pay tax. Then, enter challan details in your tax return. (You should skip this step if you do not have any tax liability).
- Step 8: Confirm the details entered in the form. Then, select ‘Submit.’ This is how you can file ITR online for a salaried employee.
At this point, a message flashes on your computer screen, prompting successful e-filing. Subsequently, an acknowledgement form called ITR-V is generated. Now, you must verify your return by way of any of these modes:
- Aadhaar OTP
- Bank account number
- Demat account number
- Registered mobile number
- Net banking
- Bank ATM
- Sending a physical copy of the acknowledgement to the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) in Bengaluru via post
This is how you can file ITR for a salaried person.
ITR forms applicable for salaried employees
As mentioned earlier, salaried individuals in India can opt for any of the following ITR forms:
- ITR-1 (Sahaj): Salaried employees with a total income of up to ₹50,00,000 must file their income tax returns with ITR-1. Here, the total income includes earnings under the ‘Income from Other Sources’ alongside salaries. However, to file an ITR-1, an assessee should not have more than one house property. Additionally, his/her income from agriculture should not exceed ₹5,000.
- ITR-2: It is applicable for those salaried persons whose total income exceeds ₹50,00,000. Moreover, individuals with more than one house property are eligible to file ITR-2. Additionally, you can file income tax returns with ITR-2 if you generate income from capital gains and/or other sources, but not from profits or gains from business or profession.
- ITR-3: As a salaried employee, you can file an ITR-3 if you receive income from salary, business or profession, house property (one or multiple), capital gains, and other sources.
When should a salaried employee file ITR?
If you are an employee, you should know more than just how to file an IT return for a salaried person. You should know that such a filing is necessary only when your taxable income falls above the exemption limit. As of 2021, this exemption limit, as per the old as well as new tax regime, is ₹2,50,000. So, if you earn more than ₹2,50,000 of taxable income, it is mandatory to file ITR before the due date.
Why should salaried employees file income tax returns?
This is perhaps the most common query after how to file an income tax return for a salaried person. So, let us elucidate on why salaried employees should file ITRs by highlighting the benefits of doing so:
Adjustment of capital gains or losses
Filing income tax returns is especially for you if you invest in the equity market and buy or sell shares. Moreover, the adjusted short-term capital losses can be carried forward for up to 8 years when you submit the ITR for a given financial year.
Claim tax refunds
Once the tax is deducted, you can get tax refunds only by submitting your IT return for the financial year. Therefore, refunds on TDS on rent payments or fixed deposits get initiated after you file returns and claim your desired tax deduction.
Convenient application for loans
An income tax return is more than just a financial statement – it specifies your annual earnings as well. As a result, banks and NBFCs often require copies of ITRs for granting loans, such as a home loan or vehicle loan. Moreover, filing returns despite having no taxable income increases the chances of loan approval compared to an individual with the same income but no ITRs.
At the time of the visa interview, several foreign consulates require you to furnish your ITR receipt for the last couple of years. Producing this document indicates that an individual has a considerable source of revenue in India, which strengthens his/her candidacy for visa approval.
The due date for filing ITR for individual taxpayers
Generally, the last date to file an income tax return for individual taxpayers is July 31st in the subsequent financial year. For example, the due date to file an ITR for FY 2019-2020 was July 31st, 2020.
However, this date is subject to extension as and when deemed suitable by the Central Board of Taxes (CBDT). For instance, although the last date to file ITR was July 31st, 2020, for FY 2019-2020, it was extended to December 31st, 2020.
Have you missed out on the due date to file your income tax return? Do not fret. Allow us to explain how to file ITR for salaried employees after the due date:
1) File a belated return
You can still file your income tax return after the due date, which is known as a belated return. Filing a belated return is essentially the same as filing an ITR before the due date. The primary difference while filing a belated return is that while filing the applicable ITR form, you must select ‘Return Filed under Section 139(4)’.
2) Pay a late filing fee or penalty
The downside to filing an income tax return after the due date is that it attracts a penalty. Therefore, you are liable to pay a late filing fee under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act, the amount of which is variable.
The table below highlights the amount of penalty generally payable by different categories of taxpayers:
Due Date to File an Income Tax Return
Penalty Applicable to Taxpayers with Less Than ₹5,00,000 of Total Income
Penalty Applicable to Taxpayers with Over ₹5,00,000 of Total Income
On or before August 31st
A late fee is not applicable in this case.
A late fee is not applicable in this case.
From September 1 to December 31
From January 1 to March 31
The key takeaway from the above table is that individuals with a total income below ₹5,00,000 should pay ₹1,000 as a late filing fee. As a result, these taxpayers enjoy relaxation on the payment of penalties. Additionally, the maximum penalty applicable when filing belated returns is ₹10,000.
However, when filing a return after the deadline, you shall lose certain deductions and set-offs on carrying forward losses (except for house property losses) as prescribed under Section 139(1).
So, be wise and file your ITRs on time. We hope that this guide answered all questions on how to file IT returns for salaried employees.