Tips for last minute filing of tax returns

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 |

Compile list of tax-deducted-at-source you have paid.
Sandeep Shanbhag in Mumbai
It's almost the end of the financial year. But, there is always some amount of last minute planning to do before filing the tax returns. Here's a checklist, meant as a handy last-minute reference, that can help you.
Firstly, you need to compile a list of the tax-deducted-at-source that you have paid.
From your final tax liability, you only need to pay the amount, over the tax already deducted.

Next, if you have availed of housing finance, be sure to collect the certificate of your equated monthly installments and the total interest paid, from the housing finance company.
While housing finance companies themselves send these documents to their customers, as an employee, you might need it much earlier.
Some companies ask salaried individuals to give their tax saving investment details in December or January itself.
In such cases, the housing finance company will hand over a provisional certificate to the customer. This would give the relevant details of interest charged and principal deducted until the date of dispatch.

Premiums paid for parents can be claimed.

It will also mention the expected amount until the end of the financial year. Remember, you can claim the Section 80D Mediclaim deduction even in respect of premiums paid for your parents.
If you buy medical insurance for yourself and for your parents who are 65 or above, the total deduction that can be claimed is Rs. 35,000.
Subject to conditions, Section 80C allows a wide gamut of deductions, many of which are not popularly known. Most of us are aware that our yearly contribution to our provident fund qualifies for the Section 80C deduction.
But, so do home loan installments paid and tuition fees for children. Don't forget to include these, if applicable, in your tax return.
If you have made a donation, you will need the receipt issued by the done institute to get the benefit of the deduction under Section 80G. If you have not collected such a receipt, do so soon.

Business loss cannot be set off against salary income.

Remember, business loss cannot be set off against salary income. Similarly, any capital losses cannot be set off against any other type of income. Short-term capital loss can be set off only against short-term capital gain or taxable long-term capital gain.
Since long-term capital gain from sale of shares and equity mutual funds is tax-free, any long-term capital loss from this cannot be set off at all.
Most losses (other than the long-term capital loss mentioned earlier) can be carried forward for a set-off for as long as eight years.
However, for this you need to file your tax return by the due date. For individuals, this date generally is by July 31 of the assessment year. If a return is not filed by this date, then carry forward of losses is not allowed.
Long-term capital gain earned on sale of residential property may be saved by investing the capital gain amount in another property.

Get all the documents in order.

However, to save tax on long-term capital gain from sale of any asset other than residential property (such as commercial property), the entire sale proceeds need to be invested in new property and not just the capital gain.
If a lesser amount is invested, the deduction will be proportional.
If you are a female assessee under the age of 65, do not forget to take into account the special tax exemption slab of Rs. 1,90,000, while arriving at your tax.
And, if above the age of 65, remember to claim the special slab exemption of Rs. 2,40,000.
Finally, get all the supporting documents of the tax planning/saving investements, in order.
Though the new tax return forms (ITR series) do not require any documents attached, the tax officials can always ask to be shown the proof.
The writer is a financial planner