While it may be getting tougher to fill in the details sought by the ITR forms, the actual process of filing the return has become simpler over the years, thanks to e-filing. Official statistics on e-filing show that the salaried class (i.e., those using ITR 1 and ITR 2 forms) now account for almost half the e-returns filed. This is a steady climb from the 33 per cent in 2010-11. E-filing was made compulsory for those earning above ₹5 lakh from financial year 2012-13.

This year, the scope of e-filing has been further widened. If you are claiming a refund of taxes in the return, then you have to necessarily file your returns electronically. But a concession is available for senior citizens who are 80 years of age or older. They can file their returns manually even if their income exceeds ₹5 lakh or even if they have a refund claim. E-filing has also been made mandatory from this year for those claiming tax relief in India based on Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (Sec 90, 90A, 91).

Besides, if you are filing the returns directly on the IT department’s website by yourself, you can look forward to more user-friendly features. Pre-filling of personal information and information of taxes paid/TDS, etc., in the return forms has been enabled. These details will automatically get updated as soon as you enter your PAN.

Apps at your service Even if you are taking the help of e-return preparing websites, you can look forward to additional features this season. For instance, Amol Mishra, Head of Tax, myITreturn.com says that they have rolled out a Mobile app for filing the ITR 1 return forms. The app also features an ‘ask a question’ service where tax payers can get their doubts clarified. The app has seen more than one lakh downloads so far, according to Mishra. Vikram Ramchand, CIO and Co-founder, Makemyreturns.com, on the other hand is encouraging his clients to opt for his ‘tax insurance’ and ‘tax planning’ packages this season. The former provides expert follow-up assistance to customers in case they are faced with issues, such as rectification, demand notice, etc. after they e-file their returns. The latter helps clients save on taxes by working around their income structures.

Finally, this year onwards, we can safely do away with an exercise we often drag our feet on or, sometimes, completely forget — sending the ITR V Acknowledgement form to the Processing Centre in Bangalore. The tax department has brought out the ‘Electronic Verification Code’ (EVC) system for this purpose. Once your return is filed on the department’s website http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, the EVC, which is a ten-digit alpha-numeric code, can be generated for the purpose of electronic verification. You can either use your Net Banking account, Aadhaar number, or even your debit/credit card at an ATM to generate the EVC. Details relating to the working of the EVC are available at http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/news/evc_notification- 13-07-2015.pdf

Also read: What’s new in IT returns