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Ten commonly observed mistakes in filing of Income Tax returns

1. Many people routinely fail to include the following in their income tax returns:
- Interest income on FDs
- Income from previous employers (if they have changed jobs during the year)
- Income on investments made in the name of their spouses/children  

2. Interest income on Savings Account is another item that is normally forgotten to be included. (In fact, till last year, even Re.1 of savings account interest was taxable.) Though this year up to Rs.10,000 is tax deductible, it still has to be reported as income from other sources. And then deduction can be claimed u/s 80TTA in Schedule VI-A of the form.

3. Nowadays many people own more than one property. Many times these properties are either occupied by parents/siblings or lying vacant. As per IT Act, all properties (except one self-occupied property) are liable for taxation — whether rented out or not.

4. Just because certain incomes are exempt from tax e.g. PPF interest, Dividends, Capital Gains on which STT has been paid, Insurance proceeds, etc. doesn't mean that they don't have to be reported. There is a separate annexure in IT Return forms where such incomes have to be disclosed.

5. Every year IT Dept. comes across thousands of returns with incorrect addresses, bank account nos., IFSC codes (earlier MICR codes) and even erroneous PAN Nos.

6. Discrepancy in actual tax deducted at source (by your employer on your salary; on interest by banks; on rent; on professional fees etc.) and the details available with IT Dept. is not uncommon. These must, therefore, be verified in Form AS26 available on IT Dept's website. If they do not tally, matter must be reported to the tax deductor for resolving the discrepancies. Else, tax refunds will get delayed or even demand for additional tax may be issued.

7. If returns are filed without Digital Signature, ITR V must be sent to IT Dept's Bangalore office within 120 days of filing the return. This has to be signed in blue ink and sent by ordinary post only. Private couriers are not acceptable.

8. TDS doesn't mean that total tax dues have been paid. For example, as per IT Act banks will deduct only 10% TDS on FDs. But if someone is in the 20 or 30% tax bracket, he is liable to pay this difference by way of Advance Tax or Self Assessment Tax. 

9. Filing of incorrect IT Form too is routinely observed. Therefore, care must be taken to select the right form applicable.

10. Mistakes also happen in deductions claimed u/s 80C. For example, out of total EMIs paid, only the principal portion has to be shown in Schedule VI-A. The interest portion gets deducted in the House Property Schedule. (Moreover, this interest+principal deduction is available only if the property is complete.) Or for PF, only employee's portion has to be shown u/s 80C, not the employer's contribution.

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