Income Tax Return (ITR) Filing: Common Mistakes That Could Get You A Tax Notice

Filing income tax return (ITR) is as important as paying your taxes. If you fail to file your tax return, you might have to face one of the many penalties, even if you have paid your taxes on time. Filing your income tax return becomes both a moment of fear and pride for many first-time taxpayers.

As the ITR filing season is at its peak, it is important to be aware of the essential dos and don'ts that you should keep in mind. If you do not already know about the things that you need to be careful about while filing your ITR, read the following lists to ensure that you do not make any mistake that might attract a notice from the Income Tax Department.


Stay organised

The tax season is one of the great reasons to stay organised and keep all the documents ready and easily accessible. There are certain details that you need to fill out while filing your tax return, which can be hectic, especially if you are a businessman or are self-employed. In order to make the entire process easy, keep all the old tax receipts, investment records, receipts of income and other tax documents in place. It is also important because you may be required to produce all these documents in case your return is selected for scrutiny.

Choose the right ITR Form

It is very important to know which ITR form to file depending upon the income you receive. There are different conditions that will make it easy to determine which form is applicable to your income type. Once you know which ITR form is applicable in your case, you can easily file your tax return.

Recheck your calculations

It is always a good idea to go through your ITR form after you are done filling in the details. This will give you time to review the form and make sure that all the numbers are correct and as per the numbers shown on your Form 16.

Verify Form 26AS

The Form 26AS includes all the tax-related information (TCS, TDS, refund etc.). Therefore, it is essential to verify your Form 26AS for determining the amount that has already been deposited on your behalf by other people after deducting taxes. It also helps you ensure that you do not forget to report any income - which can lead to notices from the tax department and even imposition of penalties.

Report all your incomes

This is one of the most common mistakes people often make, ignoring income from other sources. There are certain categories of incomes that fall under the head 'Income from other sources', and it is very important for you to report this on your tax return form while filing it even though it is not reported in your Form 26AS.

Keep track of all your TDS and taxes paid by you

Most of your income might have been subjected to TDS when you receive it. It is also probable that sometimes this TDS may not reflect correctly in your Form 26AS because of a mistake by the deductor. Remember: The Form 26AS is just for reconciliation. If you have the proof of tax deducted at source, you can claim the credit even if it is not reflected in your form 26AS. Further, if you have paid the taxes in the form of advance tax or self assessment tax, don't miss to enter the details in your tax return otherwise the tax department will not acknowledge it.

Verify ITR after e-filing

It is important to successfully e-file your income tax return, but your job isn't over yet. It is mandatory to sign and send the ITR-V to CPC Bangalore by ordinary or speed post, within 120 days of e-filing your tax return. Alternatively, you can even e-verify your ITR-V via Netbanking, Aadhaar Card or by using EVC on mobile number and email. The processing of your tax return starts only after the Income Tax Department receives your ITR-V. Thus, if you are expecting a refund and if you do not verify your return within the given time, your refund will get delayed.


Making a mistake in TAN, bank account number, email address etc.

There are a lot of details that are essential for correct and timely processing of your income tax return and consequent refunds.
  • Making a mistake in bank details (viz. name, IFSC code and the account number in which you want your refund) can lead to failure of refund credit.
  • Quoting a wrong TAN number may lead to denial of TDS credit which can lead to a lower refund or even tax payable.
  • If you make a mistake in your postal address or email, you may not receive any communication from the tax department like notices, refund cheque etc.
  • Quoting a wrong mobile number may mean that you will not receive important information on the processing of your return and refund.
Avoid such mistakes by reviewing and verifying the information once you have entered the details.

Forget to claim deductions

Deductions are important if you want to reduce your tax liability. The government has introduced a lot of deductions under Section 80 of the Income Tax Act. Claim and avail the tax deductions even if you were not able to submit the proofs to your employer - these are allowed in the ITR. If you do not claim these deductions while filing the ITR, the department will not allow it.

Un-reporting exempt income

A lot of people make the mistake of not reporting the income that is exempt from taxes. It is advisable to report income exempt from taxes, such as dividends, PPF (Public Provident Fund) interest and long-term capital gains. Report such incomes to avoid complications in ITR processing.

Wait until the last minute

Don't start working on your tax returns few days before the last date of filing your ITR. Even if you think you will be able to make it through with filing the returns, it is, however, more likely that you make silly mistakes or forget to mention something important, for example, tax credits, by procrastinating.

Don't use previous year's number

Many times taxpayer get confused between Financial Year and Assessment Year and they end up entering the details of one financial year against the return for another financial year which may lead to many complications and tax liability. So ensure that you select and file your return in correct tax forms.

By keeping this list of dos and don'ts in the back of your mind, while filing your tax returns, you can make your tax filing go smoothly, and there will be no complications with your tax return. If you still come to realise that you have made a mistake, after filing your tax returns, the I-T department gives you a chance to revise your tax return and resubmit it.

(Chetan Chandak, Head of Tax Research at H&R Block India)

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