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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to check genuineness of Income Tax Return - Bankers Alert

How to check genuineness of Income Tax Return - Bankers Alert!

Online e-filing of income tax returns has been made very easy - thanks to the tools available on e-filing site of income tax India. Public at large often file their income tax returns online and generate the Income Tax Acknowledgement (ITR-V) to submit the same to banks and financial institutions for availing home loans, car loans or personal loans. As the generated ITR-V is just a computerized printed pdf copy without any Digital Signatures it is very difficult for the bankers and financing institutions to verify the genuineness of income tax acknowledgement ITR-V. As per income tax rules the online filed income tax return has to be sent to Income Tax Department-CPC, Post Box No. 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore-5600200, Karnataka. It must not be sent by courier or other means. However if you forget to dispatch ITR-V to CPC Bangalore within 120 days of e-filing then it will be considered as if you have not filed your income tax return and the IT department will not process your ITR-V.

The prospective fraudulent borrowers submit the unauthorized pdf copy of ITR-V to unsuspecting lenders who believe that the return is genuine only because it is generated by the government of India site. But it is not so as it has to be either physically submitted or e-verified online. The bankers and lending institution must insist for proper acknowledgement with CPC reference number which gets generated only after physical submission of ITR-V to CPC Bengaluru with in 120 days of efiling. Alternatively tax payers can digitally sign or even e-verify the ITR-V to get rid of physical posting of ITR-V form to CPC, Bangalore.

If you still forget to e-verify your ITR or fail to dispatch ITR-V to CPC Bangalore then it will be considered as if you have not filed your income tax return and the IT department will not process your ITR.  E-verification facility is available for IT returns up to Rs.5 lac only.

But the banks and lending institutions will still like to verify the genuineness of e-filed income tax returns themselves which can be done in two ways:

Option one - Download Online on Bank's Computers: 

The best option of verification of ITR-V is to ask the tax payer to login income tax efiling website and download the ITR-V is to ask the taxpayer to login income tax e-filing website and download the ITR-V in front of the bankers who can check the genuineness themselves. But most of the taxpayers do not remember the password or they do not have the password as in most of the cases returns are filed by tax professionals and it is practically not feasible to have access to ITR-V in such cases.

Option two - Verify the ITR-V status online: 

Easiest way to check the genuineness of ITR-V is to verify the acknowledgement online through this genuine link of GOI  which will take you to webpage below:

Now the banker has to provide the following inputs:
  • PAN / e-Filing Acknowledgement number
  • Assessment year
  • Add Captcha Code
  •  When you give the PAN and other Details you will get the ITR-V status in following ways:
  1. When return is not filed, you will get the status as “No return has been filed for this PAN and assessment year or e-filing acknowledgement number”
  2. When return filed and it is digitally signed then you will get the status as -“E-return for this assessment year or acknowledgement number is digitally signed”
  3. When return filed and it is NOT digitally signed then there are  two possibilities
  4. ITR filed online but signed acknowledgment is NOT received by Income Tax Department – CPC, Bangalore – You will get the status as ITR-V not received
  5. ITR filed online but signed acknowledgment is received by Income Tax Department – CPC, Bangalore –  You will get the status as ITR-V received
  6. It is also advisable to the bankers to verify status of ITR–V on PAN as well as e-filing acknowledgement number basis. As return many be filed but acknowledgement many be fabricated.
However Bankers can verify only PAN and acknowledgement number but no data (like gross total income, taxes paid, etc,). If PAN and acknowledgement number is correct, but other data of the ITR-V is fabricated, then it is not possible to track such fabrication in this verification method.

In addition to above investigation it will be prudent for the bankers and lending institutions to minutely check the ITR-V to ensure that it is genuine and not fabricated. Observe the ITR-V below by following the procedure given here under:

  1. Confirm that last six digits of acknowledgement number is date of filing return, as mentioned on the acknowledgement.
  2. Check bar code carefully, the first 10 characters is the PAN, also check bar code also contain 15 digits acknowledgement number.
  3. Banker can also cross verify the contents of ITR-V with tax challans and TDS certificate, Form 26 AS and other financial statements.
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