There are several myths around tax filing. Some people believe that if their employer issues a Form 16 and deducts tax, they do not need to file their income tax returns (ITR). That is not true. In fact, even if your income is below the threshold limit till which tax filing is not required, you may still need to file ITR depending on other conditions.
If your gross total income (excluding deductions) exceeds the basic exemption limit of income above which tax is charged, you need to file ITR. For assessment year 2019-20, this limit is ₹2.5 lakh for individuals below the age of 60 years, ₹3 lakh for senior citizens (between 60 and 80 years) and ₹5 lakh for super senior citizens (above 80 years of age).
Irrespective of your income, if you want to claim a tax refund or want to carry forward a loss, filing ITR is mandatory. Also, “any resident individual who holds beneficial interest in any asset situated outside India (including financial interest in any entity outside India) or who has signing authority in a foreign bank account is also required to file ITR, irrespective of his gross total income,” said Vikas Vasal, partner and national leader, tax, Grant Thornton India LLP, a chartered accountancy firm.
From assessment year 2020-21, a few more categories of people will need to mandatorily file ITR, as per Budget 2019. Those who withdraw more than ₹1 crore from their current bank account in a year, or pay an electricity bill of ₹1 lakh or more, or pay more than ₹2 lakh for foreign travel during the current financial year will also be required to file their ITR in 2020-21, irrespective of their income level.