However, did you know that you can still file your ITR on the basis of your Form 26AS and Annual Information Statement (AIS)? That’s right, you can file your ITR even if you do not have your Form 16 or other TDS certificates.
Dr Suresh Surana, founder, RSM India – a tax consulting group says, “An individual can file ITR on the basis on Form 26AS, AIS as well as the details of transactions available with him/her that were carried out during the financial year. It is pertinent to note that TDS certificates are not prerequisites for filing an ITR but are secondary sources for the taxpayer to reconcile his income as well as the TDS deducted during the year. Every individual taxpayer is solely responsible for maintaining the details of financial transactions conducted during the year and accordingly file his tax return.”
Form 26AS is a tax passbook containing details of the tax deducted on your income, self-assessment tax and advance tax paid by you. Similarly, AIS is the extension of Form 26AS. It contains details of the financial transactions that are undertaken by an individual irrespective of whether the tax is deducted or not on that income.
It is advisable for taxpayers to cross-check the TDS certificates such as Form 16/Form 16A vis-à-vis Form 26AS and AIS. This helps the taxpayer to ensure that tax which is deposited from your income is deposited with the government as well.
However, in the absence of TDS certificates, one can check the tax amount mentioned in their Form 26AS with the net amount credited to your bank account. Add both of them and it should match the gross amount mentioned in your AIS. If these figures match, you can easily file your ITR. In case of a mismatch, you must contact the deductor of tax on your income as well as raise it as an error in the AIS with the income tax department.
Surana says, “While the responsibility of deducting tax on salaries & providing a TDS certificate is on the employer or in other cases on the deductor, an individual is required to calculate & pay taxes on his income and file income tax returns irrespective of whether the employer fails to furnish/issue form 16/16A, provided his income under all heads, including salaries, is above the basic exemption limit.”
Steps to file ITR using Form 26AS and AIS
CA Ruchika Bhagat, MD, Neeraj Bhagat & Co – Chartered Accountant firm explains the steps an individual can take to file ITR if Form 16/Form 16A and other related documents are missing. The steps are as follows:
Step 1: Download Form 26AS and AIS from the new income tax portal. These documents will get your income details on which tax was deducted.
Step 2: To know the complete bifurcation of salary income as mandated under the ITR form, you can login to new income tax portal and select the ITR-1 form. The complete break-up will help you to fill in the details as required to be mentioned in the ITR form.
Step 3: Details of other financial transactions such as the sale of property, interest income etc. can be taken from AIS. It may happen that some information is not reflected in the AIS such as post-office savings interest, the indexed cost for capital gains, any other income etc. Thus, you must cross-check the information from your bank passbook and Form 26AS to ensure all the financial transactions are reported. Missing out on any information may lead to under-reporting of income & hence might attract income tax notice.
Other things to note
It is important to note that AIS is a new document. The statement was launched in November 2021 and is an extension of Form 26AS. AIS provides a comprehensive view of the information available to the Income tax department through different sources pertaining to the taxpayer.
In the press release issued during the launch in 2021, the income tax department asked the taxpayers to download and check their AIS and inform them if there are any errors. If the error is not corrected, then you may be issued an income tax notice.
Many tax experts have pointed out that errors are being seen in their AIS. Some of the common errors are duplication of certain entries such as capital gains etc, an incorrect amount reflected in the AIS, information not belonging to a taxpayer or is of a different year etc.
Thus, one must cross-check the financial transactions in AIS with other documents such as bank passbooks, mutual fund statements, Form 26AS etc.