Filing your own Income Tax Return is not as difficult as it may seem. If you’re a salaried employee it’s even easier. And boy, is it fulfilling!

Below is a simple and detailed step-by-step process of how you can do this yourself.

First, I’ll list out the requirements to get started.

  • Your PAN, bank account details, Form 16 from your company, details of any other income you earn like interest from savings account and from FDs, investment details like LIC, ELSS, Mediclaim
  • Create an account or make sure you have your password to your online Income Tax Account:
  • A laptop or desktop that has Microsoft Excel. Alternatively, you may fill in all your details online, without downloading the Excel Utility.
  • Time required: Between 1-2 hours, preferably at a stretch

Step by step process

  1. Login to your income tax account on
  2. Check which year’s return you had filed last
  3. Financial Year ended March 2020 means Assessment Year 2020-21
  4. Click on “Download your Form 26AS“. Refer to this article to find out how to do this –
  5. Now log out of your income tax account
  6. Download the ITR-1 Excel Utility from the homepage (right side of page headed “Downloads” – Offline Utilities – Income Tax Return Preparation Utilities). Alternatively, you may select “Prepare and Submit Online”, without having to download the Excel Utility.

Online method

Note: The online method is much simpler for salaried employees. The online method, however, is not for those who run their own businesses or have any form of capital gains income.

  • When you login to your income tax account, simply click on “Prepare and Submit Online”
  • Enter your details in all the tabs.
  • In case you are entitled to a refund, be especially careful of the bank account number and IFSC you enter.
  • Save Draft periodically. Review the details before you click “Submit”.
  • Once submitted, don’t forget to e-verify your return.

Offline (“Excel Utility”) Method

  1. Please do not copy paste anything in this excel file, since it tampers with the preset format.
  2. Make sure you download the file for the correct Assessment Year
  3. Open the excel file
  4. Option – Enable this content
  5. Fill in all your details as per the relevant boxes.
  6. When you fill in TDS details make sure it is as per your Form 26AS. There are two parts – One says Form 16, the other says Form 16A. Form 16 is for TDS on salary. Whereas Form 16A is for TDS on all income other than salary. (The latter tells you under which section your tax has been deducted, enter Form 16 only if the section number is 192, aka salary).
  7. Once you fill each sheet, click on Validate. This will tell you if there are any errors in your sheet
  8. After you’ve filled in all the sheets correctly, come back to the first sheet. Click on Calculate Tax.
  9. Check the tax payable or amount of refund in the “Taxes Paid and Verification” sheet
  10. If there is any tax payable you would need to follow this link – No 280 (Self Assessment Tax)
  11. Pay this tax and fill in the excel sheet with the tax paid details
  12. Now, all your sheets would be complete. If all the data is correct you may click on Generate XML
  13. Upload this XML file to your Income Tax Account
  14. Login once again, go to “E-File”, select the AY and upload the file
  15. You will get a confirmation message on successful filing

Applicable after filing – for online as well as offline method:

After you’ve filed your return, you may either print the acknowledgment, sign it and send it to the Income Tax Department or you may choose to “E-verify” (digitally sign) the return as per the instructions on the website (the easiest way being “Aadhar OTP”)

The filing process is complete.

Refer to this post on How to check your TDS in Form 26AS.

Author Bio - Komal Shivdasani

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