The government has notified the income tax return (ITR) forms for FY 2018-19. This means that you can now start collecting the documents need to file your ITR for FY 2018-19. Although you have till July 31, 2019 to file your return, keeping the required documents handy in advance will make the process easier. Here are the documents you must collect and things you must do before filing your ITR for FY 2018-19. Do keep in mind that for salaried people, usually file their return using either ITR-1 or ITR-2 which is now available on the e-filing website.

1. Form-16
If you are a salaried person, this is one of the most important documents for you to file your ITR.

Form-16 consists of two parts: Part-A and Part-B. Part-A consists of all the details of the tax deducted by your employer during the year. Apart from details of the tax deducted from your salary, it also consists of the details of your Permanent Account Number (PAN), PAN and TAN of your employer, whereas Part-B of the form consists of your gross salary break-up details such as exempt allowances, perquisites etc.

2. Interest certificates from banks and post office
ITR forms this year also asks taxpayers to specify the source of their interest incomes such as that earned on savings account, fixed deposits or any other income.

3. Form-16A/Form-16B/Form-16C
If TDS is deducted on the payments other than salaries such as interest received from fixed deposits, recurring deposits etc. over the specified limits as per the current tax laws, your bank (in case of fixed deposits) will issue you Form-16A providing you the details of the amount of TDS deducted. On the other hand, if you have sold your property, then the buyer will issue you Form-16B showing the TDS deducted on the amount paid to you.

4. Form 26AS
Form 26AS is your consolidated annual tax statement. This is like your tax passbook which has information of all the taxes that have been deposited against your PAN. These include: 
a) TDS deducted by your employer; 
b) TDS deducted by banks; 
c) TDS deducted by any other organisations from payments made to you; 
d) Advance taxes deposited by you during the FY2018-19; 
e) Self-assessment taxes paid by you.

One can download Form 26AS from the TRACES website. To download your Form-26AS, you can login to your account on the e-filing website, www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

5. Tax-saving investment proofs
All the tax-saving investments made by you and the expenditures incurred by you eligible for deduction under section 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD(1) during FY2018-19 can help you lower your tax liability. The maximum tax-break you can claim under these three sections combined cannot exceed Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year.

The most commonly available tax breaks under section 80C are as follows: 
a) Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) 
b) Public Provident Fund (PPF) 
c) Investments in equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS) 
d) Life insurance premium paid 
e) National Pension System (NPS) etc.

6. Documentary proofs to claim deductions under section 80D to 80U
Apart from tax-saving investments and expenditures under section 80C, there are certain expenses on which you can claim deductions under different sections of the Income-tax Act. For instance, health insurance premium paid for self, spouse and/or children in FY 2018-19 are eligible for deduction under section 80D of the Act for up to a maximum of Rs 25,000 in a year.

7. Home loan statement from bank/NBFC
If you have taken a home loan from a bank or any other financial institution, don’t forget to collect the loan statement for the last financial year. It will provide you the break-up details of how much principal and interest has been repaid by you. This statement is needed both as proof and as a source of information for filling your income tax return.

8. Capital gains 
If you have earned some capital gains from the sale of property and/ or mutual funds/ equity shares, then you will be required to report these gains in your ITR.

9. Pre-validation of bank account for ECS refund
Income tax department announced that from March 1, 2019 it will issue only e-refunds. These refunds will be credited to those bank accounts which are linked with the PAN. Therefore, you are required to pre-validate your bank account as well as link your bank account with PAN to receive income tax refund, if any.

10. Aadhaar card
Providing Aadhaar details is mandatory to successfully file your ITR. According to section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, an individual is required to provide his/her Aadhaar details while filing the return of his/her income.

11. Collect details of investment in unlisted shares
If you have invested in shares of an unlisted company, then you are required to provide all the details of the same this year while filing ITR-2.

12. Collect bank account details
While filing your ITR, you are also required to report all the bank accounts held by you. The details required to be filled in the ITR are: – bank name, account number, account type and IFSC code. Make sure to mention correct IFSC code to ensure receiving the refund, if any, smoothly.

13. Update bank and post office savings account passbook, PPF account passbook
Make sure to update and check your bank passbook/s for the FY 2018-19 to report any other income such as dividend etc. while filing your ITR. Although the interest on PPF is tax-exempt, it still has to be reported in your ITR.

14. Salary slips
You may need your salary slips, as ITR 2, recently released by the income tax department, asks individuals to specify the nature of salary income such as basic, dearness allowance, house rent allowance and so on.

Source: Economic Times