Form 26AS: What is it and how does it help in filing income tax return?
The due date for filing your tax return is fast approaching. One of the most important documents that you need to verify prior to filing your tax return is your Form 26AS.
What is Form 26AS
Form 26AS is an annual consolidated tax statement that can be accessed from the income-tax website by all taxpayers using their Permanent Account Number ('PAN'). If you have paid taxes on your income or tax has been deducted from your income, the Income tax department already has these details in their database.
You could refer to your Form 26AS for the details of your income (on which taxes have been deducted) as well as the taxes that have been paid by or on your behalf by the deductor (could be your employer, bank etc) to the Government treasury.
In addition, Form 26AS also contains details of your deductors such as their names and Tax Deduction Account numbers (TAN).
Details of taxes paid by you and tax refunds
Form 26AS not only contains the details of your taxes paid but also contains details of any tax refunds that have been received by you during the relevant financial year.
Details of TDS on sale of immovable property
The buyer of immovable property is required to deduct tax at source from the consideration paid to the seller of the property. If you have sold a property during the financial year, details of taxes deducted by the purchaser while making the payment to you should also show up in your Form 26AS.
Details of your high value transactions
Apart from this, high value transactions made through banking and financial institutions are reported in the Form 26AS based on Annual Information Return ('AIR') filed by these banking and financial institutions. For example, purchase of high value mutual funds, immovable property, high-value corporate bonds etc find their way into the Form 26AS.
Details of Advance tax paid
In case you have paid any advance tax during the year, the same shall also get reflected in your Form 26AS.
Comprehensive document showing tax paid by you
So all in all, Form 26AS is a document which captures all the taxes paid by you by way of deduction or otherwise in one place making it easier for you to claim the credit of taxes paid at the time of filing of your tax return.
The information in the Form 26AS is generally updated on a quarterly basis. The year-end tax credits as reflecting in the Form 26AS are eligible to be claimed while filing the tax return.
How to get Form26AS
Form 26AS can be downloaded from TRACES website. To download Form 26AS, log in to your income tax filing account on the Income Tax department's e-filing website https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, either directly or through the Net banking facility of authorised banks.
Once you log in, click on 'View Form 26AS (Tax Credit)' tab, either under 'My Account' or 'Quick links' tabs. You will be redirected to the TDS-CPC website to view this form. You need to choose the relevant assessment year (i.e. year following the financial year) for which you want to download the statement. Your password to open the document is your date of birth in DDMMYYYY format.
Verify your tax details in Form26AS
A welcome initiative by the Income tax department of introduction of Form 26AS has obviated the need to submit the TDS certificates (Form 16 / 16A) by the tax payer along with the tax return.
However, the taxpayer is required to verify the details in the Form 26AS and highlight any discrepancy in the details (over / underreporting of income or taxes) to the tax deductor immediately to make necessary rectifications. This is to avoid any inquiry by the Income tax department on tax mismatch resulting in a tax demand due to non-availability of appropriate tax credit at a later date.
Therefore, it is important for every tax payer to ensure that the taxes claimed in the tax return are in line with the taxes as appearing in the Form 26AS.