Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yes I'm Corrupt...

Yes I’m corrupt – but less than what I was ten years ago. Yes I'm corrupt.

1990 – That was when I recall making my first STD call. I remember my dad taking me to a phone booth. The guy operating the booth could decide if he wanted to connect my call – I had to pay him extra else the line would be “busy”. I did.

1995 – I remember understanding the train ticket booking system. You went to an “agent”. You gave him 10% per ticket or Rs.250 whichever is higher. He went inside the booking chamber in the station and paid a percentage to the operator who then booked the ticket. It was long time later I realized that it was NOT how you booked tickets and that what we did actually constituted to paying a “bribe”.

2000 – I remember opening my own bank account. I thought I would be required to pay an “opening charge” to an introducer – to my surprise (a pleasant one) – bribe was no longer the norm. The bank account still exists.

2005 – I buy my first mobile phone and can make calls at any time of the day – including STD. I ‘message’ for free.

2010 – I pay my taxes online. There is no “tax for paying tax”.

And they say, corruption has increased over the past years. The scale of corruption might have increased. The 2G scam – well I will refrain from giving it a number – the amount is quoted to be far above my comprehension – seems to be the biggest scam ever in the Indian History. But is it more than the cumulative “charge” taken by that “STD operator” across India? And so on and so forth…

The point I'm trying to make is that while the scale of corruption might seem to have increased, it has become extremely concentrated. The system is more open and “reform” – the same reform that many “activists” claim is the root of evil in today’s society – has reduced corruption at the grass-root level. Why do I bother if A Raja garnered the money if I get a good mobile connection wherever I go? For one, I’m sure he couldn’t have kept that money for himself. There would be a Tata-Radia hiding somewhere in the closet. Secondly, the government might have lost out by selling the spectrum at giveaway prices – but isn’t it exactly what prompted the telecom price-wars that ultimately benefitted the “Aam Aadmi”. The combined NPV of public benefit would surely be more than the amount that Raja is being charged for.

Anna Hazare might go to jail for fighting against corruption – and many on FB might “like” it or “attend” the “Aug 15th event against corruption” – I will continue to live my usual life knowing I’m paying my taxes – and JUST THAT. Yes, my money might be going to a pocket of an “undeserving individual” whose only qualification is that he is an uneducated MLA/MP – but as I theorized long time back – any money making dupes someone else – so in essence – everyone is corrupt! Don’t go so hard on Raja because he made more money than you – that is not anti-corruption – that I call ‘envy’.

P.S: On second thought, oh yeah, prosecute him – get the black money back – that will mean people will have more money – but oops – the prices of common goods might have just gone up by the same amount by the time – and even if they don’t – who doesn’t ever want more money! :D

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guidelines to filing IT Return online using ITR-I and ITR-V in India

Wow… For the first time, I filed my own IT Return. After doing it, yes it seems to be very very simple. However, till I had actually done it, it seemed pretty complex to me… There was no set guidelines on how to do it. There are many websites that take money to do it for you – so obviously no one tells you how to do it yourself. But thank the internet and the open source inspiration – now you can file your own IT return as I have done (which hopefully works).

Disclaimer: I’m no tax consultant. So I bear no liability should this not be a correct process and you be raided by the IT authorities. In case, this is wrong, please do bring to my notice so that I might file the correct IT Return.

Just a brief introduction to me: This section is important because for someone else, the method described below might not be true… I’m employed with my salary being my only source of income. The interest that the Bank pays me for keeping this salary is the other. I pay rents and have a few perquisites. I get these details from the Form 16 given to me by my employer.

  1. Go to:

  2. Create account using your PAN number (below the Login button, there is a link for "New User Registration".

  3. Download ITR-1 - it is a zip file. Extract it to some known folder - this might be required later too
    • If you are filing return for the income earned in year 2010-11, the corresponding. AY is 2011-12. Ensure you download the correct ITR-I form. The AY is mentioned at the top.

  4. When you open the file, it will ask you to enable macros. Go ahead.

  5. Fill up form. The fields marked * are mandatory.
    • You will need form 16 to fill the form. It is pretty simple if you have those details.

    • In case you do not know your WARD/CIRCLE, you can leave it blank. When you upload the XML, this is automatically filled using you PAN Card information. In case you need to confirm this, you can visit: and enter your PAN number.

    • When the file is complete - click on "Calculate Tax". This is very important. This step calculates the tax that you need to pay. In case, the TDS is less, it calculates extra tax payable.

  6. Fill in the Bank Account Number. The MICR is the 9-digit numerical code written at the bottom of your cheque.

  7. Then click "Generate XML"

  8. Save that XML to a known folder.

  9. Log into your account (created in Step 2). Go to Submit.

  10. Since you do not have digital signature, leave the checkbox empty.

  11. Upload the XML.

  12. The website will generate an ITR-V form. Download it. it is again a ZIP file which needs to be saved for future reference.

  13. The ITR-V is a pdf. the password to the pdf is {PAN number in small letters}{birthdate in dd/mm/yyyy}. I've not received the ITR-V on email as the website mentioned I would.

  14. Print the ITR-V. Sign at the appropriate place (at the bottom). Do not make any other alterations to this form.

  15. Send the same by Speed Post to: CPC, Post Bag No - 1, Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore – 560100. DO NOT SEND BY COURIER
Well, that is it. Hoping my IT Return is successful.

#Edit-1: I received the ITR-V form by mail two days after e-filing.
#Edit-2: It is important to add any interest you might have received on your savings bank account or Fixed Deposits you have as "Other Income".

#Edit-3: So your Form-16 doesn't include your Interest Income. How do you pay the additional tax that you owe? Visit --> Choose Challan 280 --> Tax Applicable 0021 --> Fill in details --> Type of Payment: 300