Filing income tax papers can seem like a tedious task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. All procedures and ginormous paperwork can be a bit overwhelming, where you have no idea what to do first and where to begin. It is beneficial to understand the whole process step by step and then dive into doing your taxes.
The first step in understanding the income tax payment process is acquiring knowledge about all the documents that will be coming your way throughout the procedure.
What is Form 16? Why is it important?
Whether you are a small business owner, large business employer, or an individual receiving salary, you must have come across the term Form 16 at one point or the other during your work tenure.
Form 16 is more of a certificate rather than a form which is given by the employer to individuals who are working under him/her, to disclose the amount of tax which has been deduced from the employee’s total income. Commonly known as the ‘certificate of salary,’ Form 16 entails a detailed account of the salary allotted to the employee by his/her organization or business corporation and information regarding any deductible tax imposed on the total income amount.
Form 16 is a pivotal document for a working-class individual as it is evidence of the money removed from an employee’s salary by his/her employer liable to income tax payment. The Income Tax Act of 1961 mandates every employer to subtract a certain amount of sum from the employee’s salary in the form of TDS, which stands for Tax deducted at source. The amount subtracted depends on the slab rates specified at the beginning of every financial year. The organization then has to submit the collected TDS to the Income Tax Department and provide proof of the same to the employee via Form 16.
What is the structure and composition of Form 16?
The contents of Form 16 are divided into two sections-
The first half of Form 16 – 16A, provides a piece of summarized information regarding the tax amount which has been collected from the employee’s pay by his/her organization or employer for the government deposit.
The contents of Form 16A include-
- A section of personal information: The foremost part of the form is dedicated to information of both the employee as well as the employer. The particulars to be filled are- Name of the employee, Name of employer, Address of employee as well as employer, employee, and employer’s PAN card information.
- Section for Assessment Year: This part requires the details of the year of assessment of employee’s income or the financial year of tax return processes.
- Working period with the employer- Section for mentioning the time interval for which the individual has been an employee under the organization.
- A tabular summary of the salary earned by the employee- An account of the sum issued to the employee during each quadrant of the mentioned financial year.
- Column for the date on which the tax subtraction under Sec 80 CCD, Sec 80 CCC, Sec 80C, Sec 80 D, Sec 80 E, and Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act, 1964 from the salary occurred.
- Column for the date when the tax was submitted to the government account.
- A tabular summary of receipts of tax that has been deposited to the government during each quadrant of the financial year.
- The last column is for the TDS payment acknowledgment number.
Form 16 B:
Following 16A, the form contains 16B, a more detailed account of the employee’s salary, including the gross income given alongside deductions made from the same for tax services. The contents of section 16 B include –
- Gross salary earned by the employee- This is further sub-divided into
- Salary as per provisions by the organization.
- Perquisites value.
- Any profits included under the salary.
- Exemptions/less- This section provides details of the allowances given by the organization per Section 10 of ITA divides into the sections such as-
- HRA: These are the expenses from housing rent.
- Transport Allowance: it includes the expenses incurred from transit to and from the organization.
- Deductions to the gross salary- it follows the information of any subtraction made by the employer in the income of the individual which can be accounted into-
- Entertainment Allowance: it includes any provident fund or fund regarding the recreational activity by the organization.
- Employment tax: this is also known as professional tax and accounts for the highest limit of Rs.2500 (the rate may vary according to the financial year).
- Additional details about any other form of income of the employee can be charged under ‘salary’ or income from any previous employer.
- The total gross salary of employees- this is arrived at by the inclusion of any of the additional incomes made by an employee to his/her gross salary.
- Taxable income- this the amount referring to that portion of the income, which can be used to impose tax by the employer. It is obtained by removing deductions from gross total income.
- Educational surcharge
- Total of the payable tax from the income.
What are some key points to remember regarding Form 16?
As we see Form 16 holds an important position of being the major document for filing the salaried individual to file his/her income tax returns, there are some key points to keep in mind with the aspect of Form 16 that include:
- The employee should check the Form 16 that they receive from their respective employers about the personal details and details about the salary. The professionals should go through the TDS details thoroughly and check the amount deducted. One of the first things to verify in Form 16 is the employee’s PAN.
- In case the employee receives a Form 16 that displays an incorrect PAN then he/she should inform the same to the HR department and rectify the mistake before filing their income tax returns.
- The employer is also accountable to mark certain checkpoints when it comes to proper Form 16. These points include- the proper authenticity of mentioning of all the interim details whether it is about the salary, PAN or the TDS that the employer is imposing on those working under him/her.
- The employer should also be considerate towards a timely distribution of Form 16. Form 16 should be provided to the employees until May 31st of that year to ensure that the employees get enough time to file their income tax returns.
- Employers should also make copies of Form 16 for a situation where the employee loses their Form 16. This saves time and also provides security for Form 16.
- What several tax filing individuals forget about is that Form 16 should be preserved as a rule for at least 6 years from the end of the respective financial year for future use. This is done for the circumstances where the income tax or salary history of the individual is required.
- Form 16 only showcases the earnings of the employee that are made under a particular organization and they are not the true reflection of the total income of individuals.
Consequences of failure to submit Form 16:
Form 16 is an essential income tax document. The failure of the procurement of Form 16 by the employee can happen when their employers either miss the deadline for Form 16 distribution or they refuse to do so. This can result in the following:
- The employer who fails to provide Form 16 during a financial year charges a penalty of Rs 100/day as per the Income Tax Act’s Section 272A.
- The absence of the tax deposition to the government account might be a reason for failure to generate Form 16 by the employer. Under such a case, the employee should report the issue to the officer for further investigation into the matter.
- Coming to the employee, if he/she fails to deposit the Form 16 while filing income tax returns, then they are not disqualified from the tax return procedures. They can file the tax returns using an additional Form 26AS.
How can the employer download and fill Form 16?
An employer can only issue form 16 to his/her employee. The employee does not qualify for downloading Form 16 from online sources. This is a common error made by many working individuals where they tend to forget that they will receive it only from their employers, and they cannot download the form on their own.
- Form 16 can be downloaded from the online TRACERS website with the help of their PAN number.
- The employer is required to verify the details of income, deductions, exemptions, and the payable tax amount.
- After verifying the salary details, the employer will hand over Form 16 to the employee with self-attestation.
Form 16 is a fundamental document required by every individual for completing their income tax returns and hence, verify the correct and timely payment of an individual’s taxes.