Using the IT department's Excel utilities for filing returns

The online Excel utilities offered by the IT Department allow you to calculate and file your tax returns efficiently and correctly. Know how you can use these utilities and file your taxes on time.

Guide to Filing Income Tax Returns
  • Income tax filing has become simpler through online mode.
  • You can file your taxes using the Excel Utilities offered by the IT Department.
  • The Excel Utility tool can be downloaded and used in the computation of your tax liability. You can then upload it on the IT portal to file your returns. 

Filing tax returns can be daunting, but the Income Tax Department has made it easier for taxpayers by providing Excel utilities to file the returns. These ITR Excel utilities can be used for filing ITR-1 and ITR-4 returns. 

Generally, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) introduces income tax returns in April. However, this year the Department introduced income tax returns earlier in February and made available ITR Excel utilities on April 25th for filing ITR-1 and ITR-4 for the Assessment Year 2023-24. 

ITR utilities are editable forms which assist taxpayers in preparing and filing their income tax returns electronically. These utilities are free and can be downloaded from the IT website. The ITR forms are available in Excel format and are therefore known as Excel utilities. The Excel-based utility for filing the returns is in offline mode. You will have to download the utility from the website of the Income Tax Department, fill out the editable form, save it and upload it back on the website. Let us understand how to use the IT department's Excel utilities to file returns. 

Step 1: Go online and visit the e-filing website of the Income Tax Department

Begin by visiting the Income Tax Department's e-filing website at and then log in using your user ID and password. If you do not have an account, you must register on the portal first.

Step 2: Select the relevant assessment year and ITR form

After logging in, choose the appropriate ITR form. Currently, only two ITR Forms, ITR-1 and ITR-4, are available on the portal. Other ITR Forms are awaited to be introduced by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). 

Form ITR-1 is for Resident Indians with a total net income of up to Rs 50 lakh and salary income, one house property, other sources of income such as interest income, etc., and agricultural income of up to Rs. 5,000. 

Form ITR-4 is for individuals, companies (other than a Limited Liability Partnership) and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) being residents and having total income up to Rs. 50 lakh, business income or income from profession computed under sections 44AD, 44ADA or 44AE (Presumptive Taxation Scheme), and agricultural income up to Rs. 5,000. 

Choose the form according to your total income and specification, then select the assessment year for which you want to file the return. If you're going to file the return for the current year, select Assessment Year 2023-2024. 

Step 3: Download the ITR Excel utility form from the website

Once you have selected the assessment year and relevant document, you can download the ITR Excel utility. The downloaded file will be in the form of an Excel worksheet. Save the ITR Excel utility on your computer/laptop. 

Step 4: Open the Excel file and enable the macros

Open the downloaded Excel file. Then, enable the macros if prompted. Macros are tiny programs that automate specific Excel sheet tasks, such as formatting and calculations. 

Step 5: Fill out the form with your relevant personal and income information

Fill in the form with your personal and income details in the relevant worksheets. The red cells are to be filled mandatorily. The details in the Excel utility may include your name, PAN number, sources of income, deductions, amount of tax paid, etc. While filling the Excel, some of the cells will automatically take in data as it is calculated based on data entered in other cells. The Excel utility will calculate your tax liability and refund, if any, automatically. 

The ITR forms have several sheets. Some of them relate to the general information of the taxpayer, and some relate to tax computation. Fill in only the ones applicable and relevant to you. Depending on the types of income you have earned in the year for which the return is being filed. 

Step 6: Save the duly filled Excel file and generate an XML file

After entering all the details/information, save the supplied Excel file and click the "Generate XML" option to generate an XML file. The XML file is a utility format to upload the Excel File on the website of the Income Tax Department. 

Step 7: Upload the XML file and submit the form

Once the XML files are generated and downloaded on your computer/laptop, upload them to the Income Tax Department's e-filing website and click 'submit.' Once your return is submitted, you will get an acknowledgement of submission. Save the declaration as proof of filing your tax return.

Step 8: Verify your return

After uploading and submitting the XML file, you must verify the tax return. If you are required to verify your ITR using 'Digital Signature', upload your pre-registered signature. 

Also Read- Know the difference between revised, updated and belated returns.

Tips and cautions:

  1. Ensure you enter all the information and required details correctly and accurately, as any mistake or error can lead to fines or penalties.
  2. Read the instructions carefully to file the tax returns before filing the returns through the ITR Excel utility to avoid errors or miscalculations. 
  3. Verify your tax liability and check the refund amount before submitting the tax return on the website. 
  4. If you have any queries or doubts or queries, consult a tax professional.
  5. Though the ITR forms are notified, it cannot be until the online forms or the ITR Excel utilities form are enabled on the income tax e-filing portal. 
  6. File your returns on time to avoid penalties or legal issues. 

The new facility of ITR Excel utilities of the Income Tax Department has made the process of filing tax returns more manageable and more efficient. By following the steps mentioned above, you can ensure to file your returns accurately and on time. Also, remember to record all your income and tax-related documents for future reference.

Also Read - Know why legal heirs should file IT returns on behalf of a deceased taxpayer



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