Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tax Return Filing Season is here – 11 Things to keep in Mind!

Online Tax return filing for Indians for FY 2013-14 would be different in many ways. However, one thing which really stands out is that it will have more tax payers under its ambit in compare to any previous year since now it is mandatory to e-file your tax return if your income is more than Rs.5 lacs.  This article would stress on 11 things which a tax payer should keep in mind while e-filing his tax return, especially first time filers.

1) Permanent Account Number - This is a unique alpha-numeric number allotted to you, which basically is the base identifier for all correspondence with the IT department. Thus it is of paramount interest to double check the PAN number while e-filing your tax return. 

2) E-mail Id – IT has become hi-tech and moving towards paper less environment, wherein most of the correspondence from them, including ITR acknowledgment and intimation would come to the email id you provide in the tax return.  

3) Your Bank Account Details - This would contain your bank a/c number, MICR code and from this year onwards one more mandatory detail is required i.e., IFSC code of your banker.

4) Correct ITR Form - It is very important to select the correct ITR form that is applicable to you for E-filing of tax return as the government has made various changes in regard to the selection of ITR forms for different assessees. If you fail to select correct form then your IT Return may be regarded as defective return. 

5) Check Form-26AS before filing- The Government keeps record of all tax deposited/ credited to your PAN number. You can register with the e-filing site of IT Department to view your Form-26AS. It is important to note here that the information disclosed in your income tax return form should match with the details in your Form 26AS. Thus there is a need to check Form-26AS while doing e-filing your tax returns. 

6) Provide Details of all the Tax saving investments made by you- It is advisable that one should always make a list of Tax saving investments made throughout the year which are eligible for deduction under Chapter VI of the Income Tax Act, otherwise there is always a chance to miss those in the tax returns, and not claiming benefit on those. 

7) Filing ITR with Multiple Form16- Form 16 is a certificate issued by an employer to an employee who provides details in respect of salary earned by the employee and tax deducted at source by the employer. Tax payers often get confused regarding how to file their income tax return with multiple Form16, wherein they have worked for more than one employer in a financial year.

8) Interest on savings bank account is taxable- Interests on savings bank account, post office savings and savings in cooperative banks are taxable when amount exceeds Rs.10000. Thus if you have such income then you should disclose it the income tax return. Only saving bank interest income is exempt upto Rs. 10000, and this fact misunderstood. For example, interest on fixed deposit and recurring deposit are fully taxable income which is to be shown under the head “income from other sources”. 

9) Exempt income need to be disclosed separately in the returns - It has been noted that many tax payers do not disclose exempt incomes in their income tax return on the contention that they are not taxable. IT department has taken this very seriously by making ITR 2 applicable to tax payers, who have exempt income of more than Rs .5000, thus they can’t file ITR 1.  Thus, it is advisable to disclose all exempt income at the required schedule in the ITR return. 

10) Mailing ITR-V submission is a must when ITR is uploaded without digital signature – ITR-V (income tax return verification ACK) is generated when a ITR is uploaded online without use of the digital signature. ITR-V ACK is required to be mailed to the CPC, Bangalore within 120 days of the upload of the ITR online. Upon the receipt of this, the CPC sends a final Acknowledgement to the email id. 

11) Keep documentary evidences of all the information you give- Last but not the least, tax payers should look to properly maintain all the documentary evidence that is associated with the filing of return which the assessing office might call upon in future. 

About Author:
Alok Patnia founded Taxmantra.com to understand and address the pain points of individuals, businesses and startups. He is an expert in handling ITR filing, has great insights on the business startup issues such as choosing right business entity and also has vast experience in the field of business maintenance services such as accounting, auditing, company law compliances, service tax and other related fields.


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Friday, July 4, 2014

Should You Consider a Pension Transfer?

Transferring a pension isn’t the right move for everyone to make, as we all have to consider different circumstances when making our decision. However as this article reveals, there are some situations in which transferring your pension fund could turn out to be a very good move indeed.

The process of setting up a pension seems to be rather simplified when you first look at it. You consider where to start up your private pension, get everything set up and then start paying into it every month. Job done – or at least you would think that was the case.

In reality people sometimes change their plans regarding their pensions, and there can be some very good reasons why this might happen. For example it is generally accepted that the best pension to have is one that your employer provides for you. This is because they pay into it as well as you, so every month you have two lots of payments going into your pension pot.

However if you leave that job and move on to another one, you will retain your pension pot from the first employer and start a new one with your next one. You can keep your pension pot growing with the first employer’s scheme if you wish, but nothing else will be going into it each month. You may have the option to go for a pension transfer in this situation if there are benefits to doing so. It is always wise to seek proper independent advice on this matter as no two situations will be exactly the same. Don’t make a decision now based on your own point of view as it could be the wrong one to make.

Since most of us change jobs and companies through our working lives, it is not unusual to end up with several pensions held with different companies and schemes. There are often advantages to bringing several smaller pensions together and putting them all into one single pot. For instance in some cases you can pay lower charges by having a larger amount in one pot instead of having your pensions spread around in different places. You need to work out your sums and assess what is best in your case though before deciding what to do.

There is also the chance that old pensions that you haven’t paid into for years could be achieving a very poor return for you. When you leave a particular job it is easy to forget about the pension you had there, even though you should still have the paperwork from it. In fact if you suspect you may have a pension you haven’t thought about (or paid into) for a while, now is the time to do something about it. If you find a pension like this is performing badly you should almost certainly transfer it elsewhere. However as we have mentioned before in this article, do seek professional advice before doing this to make sure you have covered all your bases. You want to make the right decision now to put you in a better financial position in the future when you do eventually retire.


As you can see there is a lot to think about and the idea of transferring a pension should not be taken lightly. The more advice you get now, the better off you are likely to be in the future.
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Inside Look: Check out this Unprecedented Bear Market Formation Since 2000

Think the current conditions in the stock market are normal? Think again. Here are 3 characteristics you should expect to see in wave b.


By Elliott Wave International

Editor's Note: Below you will find a sneak peek from the just-published issue of Robert Prechter's Theorist. It provides you an opportunity to see some of the research, analysis and forecasts that Elliott Wave International's subscribers are enjoying inside their latest issue.

Figure 4 (below) is a diagram from Chapter 2 of Elliott Wave Principle. It displays a typical progression of prices and psychology in a bear market. We can apply this picture to the stock market since 2000. The real-life pattern is a bit more complex than this picture, because wave a itself was a flat correction, which ended in 2009. The dashed line in Figure 4 represents what the market has been doing since then: rallying to a new high in a b-wave. The entire formation has been tracing out an "expanded flat" correction (see text, p.47) of Supercycle degree.
Per Figure 4, among the characteristics we should expect to see in wave b are: "Technically weak," "Aggressive euphoria and denial" and "Fundamentals weaken subtly." The volume contraction in the stock market has now lasted over five years, which is extreme technical weakness, albeit only in that indicator. The 30+ charts we have shown of market sentiment reveal historically high levels of optimism regarding stocks. No doubt bulls would dismiss the idea that investors today exhibit "aggressive euphoria and denial." But look at Figure 5.
It shows that the yield on junk bonds has just reached its lowest level ever. Junk bonds did not even exist prior to 1989. In 2009, investors were deathly afraid of them. Now they cannot get enough of them. They are thinking only about yield; they are ignoring risk to principal. That's denial. Finally, fundamentals have not just weakened a bit but rather are awful. The economy is flat, the amount of debt is at a record high, and as shown in the June issue of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast the quality of debt is at a record low.
There has never been an expanded flat pattern as large as Supercycle degree in recorded stock market history, going back 300 years. It's a first. So, we are getting commensurate expressions of stupendous optimism, which will prove worthy of the record books. People think today's market conditions are normal, because a benign present is always considered normal. But it's not normal. It's unprecedented.

Would you like to see the rest of the issue for free? For more details, the complete wave count, and EWI's forecast for how they believe it will all play out, continue reading Prechter's 10-page June Theorist now, completely risk-free. Learn more here.

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Inside Look: Check out this Unprecedented Bear Market Formation Since 2000. EWI is the world's largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Top Trending Jobs and How to Get Them

Some say our economy is in a "permanent slump," but it's still possible to find a job you love. Here's a look at today's top trending jobs and how to get one.

Health Care

Image via Flickr Southeastern Seminary


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the health care industry offers a wellspring of job opportunities, including careers in dentistry, dietetics, emergency medicine, fitness, genetics, mental health, and veterinary care.

Join the Field

In some states, you can land a job as a pharmacy tech, medical care assistant, or health care aide without any training. An associate degree can get you in the door as a nuclear medicine technologist, sonographer, or veterinary tech. A graduate degree can help you get a more specialized job, such as that of occupational health specialist, nurse practitioner, or physician/surgeon.
Take some time to read about different health careers. If you're considering going back to school, meet with an academic advisor at your local university. He or she will help you decide which field is right for you, how long your program of study would take, and what your prospects would look like upon graduation.

Business

If a high salary is your goal, a career in business could be your best move. A person with a four-year business degree can find entry-level work in accounting, marketing, insurance, public relations, management, and more. A person with an MBA enjoys even more career opportunities and a higher earning potential.

Join the Field

An associate degree in business can put you on the path to a career in office management, tax preparation, real estate, customer service, and more. A bachelor's degree could lead you to lucrative work in finance, human resources, and purchase management. An MBA is one of the most versatile and prestigious degrees you can get these days, and it often leads to job promotion. Many adults have used an online MBA program to reach their business goals.

Experts predict that 2014 will be another robust year for business grads. Before you embark on a program of study, spend some time evaluating your business savvy. If your heart belongs in the field, you'll know.

Technology

Technology is here to stay, and that's a blessing to IT fanatics who make their living with computers. Some of the best tech jobs for 2014 include software developer, web developer, and computer systems analyst, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Join the Field

You don't need a four-year degree to snag an IT job. Computer support specialists often have no post-secondary education. Web developers make upwards of $60,000 with an associate degree alone. A bachelor's degree in computer science might earn you more money, though: computer programmers, network architects, and database administrators raked in median incomes over $70,000 in 2012.

Talk to an advisor about the various certifications and degrees that could advance your tech career. He or she can help you select the academic track that best suits your needs.
Choosing a career is no small task. Arm yourself with an understanding of today's top industries and you'll have a much easier time finding a fulfilling job you truly enjoy.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

What is an IVA?

IVA glossary - An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is an agreement with your creditors to pay all or part of your debts. You agree to make regular payments to an insolvency practitioner, who will divide this money between your creditors.

It is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors. The arrangement will normally last 5 years and during this period you will be expected to pay what you can afford outside reasonable living costs.

§  All unsecured debts must be declared into your IVA.
§  Your IVA payment will be calculated prior to the IVA being set up and will be reviewed on an annual basis.
§  All interest and charges will be frozen to 0% by law and your creditors will be prohibited from demanding additional payments as long as you maintain your monthly IVA payment.
§  After your IVA has completed successfully any remaining debt will be legally written off
Costs
There are usually 2 fees:
§  Set up fee
§  Handling fee each time you make a payment
Make sure you understand the costs before asking an insolvency practitioner to act for you.
Anybody with unsecured debts of over £8k and a monthly disposable income of £80 upwards can apply for an IVA.

There are pros and cons to entering into an IVA

Pros
§  you will be debt free at the end of your IVA (unsecured debts only)
§  your debt will be frozen throughout the IVA period
§  you will have one single monthly affordable payment no matter how many creditors you have
§  you will have legal protection from all court and creditor action from day one
§  your job and home will not be affected
§  you do not need to meet with anybody or attend court

Cons
§  you will not be able to take out any further credit during the IVA and for a minimum of 1 year afterwards
§  you will usually pay more than you would have to in a Bankruptcy order
§  you will need to live on a fixed budget throughout the IVA period
§  you may have to release some equity from your property at the end of the IVA period

We can advise individuals whether an IVA should be considered in the circumstances; assist in producing a viable proposal to put before creditors; facilitate negotiations and, if accepted, act as supervisor of the IVA to ensure that it is carried out as envisaged.
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