Income Tax Planning: What Form 26AS Is And Why It Is Important To Check It

Form 26AS enables an individual to check whether all instances of TDS deduction from salary are duly accounted for.

Income Tax Planning: What Form 26AS Is And Why It Is Important To Check It

Form 26AS is an important document for taxpayers, employees and freelancers alike.

Form 26AS is useful in self-assessing your income tax liability in a financial year, and therefore, plan your taxes accordingly. For salaried individuals, along with Form 16 - which contains information on tax deducted at source by your employer while paying you your salary - a Form 26AS details your tax credit history, meaning a record of your payments to the Income Tax Department. Form 26AS is a crucial document that an income tax assessee can use before planning the taxes for a given year. It can be accessed from the I-T department's website, using your Permanent Account Number (PAN). 

(Also Read: New Form 26AS To Ask For Details On High-Value Transactions, Says Taxman)

Tax experts emphasize how important it is for potential individual taxpayers to access this form. Form 26AS enables an individual to check whether all instances of TDS deduction from the salary —
 besides income from sources such as investment in fixed deposit — are duly accounted for.

The Income Tax Department checks filed income tax returns for any shortfall in TDS as shown in Form 26AS with the actual liability, they add. 

(Also Read: New Form 26AS Faceless Hand-Holding Of Taxpayers: Income Tax Department)

What Is TDS And TCS?

A taxpayer may pay tax in either of the two forms: Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS). 

What Is Form 26AS?

Form 26AS is an important document for taxpayers, employees and freelancers alike, say tax experts.

(Also Read: How To Check Your Income Tax Credit Status Using Form 26AS)

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Any entity deducting tax at source is mandated by law to furnish the details to the Income Tax Department.

At times, the amount of TDS/TCS deducted against a PAN may differ from details appearing in Form 26AS. For example, the total tax credited according to Form 26AS may be less than actual TDS.

Checking the form closely gives the income tax assessee an opportunity to fix any such discrepancies.

For example, Form 26AS enables salaried individuals to check that their employers have deducted tax on salary. The Form 26AS can be accessed from the income tax website using the Permanent Account Number (PAN).

The taxman maintains a database of the total tax paid by a taxpayer. This information is stored in Form 26AS, which is created every year. Simply put, a Form 26AS contains information on tax credit appearing in a taxpayer's PAN. This form covers TDS, TCS, advance tax and self-assessment tax etc.