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The Income Tax Department has introduced a handy new feature called ‘Discard ITR’ on its website. This new tool is like a virtual eraser for your tax filings, giving you the ability to fix mistakes or missing details in your already-submitted Income Tax Returns (ITRs) within a set timeframe. Let’s dig into what this means for taxpayers.

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Before this, if there were errors or omissions in your filed ITR, you could only make changes through an amendment process. But now, the ‘Discard’ feature gives you more flexibility. However, there’s a point to note—currently, there isn’t a specific legal framework for this action, which could potentially raise questions about its validity down the line.

Here’s how it works: You can use the ‘Discard’ option multiple times, but only if your ITR status is still unverified or awaiting verification. This function is available for ITRs from the assessment year 2023-24 onward until the filing deadline under specific sections.

Once you’ve chosen to discard an ITR, it’s permanent—there’s no way to reverse it. This action essentially means you’re disowning that particular ITR as if it was never filed in the first place.

To access the ‘Discard’ option, log in to the Income Tax Department’s website, go to the e-File section, then to Income Tax Return, followed by e-Verify ITR, and finally, select “Discard.”

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The department’s FAQ clarifies that if you discard an ITR filed under certain sections and don’t wish to verify it, you can opt for the ‘Abandon’ option. However, if you later file a return after the deadline, it might attract penalties, so it’s crucial to be mindful of deadlines.

If you discard an ITR and decide not to file a new one, it’s not mandatory. However, since you’ve already uploaded the return data, it’s generally expected that you’ll file another ITR eventually. Importantly, if your ITR is already with the CPC (Centralized Processing Centre) and hasn’t been processed yet, it’s advisable not to file a new return if you find issues.

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This new ‘Discard’ option empowers taxpayers to handle their ITRs more effectively by allowing corrections within specified timeframes. Yet, remember to use it carefully because once an ITR is discarded, it can’t be recovered.

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