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How to File Income Tax Returns (ITR) for Freelancers in India


Filing income tax returns (ITR) is an important responsibility for all individuals earning taxable income in India, including freelancers. As a freelancer, it is essential to understand the process and requirements for filing ITR accurately and on time. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of filing ITR for freelancers in India.

Step 1: Determine Your Income Sources

If you work as a freelancer, you can have several sources of income, including freelance projects, consultancy fees, or other services you provide. It's essential to identify and calculate your total income from all these sources, including any advance payments or retainers received within a financial year (April to March)

Step 2: Maintain Proper Documentation

To file your ITR as a freelancer, it is essential to maintain proper documentation of your income and expenses. This should include:

  • Invoices raised for services provided
  • Payment receipts
  • Bank statements reflecting income and expenses
  • Any other relevant documents related to your freelance work

Step 3: Calculate Deductions and Expenses

As a freelancer, you are eligible to claim deductions on certain expenses related to your work. These can include:

  • Professional fees paid to accountants or lawyers
  • Office rent or home-office expenses
  • Mobile and internet bills
  • Travel expenses directly related to your freelance work
  • Any other expenses directly incurred for your freelancing activities

Note: It is important to maintain invoices and receipts for all these expenses.

Step 4: Choose the Appropriate ITR Form

Depending on your income and the type of business (may fall under the category of 'Income from Business' or 'Income from Profession'), select the appropriate ITR form. For most freelancers, the applicable form is ITR-3, but it is recommended to consult a tax professional to ensure you choose the correct form.

Step 5: Fill in the ITR Form

After selecting the appropriate ITR form, carefully fill in all the required details such as personal information, income details, deductions claimed, and tax payments made. Ensure that the information provided is accurate and matches the supporting documentation.

Step 6: Verify and Submit the ITR

Before submitting your ITR, it is essential to verify and cross-check all the details entered in the form. You can do this either by digitally signing the ITR or by sending a signed physical copy to the Centralized Processing Center (CPC) within the specified timeframe.

Step 7: Pay Any Remaining Taxes Due

After submitting your ITR, you may receive an intimation from the Income Tax Department stating any tax dues or refunds. If you have any pending taxes, make sure to pay them within the stipulated time to avoid penalties and interest charges.

Step 8: Keep a Copy of Filed ITR and Supporting Documents

Once you have successfully filed your ITR, make sure to keep a copy of the filed return and all supporting documents safely. These documents may be required for reference or during any future tax assessments or audits.


Filing income tax returns as a freelancer in India is an important obligation that should not be overlooked. By following the above steps and maintaining accurate records of your income and expenses, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free ITR filing process. However, it is always advisable to consult a tax professional or chartered accountant for expert guidance to ensure compliance with the latest tax laws and regulations.

Remember, filing your ITR on time not only fulfills your legal obligations but also helps you establish a transparent financial record, claim deductions, and avoid any potential legal penalties.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional tax advice. It is advisable to consult a qualified tax professional for personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.


Frequently Asked Questions

The procedure involves the following steps: 
1. Visit the Income Tax E-Filing Portal.
2. Download the ITR-4 form from the 'download' section.
3. Fill out the ITR-4 form thoroughly.

A freelancer can use Form ITR 4 when filing tax returns. If your income exceeds Rs 1 crore, your account books must be audited as per ITR laws (Section 44AB). In such a scenario, you need to file the ITR by September 31st.

Freelancers and consultants are required to fill out and submit either ITR-3 or ITR-4 for income tax purposes. ITR-3 is for income from business or profession. Starting from AY 2017-18 (FY 2016-17), professionals can choose presumptive taxation and declare 50% of their gross receipts as their income by filing ITR-4.

If you work as a freelancer or consultant, the process of filing your income tax return (ITR) will differ from that of a salaried individual. For example, you are not obligated to use forms ITR-1 or ITR-2. Additionally, consultants cannot claim the standard deduction of Rs.

Freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers must file a Schedule C to report their income and expenses, as well as a Schedule SE to pay their Social Security and Medicare taxes when filing their tax returns.


The Tax Heaven

Mr.Vishwas Agarwal✍📊, a seasoned Chartered Accountant 📈💼 and the co-founder & CEO of THE TAX HEAVEN, brings 10 years of expertise in financial management and taxation. Specializing in ITR filing 📑🗃, GST returns 📈💼, and income tax advisory. He offers astute financial guidance and compliance solutions to individuals and businesses alike. Their passion for simplifying complex financial concepts into actionable insights empowers readers with valuable knowledge for informed decision-making. Through insightful blog content, he aims to demystify financial complexities, offering practical advice and tips to navigate the intricate world of finance and taxation.

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