The Indian tax filing has become even more tedious now. Going forward, starting from assessment year 2020-21 (financial year 2019-2020) one needs to report each and every equity redemption that results in long term capital gain in Schedule 112A. It used to be optional last year. Instead of reporting every transaction you could just report the aggregate value. But it is not optional anymore. This increases the burden on the tax payer especially if you have made a lot of small transactions.
This change applies only to equity transactions that have incurred long term capital gains. So the debt transactions and short term equity transactions don’t need to be listed out. If you ask me, I am sure they will be added sooner or later to the ITR. Also, this applies to all kinds of equity transactions including sale of mutual fund units or equity shares.
I like automation
As you might very well know by now, I like to automate things. Whether it is drip irrigation, investment analysis, planning or home automation. Likewise I was too lazy to enter all the details of my investments in 112A. I have to fill in 76 rows of data for all the equity transactions I have done last financial year. I rather write an automation script in the time that it takes to fill the data. So I did just that. This is what happens if you quit work and nothing better to do :).
The script requires a file with all the data to be filled in the tax form. There is a specified format for it. Here is an example of the data file.
>schedule-cg 23,>drop 1 1,20000 1,10000 21,40000 4,30000 7,>drop 2 96,60000 2,50000 7,>drop 2 137,1000 0,>press pagedown
The lines that contain a greater than symbol (>) and some text following it have a special meaning for my script. For example,
>drop 2 will select the 2nd option in a drop down list. A line like
>schedule-cg will open the schedule CG tab in the tax tool and so on. The line with something like
21,40000 means my script will tab 21 times and then type in 40000. It is probably easier to show my script doing its thing using a video. So here is the script in action.
Schedule CG, 112A and FA
The most tedious part of tax filing is to fill in the details of Schedule CG, 112A and FA for me. I wrote a web app that converts the CAMS pdf file to Schedule CG and 112A data. Since I have some foreign stocks (because I used to work for a US company that offered stock options), I need to fill schedule FA as well. So I wrote another script that converts csv data into the format that can be filled in Schedule FA. The generated data files from the above app and scripts is used by the tax filler script to complete my tax returns.
It was a lot of fun working on the various scripts and the app. While it took some 2 months or so to build them, I am quite happy with the result. People ask me what I do during my spare time in retirement. This is what I do — work on fun and interesting projects. Now I can use my script for future tax filings too. If anyone is interested in the script, feel free to check out GitHub where I posted the tax filler code. However, you need to generate you own data files based on your transactions.