Number of ITR filings for 2016-17 jumps 24.7% to 28.2 million
New Delhi: Tax compliance has improved. More than 28.2 million income tax payers filed their income tax returns (ITR) for the 2016-17 financial year before the extended deadline of 5 August, a 24.7% increase over the previous year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said on Monday.
In April-August of last year, relating to FY16, there was a 9.9% increase in ITRs filed, the statement said. More than 22.6 million returns were filed in that period.
While the deadline for filing returns may be over, taxpayers can still do so for FY17 till 31 December, after paying a penalty of Rs5,000.
By the end of March, the number of people who file returns for FY17 is expected to show a similar jump on an annual basis. Besides a penalty, late filers cannot carry forward losses except in the case of house property.
The tax department attributed the “substantial” increase in filing of returns before the deadline to Operation Clean Money launched after last November’s demonetisation exercise. “The above figures amply demonstrate the positive results of the government’s commitment to fight the menace of black money. CBDT is committed in its resolve to eradicate tax evasion in a non-intrusive manner and widening of tax base,” said the statement.
The number of taxpayers is actually more than the number of ITR filers as many people get their taxes deducted by their employers, but do not file returns.
CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said on 24 July at the Income Tax Day celebrations that the number of taxpayers has moved up substantially to 62.6 million at the end of 2016-17 from around 40 million earlier.
In response to a question in Lok Sabha, minister of state for finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in March that at the end of February, the income tax department had received 42 million ITR e-filings in 2016-17.
Those with taxable income of over Rs5 lakh have to file returns online. ITR filers include both individuals as well as businesses registered as partnerships and companies. The number of individual filers rose 25.3% in the April-August period of 2017-18 to 27.9 million, the CBDT said.
“This clearly shows that a substantial number of new taxpayers has been brought into the tax net subsequent to demonetisation,” it said.
The amount of advance personal income tax collected during the period also surged 42% over the year-ago period, the Board said without specifying the amount. Personal income tax under self-assessment tax grew 34.25% during the period under review from a year ago.
“Part of the growth in returns filed can be attributed to the demonetization exercise. Those who have made cash deposits in banks after demonetization may be among those who have newly come into the category of return filers,” said Amit Maheshwari, partner, Ashok Maheshwary and Associates Llp.