New Delhi: The number of taxpayers who have e-filed their direct tax returns has increased sharply this year and is expected to further rise in the next one month, aiding the tax department's quest for adding 1.25 crore new taxpayers to the tax base.
Timely filing of returns is partly because the fear of imposition of penalty up to ₹ 10,000 for delayed filings and partly on account of steps like demonetization and the rollout of the goods and services tax that have led to greater formalization of the economy.
As of end July, more than 3 crore taxpayers have e-filed their tax returns this year, as against 2.79 crore tax payers who e-filed their tax returns last year till the due date, and 2.22 crore taxpayers who filed their tax returns by the due date in 2016-17, according to data released by the income tax department.
While the due date this year was extended to 31 August (with this being the first year the penalty will be imposed), the due date last year was 5 August.
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The tax department has been trying to steadily increase the tax base. In 2017-18, 1.06 crore new taxpayers were added to the tax base. The tax department is planning to add 1.25 crore taxpayers in 2018-19, according to the central action plan released by the tax department for the current fiscal.
“The Indian economy is growing at a rapid pace. Considering the increased economic activities both in the organized as well as unorganized sectors, there is scope for further widening of the direct tax base of the country. New opportunities for identification of potential taxpayers have opened up due to data mining and data analytics.." the action plan said asking its field officers to efficiently utilize the data for identifying potential taxpayers.
“In addition to use of disseminated data, local intelligence, inputs from market associations, trade bodies and professional bodies should also be gathered and used to identify non-filers," the action plan added.
Improvement in compliance can also be seen on the indirect tax side with many taxpayers registering for the GST and in addition filing their tax returns on time.