NEW DELHI : The Income Tax department has been tasked to add 1.30 crore new return filers in the current financial year as part of the government's plan to widen the tax base in the country.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), a body that frames policy for the department, has issued the directive in the Central Action Plan (CAP) for 2019-20, released on Friday.

The CAP acts as a guiding document for the Income Tax department and is unveiled by the CBDT every year. The maximum numbers are proposed to be added from the northwest region, at 12,50,683, followed by the Pune region at 12,22,676, Gujarat 11,96,129, Tamil Nadu 9,35,501, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 9,22,465, among others. There are a total of 18 regions in the tax department's organisation. The northwest region comprises Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

"Considering the increased economic activities both in organised as well as un-organised sectors, there is scope for further widening of the direct tax base of the country," the CAP document said.

It added that new opportunities for identification of potential tax payers have opened up due to data mining and data analytics conducted by the systems, intelligence and criminal investigation and regular probe wings of the department and through the tax deducted at source and tax collected at source wings. "The effective utilisation of these data by the field officers would result in identification of a large number of potential tax payers. In addition, information from disseminated data, local intelligence, inputs from market associations, trade bodies and professional bodies should be gathered to identify non-filers," it said.

A new filer is defined as a person who is not included in the base at the beginning of the year but has filed income tax return in the current financial year.

About 1.10 crore new filers were added during 2018-19 financial year, it said. The CAP also suggested to the taxman that it should hold awareness meetings and outreach programmes to encourage voluntary compliance of filing tax returns, especially in Tier II and III cities of the country. The Principal Chief Commissioners or the regional I-T heads should also develop a local strategy keeping in view the specific profile of these regions to significantly widen the tax base for this year, it said.