If you feel that Income Tax Return filing is a taxing task, you are not alone. For a layman, just the name is enough to induce shivers. The tax return filing season for F.Y. 2016-17 is on the horizon & the government has come up with a good news at the right time.
Do you remember that our Finance Minister had promised to introduce a simple one-page ITR form for tax filers? The form was expected to offer huge relief to taxpayers with income below Rs. 5 lakh. The recent news is even better than that. Now this one-page ITR form will make tax return filing simpler for a bigger chunk of taxpayers. Salaried individuals with income up to Rs. 50 lakh & having rental income from one house only will also be able to file their tax return easily with this one-page ITR.
There are several reasons why people find filing taxes daunting & boring. For most people, this is a once in a year activity. Income Tax rules also change every year. So, people tend to forget how they filed their taxes in the previous year. As a result, they have to learn everything all over again. This further leads to poor tax planning, unclaimed refunds & defective IT returns. A large number of people often skip this essential activity.
Some do so to escape taxes, some due to ignorance & some others due to the process being extremely complicated. If you look at the data issued by the Finance Ministry, you will understand how critical the situation is. Out of 290 million PAN card holders in our country, only 60 million filed tax returns last year. If you look at non-filers with potential tax liabilities, you will see that their numbers have been increasing year-on-year. From 1.22 million in 2013, the numbers inflated to 5.89 million in 2015. The Government wants to curb this unwanted growth of non-filers. Therefore, it has come up with this simplified ITR which should make tax filing easy for a majority of taxpayers like us.
Highlights of New Simplified one page ITR-1
Under the existing tax provisions, you can file your tax return without any penalty till the end of the assessment year. If you delay tax filing beyond assessment year, tax officer can impose the penalty up to Rs. 5,000, which is done very rarely and fails to create any impact on taxpayers. To tighten the noose around stubborn non-filers, in budget 2017 the government has introduced a new section 234F which levies mandatory late filing fees for non-filing the tax returns within allowed time. As per the new provisions, if a taxpayer misses the due date of 31stJuly but files his return by 31st of December, the quantum of fee payable will be Rs. 5,000. Further, if he delays the filing beyond 31st December, the fees will be increased to Rs. 10,000. But keeping the interest of small taxpayers (with income up to Rs. 5 lakh), in mind, the government has kept the fees much lower for them. The late filing fees for such taxpayers will be maximum Rs. 1,000. If such taxpayer is filing his return for the first time, then I-T department will not scrutinise his ITR unless it has specific information regarding suspicious high-value transactions. The mandatory late filing fee will be applicable from A.Y. 2018-19 onwards but old penalty provision will be applicable on older assessment years.
Hopefully, this new ITR will make tax filing simpler for you. We will provide you all the necessary information regarding the form once it comes out. However, if you still find tax filing complicated, boring and time-consuming, you can use our Income Tax Filing services to get your taxes done easily. You can file your taxes online with us within 10 minutes using our self e-filing service or just upload your Form 16 to get your taxes filed by our team of in-house tax experts. Alternatively, you can choose to visit any of our retail offices to get face-to-face tax assistance.