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Govt announces simpler forms for I-T returns

By BS Reporter
June 01, 2015 09:15 IST
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The new form has three pages.

Last date for filing now August-end; drops requirement of foreign trip expenses and dormant bank a/c disclosures

In a relief to Income Tax return filers the finance ministry on Sunday said it had decided to simplify these.

However, while reducing the number of pages, the government has retained clauses meant to curb tax evasion.

With the new e-filing return forms expected only by the third week of June, the government also extended the last date for filing of returns to August-end from the usual July-end. 

The ministry had come under criticism over the earlier forms, issued in April.

These were termed complex and onerous by tax payers and experts.

The 14-page form sought extensive details on foreign trips, bank balances and capital gains.

The minister had later said these would be withdrawn and replaced with a simpler format.  

The new form has three pages.

Taxpayers won’t have to disclose details of all foreign travel and expenses incurred but will have to give their passport numbers in the revised I-T return form.

They won’t have to mention the balances in their bank accounts but will have to disclose all their accounts. 

“All these steps are heartening.

“However, to understand the fine print, we would have to wait for the final forms to be notified.

“The e-filing version is expected in three weeks,” said Tapti Ghose, partner, Deloitte Haskin and Sells. 

The ministry said the new form, named ITR 2A, is for individuals without capital gains, income from business/profession or foreign assets/foreign income. 

The disclosures on bank accounts have also been relaxed.

An I-T payer will not have to disclose details about accounts not operational for the past three years.

Payers will have to give details about their bank accounts, including the IFS code and the account number for all the current and savings account held by them at any time during the previous year.

The new return forms also make life easier for expatriates and non-resident Indians, who in the earlier forms would have been subjected to reporting of their foreign assets. 

“An individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on a business, employment or student visa (expatriate), would not mandatorily be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident, if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year,” the government said. 

However, disclosures of foreign assets have been retained as a precursor to the Undisclosed Foreign Assets and Income Bill, and to help check tax evasion.

Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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BS Reporter in New Delhi
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