Out of the 4 crore income tax returns (ITRs) filed during the financial year 2011-12, 1.64 crore were filed online. Majority of these were voluntary e-filers. This acceptance of the facility has made the government confident to make it mandatory for people with more than Rs. 10 lakh of total income (includes income from salary, professional, rental, capital gain on shares/property etc., business, interest on deposits or any other source). E-filing for such individuals was optional till Assessment Year 2011-12.
Although e-filing has been made mandatory for individuals having total income above Rs 10 lakh, they are not required to use digital signature.
What’s your status for Assessment Year 2012-13
Efiling Mandatory for 10 Lakh+ Earners
If we analyze the reasoning of the government around this measure, this step can be seen as a pilot run for making online filing of ITR mandatory for all taxpayers. The I-T Department may have started with the section of people earning more than Rs 10 lakh as the amount of refund claimed by them is high. Hence, making them efile mandatorily will prevent any delay in paying back this amount. That way, government will save on the interest amount paid by it to taxpayers who have paid more tax than due.
Moreover, the general direction of the Income Tax Department indicates that the complete process of filing ITR and after-filing procedures will be made electronic. The department has already mandated for TDS deductors, the download of Form 16A from NSDL website. The same is likely to be applicable for Form 16 from the next Financial Year.
From next year, e-filing with digital signature will be mandatory for:
- individuals having business income with receipts of Rs 100 lakh
- professionals with income of Rs 25 lakh
Efiling is anyway the simplest way to file your ITR. All you need to do is visit http://www.taxspanner.com/ts/ebe/, fill in your personal details and attach your digital form 16. All electronically filed returns are processed on priority basis at the I-T Department's Centralized Processing Centre at Bangalore. Thus, refunds are issued faster on efiled returns. E-filing is a much more streamlined process than paper-filing and is also more environment-friendly.
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NISG, New Delhi