As per section 139 (1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 of India, “individuals whose total income during the previous year exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax, should file their income tax returns (ITR).”
Fiscal year 2016-17 has been a momentous year for the nation, with the income tax (I-T) wing recording a total number of 2.27 crore people e-filing their returns. The last date for filing returns was 5 August.
The I-T department has also established a new benchmark and issued refunds to 55 lakh assesses for Rs 14,300 crore, including Rs 3,000 crore of the assessment year 2016-17, till last week, i.e. the first four months of the current financial year. A statement issued by the Income Tax department said, “The Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bengaluru, has already issued over Rs 54.35 lakh refunds, totalling to Rs 14,332 crore, which includes Rs 20.81 lakh refunds for AY 2016-17 (current year returns) totalling to Rs 2,922 crore till August 5, 2016.”
The total returns as of last week have been more than the Rs 2 crore the previous fiscal year till the extended date of September. The magic behind this momentous achievement of refunding such a huge tax surplus is the electronic verification (e-Verification) process, which is fast catching up with the tax payers. This is the first time that the government has refunded such a large tax surplus:
- To refund such a large tax surplus even before the date for filing returns had expired, is a record in itself.
- A finance ministry statement said the growth in e-returns this year has been over 9.8 per cent.
- While only 10.41 lakh people used the Aadhar based e-Verification during 2015-16, the number reached close to 18 lakhs in 2016-17 – up by 80 per cent.
- Of the 17.68 lakh return applications received, 3.32 lakh were digitally signed.
- The ministry said that more than 35 per cent have already completed the entire process of income tax returns through electronic submission, which is an achievement in itself.
The goal of the Income Tax Department of India to make the entire process of I-T returns electronic seem to have gained some traction. Before the introduction of e-Verification, the return forms were sent to I-T’s central processing unit in Bengaluru for verification.