‘Extremely simplified’ income tax return form coming soon: FM Arun Jaitley

An “extremely simplified” income tax return form will soon replace the controversial 14-page ITR that sought information like all bank accounts and foreign trip details, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Lok Sabha today.
“I am having the entire matter reviewed and very soon you will hear an extremely simplified procedure coming for us,” he said replying to the debate on the Finance Bill, 2015.
Referring to the criticism of new 14-page income tax return (ITR), he said the entire issue has been reviewed and the form will be based on feedback received from the industry and MPs.
“Recently, a controversy did come up. There is an old income tax form of 12 pages which was made thirteen-and-a-half page. I was out of the country when this was done, I had it stopped,” he said.
The Finance Ministry is considering easy taxation form which an “assessee can do things himself and does not have to run to various advisers”.
Many members cutting across party lines had criticised government for issuance of a new tax return form saying that the present form impinges on the individual’s privacy as it seeks details of all bank accounts and foreign travel.
Earlier this month, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body of the Income Tax department, notified the new ITR forms for the current assessment year, seeking additional details to check the menace of black money.
As it stands, the new ITR forms, including the ITR-1 and ITR-2, require an assessee to furnish the number of bank accounts held by the individual “at any time (including opened/closed) during the previous year” with the last balance in the account on March 31 of the just-concluded fiscal.
The assessee will also have to furnish the name of the bank, account numbers, their address, IFSC code and any possible joint account holder.
When it comes to disclosure of foreign travel, the taxman wants the assessee’s passport number, its place of issuance, countries visited, number of times such sojourns made and in case of a resident taxpayer, the expenses incurred from own sources in relation to such travel.
The I-T Department last year had made it mandatory for taxpayers to mention details of all assets they hold in a foreign soil under a new schedule- details of foreign assets and income from any source outside India.
The new measures are part of the government’s effort to tackle black money in an non-obtrusive manner. The details will add to the taxman’s knowledge about a particular assessee.
The new ITR forms, this time, also feature a new column to include the Aadhaar number of the assessee.