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Filing of Income Tax Returns registers an upsurge of 71 percent till August 31

By Deepika

New Delhi, Sep 1: The Centre on Saturday said the filing of income tax returns (ITR) till August 31 saw an upsurge of 71 per cent, when compared to the same period in 2017.

This was led by a massive eight-fold jump in returns filed by entities under the presumptive tax scheme and 54 per cent increase in e-filing by salaried individuals.

Arun Jaitley

Taking to twitter Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley, said "A significant aspect has been the increase of 682% in the returns by persons adopting the presumptive income scheme."

"Congratulations to all the tax payers and the Income Tax Department for the continuous efforts in making India a more tax compliant society," he added.

The total number of ITRs filed online up to August 31 was 5.42 crore, as against 3.17 crore up to August 31 last year, marking an increase of 70.86 per cent. Almost 34.95 lakh returns were uploaded on August 31 itself, an official release from the Ministry of Finance noted.

"The increase in the number of returns reveals a marked improvement in the level of voluntary compliance of taxpayers which can be attributed to several factors, including the impact of demonetisation, enhanced persuasion and education of taxpayers as also the impending provision of late fee which would be effective on late filing of returns," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

"A remarkable increase is seen in the number of ITRs filed by salaried individuals as also those availing the benefit of the Presumptive Taxation Scheme," it said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted that the total number of income tax returns filed upto August 31 has shown "remarkable growth" of 71 per cent.

The total number of e-returns of salaried individual taxpayers filed till August 31 increased to 3.37 crore from 2.19 crore returns filed during the corresponding period of 2017, registering a growth of almost 54 per cent.

As many as 1.17 crore ITRs were e-filed by persons availing the benefit of Presumptive Tax, compared to 14.93 lakh returns filed up to August, 2017, registering a massive eight-fold jump.

"This is indicative of an India moving steadily towards a more tax compliant society and reflects the impact of continuous leveraging of technology to improve taxpayer service delivery," the statement said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in Budget 2018-19 flagged the tax mop-up from entities under the Presumptive Taxation Scheme.

"Under this scheme, 41 per cent more returns were filed during this year which shows that many more persons are joining the tax net under simplified scheme. However, the turnover shown is still not encouraging," he had said.

The government had liberalised the presumptive income scheme for small traders and entrepreneurs with annual turnover of less than Rs 2 crore and introduced a similar scheme for professionals with annual turnover of less than Rs 50 lakh with the hope that there would be significant increase in compliance.

The I-T Department had received 44.72 lakh returns for assessment year 2017-18 (financial year 2016-17) from individual, Hindu undivided family (HUF) and firms with a meagre average turnover of Rs 17.97 lakhs and an average tax payment of Rs 7,000 only, the minister had said.

August 31 was the last day for filing tax returns by salaried individuals and those with business or professional income without the need for audit.

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