There is a marked increase in the number of income tax filed through e-filing. The number of e-Returns submitted for Assessment Year 2018-19 is 6,49,39,586 as against 5,47,30,304 e-Returns filed for the Assessment Year 2017-18, thereby marking a remarkable increase of 18.65% over previous Assessment Year. A total of 7.19 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) have been processed in the Financial Year 2018-19. The total amount of refund released in Financial Year 2018-19 is Rs. 1,61,457.6 Crore.
The Government has accorded high priority to issue refunds for all taxpayers including small taxpayers. Less than 0.5% of ITRs are selected for scrutiny, the majority of ITRs are processed expeditiously and refunds are issued. With greater adoption of information technology in processing of ITRs and emphasis on less intrusive verification, the time taken to process ITRs is constantly reducing. Refunds amounting to Rs. 64,700 crores have already been issued in this Financial Year till 18.06. 2019.The Government has made it mandatory from March, 2019 to issue income-tax refunds through ECS only, therefore, expediting direct credit of refunds to bank accounts. Further, all field authorities have been instructed to issue refunds up to Rs 5,000 without any adjustment against outstanding demand, if any.
The Government has initiated several measures to educate the tax payers to e-file their ITRs. Outreach measures, including training in e-filing, conducting workshops and awareness programmes, are being undertaken by the Income Tax Department. Aayakar Seva Kendras (ASKs) have been established in all regional offices to address tax payers’ concerns and guide them in e-filing their ITRs. The official website of the Income Tax Department offers step by step guidance on how to e-file the ITRs. The Government is also utilizing print media, audio and visual media as well as social media to educate people to file their ITRs through e-filing. Regular advertisements are placed in Newspapers and News Portals in internet each year during peak e-filing periods to educate and encourage taxpayers to submit their ITRs online. A total of 26.9 crore SMS and e-mails were sent to taxpayers in Financial Year 2018-19 reminding them for timely submission of ITRs and other important requirements.
Recently, in January, 2019, the Government has approved Integrated E-filing & Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) 2.0 Project of the Income Tax Department. The details of the CPC 2.0 Project are:
(i) CPC 2.0 Project envisages pre-filling of ITRs by the Income-tax Department and its acceptance by the taxpayer so as to improve accuracy of information contained in the Return and drastically reduce the existing turnaround time taken in processing of Returns and issuance of refunds.
(ii) CPC 2.0 Project will process ITRs in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This would ensure fairness in tax treatment to all taxpayers irrespective of their status.
(iii) The CPC 2.0 Project would significantly improve transparency and accountability of Income-tax Department as processing of returns and issuance of refunds would take place without any interface with the Department.
(iv) CPC 2.0 Project would adhere to international best practices and standards. It would keep the taxpayer informed by providing processing status update, speedy communication using mobile app, email, SMS and through website of the Income-tax Department.
CPC 2.0 Project envisages setting up of integrated contact centres for taxpayer’s assistance and undertaking outreach programs involving taxpayers and other stakeholders through digital media in an effective manner.
Thus, CPC 2.0 Project besides promoting the Government objective of promoting voluntary tax-compliance culture would also smoothen the process of e-filing and processing of ITRs and will also bring about a significant enhancement in services to the taxpayers.
This was stated by the Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.