Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Simplified version proposed for new ITR forms; due date of filing of return may be extended to 31-08-2015

On April 15, 2015 the CBDT had notified revised ITR forms for assessment year 2015-16 requiring several additional disclosures by taxpayers to check menace of black money. In revised forms, apart from other additional disclosure, taxpayers were required to furnish details of foreign travel and details of all bank accounts held by them at any time (including opened/closed ones) during the previous year.

Experts and consultants had criticised those new forms, saying that the government was seeking too much of data. They felt that the addition of new information would make the process of filing returns difficult. Having considered the responses from various stakeholders, these forms are now proposed to be simplified for the convenience of the taxpayers. Proposed changes are as under:

1)ITR 2 and ITR 2A: With a view to provide a simplified form, a new Form ITR 2A is proposed which can be filed by an individual or HUF who does not have capital gains, income from business/profession or foreign asset/foreign income. The main forms of ITR 2 and ITR 2A will not contain more than three pages and other information will be captured in the Schedules which will be required to be filled up only if applicable.

2)Details of bank balance and dormant accounts: In revised ITR forms, taxpayers were required to report closing bank balance and they were also required to furnish details of dormant accounts. Now it has been proposed that closing bank balance and details of dormant accounts (not operational during the last three years) are not required to be furnished.

3)Details of foreign trips: In revised ITR forms assessee was required to report details of overseas travelling. It has now been proposed that it shall not be mandatory to furnish details of foreign trips in new Form ITR 2A and Form ITR 2. Only Passport Number, if available, would be required to be given in these Forms.

4)Details of foreign assets: An individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on a business, employment or student visa (expatriate), would not mandatorily be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident if no income has been derived from such assets during the relevant previous year.

5)Option to choose ITR 1: Under the extant Rules taxpayers could choose ITR-1 only if they were claiming exemption under section 10 (e.g., HRA, Conveyance allowance, etc.) upto Rs 5,000. So, salaried taxpayers who were claiming exemption of HRA or conveyance allowance (exceeding 5,000) were filing ITR-2. Now it has been proposed that individuals having exempt income without any ceiling (other than agricultural income exceeding Rs. 5,000) can now file return in Form ITR 1.

The utility for e-filing of return as per new ITR forms is likely to be available by third week of June 2015. In view of such changes, it is further proposed to extend the time-limit for filing these returns upto 31.08.2015.