People are increasingly opting for filing their returns online, says a recent data from the Income Tax department. Number of e-filed tax returns rose by a significant 21 per cent and stood at Rs 4.21 crore for the financial year 2016-17.
The data covers data till February 28 and attributes the rise to the ease and convenience offered by e-filing.
Government, on its part, has also been trying to process returns quickly. "Efforts have been made to shorten the time-frame over the years through greater thrust on automation, smoothening the process for e-filing, and pro-active monitoring," said Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar, replying to a question in Lok Sabha.
The total amount of refund issued in the current fiscal (including refund arising out of rectification, appeal effect, etc) is Rs 1,48,459 crore.
"The government accords high priority to expeditious issue of refunds, particularly to small taxpayers. During financial year 2016-17, as on February 10, 98 per cent of the refunds of less than Rs 50,000 have been issued and only two per cent remain to be issued. Majority of these cases relate to recently filed tax returns or where the taxpayers’ response to the department is awaited," said Gangwar.
This year's Budget proposes a penalty on people who do not file income tax returns on time. They will have to shell out Rs 10,000 from assessment year 2018-19.
However, for small taxpayers or where the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, it is "proposed that the fee amount shall not exceed one thousand rupees”.
Government has been taking these steps to ensure tax compliance and bring more people under the tax net.