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How the exemption from filing income tax returns helps?
February, 27th 2012

There is some good news for salaried taxpayers with a total income of less than Rs 5 lakhs. They don't have to file their income tax returns for the current financial year - 2011-12 also. Last year, the government had extended this relief.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued guidelines to this effect. It has specified that individuals with a total income of up to Rs 5 lakhs in a financial year and comprising only income under the heads 'salary' and 'income from other sources' are exempt from filing income tax returns for the assessment year 2012-13 applicable to the financial year 2011-12.

Further, it has been clarified that 'income from other sources' is interest from a savings account in a bank not exceeding Rs 10,000. In order to be eligible for the exemption from filing tax returns, an individual must furnish his PAN and details of income of bank interest to his employer, pay the entire tax due through deduction of tax at source, and obtain a certificate of tax deduction on Form16.

The individual should receive a certificate of tax deduction at source (Form 16) from his employer which mentions his PAN, details of income, and the tax deducted at source and deposited with the central government. Further, the individual should have discharged his total tax liability for the assessment year through tax deduction at source, and it must have been deposited by the employer with the central government.

Also, he should have received salary from a single employer throughout the financial year. In addition, he should not have claimed a tax refund on the income of the relevant financial year. In order to claim an income tax refund, such persons will have to file returns.

Who won't get the exemption

It has been clarified that taxpayers receiving salary from more than one employer, having income from sources other than salary and interest from a savings bank account, or having refund claims will not be entitled to the exemption from filing tax returns.

Further, the exemption from filing tax returns is not available where a notice is issued to an individual to file returns under certain specified sections.

Benefits

The move will reduce the burden on a large number of taxpayers and simplify the process. It is another step in the right direction to simplify the tax process and increase compliance. It will also reduce the workload of the Income Tax Department, which can then concentrate more on other areas of tax collection.

As it is still February, eligible employees can provide the requisite details to the employers, so as to be eligible for the exemption from filing IT returns.

There are about 85 lakh salaried taxpayers in the country who will tend to benefit because their yearly incomes, including earnings from other sources like bank deposits, does not exceed Rs 5 lakhs.

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