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Get ready to file more details in new ITR forms
April, 09th 2019

The disclosure requirement in the income tax return (ITR) forms have been rising in recent years as the income-tax (I-T) department has been using technology extensively to track tax evasion and process returns. But this year, the number of changes made to the ITR forms notified for the assessment year (AY) 2019-20 is probably the highest in the recent time.

The changes have been made regarding disclosure of information and computation of income, inter-alia, change in method to disclose salary income, property-wise disclosure of arrears/unrealised rent, and many more for business owners. “Several changes have been made in the forms seeking additional details, which will help in automatically validating or cross-checking the income and other details that the tax authorities may have from other sources,” says Kuldip Kumar, partner and leader - Personal Tax, PwC India. He says that the changes will not only improve the processing of tax returns in an automated environment but also help in keeping a check on income-escaping cases.

ITR-1 form is meant for residents that have an income of up to Rs 50 lakh from salary, one house property and sources such as interest income etc. But this year onwards this ITR form cannot be used by an individual who is either a director of a company or has invested in unlisted equity shares.

It is now mandatory for every taxpayer (except super senior citizen) to file the return electronically. The option available to a taxpayer, whose income was below Rs 5 lakh during the previous year, to file the physical return has been withdrawn. For the AY 2019-20, every taxpayer will need to file the income-tax return electronically except a super senior citizen (whose age is 80 years or above during the previous year 2018-19).

In the new ITR-1, if you have a house, you are now required to specify if it is self-occupied, let-out or deemed to let-out. You are also required to provide details of income from other sources this year. Earlier, the taxpayer had to only specify the income.

The new ITR forms have changed the mechanism of reporting salary income. Up to AY 2018-19, an individual was required to report salary amount excluding all exempt and non-exempt allowance, perquisites and profit in lieu of salary. These items are reported separately in the same schedule and had no impact on the calculation of net salary income.

The new ITR forms have changed this reporting mechanism, which is now in sync with the columns of Form 16 (TDS Certificate issued by the employer). Now, an individual must mention his gross salary and then the amount of exempt allowances, perquisites and profit in lieu of salary shall be deducted or added to arrive at the taxable figure of salary income. Further, the new ITR forms seek separate reporting of all deductions that are allowed under Section 16, which include standard deduction, entertainment allowance and professional tax.

If an individual reports capital gains from transfer of immovable property in income-tax return, it is now mandatory for him to furnish details of the buyer including name, PAN, percentage share, amount, and so on.

table In new ITR forms, besides specifying the residential status -- resident, resident but not ordinarily resident, or non-resident -- the assessee is now required to provide additional information with respect to his residential status, such as, the number of days stayed in India, and jurisdiction of his residence and tax identification number in case he is a non-resident.
The tax department has also increased the scope of foreign assets. Besides foreign bank accounts, details of foreign depository accounts are also required. The assessee is also now required to furnish various details such as the name and code of the country in which custodial account is held and account opening date and peak balance during the year, etc. Custodial account is an account which is set up for the benefit of any other person called beneficiary and is managed and administrated by a representative known as a custodian.

The new schedule requires the assessee to provide information regarding the investments made by him in equity or debt funds of a foreign entity. Accordingly, information relating to the entity and investment made therein is required to be reported.

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