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Tax lens only on multiple foreign visits
May, 04th 2015

The tax department is readying the contours of the new income tax returns form which may require only those with overseas personal visits exceeding a certain number to disclose spending details, sparing a majority from making detailed disclosures.

Sources indicated that only those who go beyond six or seven personal visits in a fiscal year will need to file expenditure details in the returns form. Those going on business or official trips won't have to reveal spending details.

The controversial 14-page form released last month had sought details of spending during overseas trips and data on domestic and foreign bank accounts, prompting finance minister Arun Jaitley to order an immediate review.

The revised form, which will be unveiled soon, will require taxpayers to file returns in three or four pages. Only those with income from specific sources, which would come under the lens in normal course, or those required to make certain disclosures would need to go beyond the first few pages, sources said.

The new form released last month had come in for severe criticism as it required individuals to disclose personal spending during overseas trips and data on domestic bank accounts in addition to details of foreign bank accounts, investments in entities abroad as well as information related to interests in trusts. This had prompted finance minister Arun Jaitley to order an immediate review.

Jaitley was then in the US to attend the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the decision had been taken at the official level following a recommendation made by the Special Investigation Team on black money that had been set up by the BJP government following a Supreme Court observation.

The government has already held consultations with industry representatives as well as internally and the minister told Parliament last week that the new forms would be released soon.

"Recently, a controversy did come up. There is an old income tax form of 12 pages which was made 13.5 pages. I was out of the country when it was done. I had it stopped. I am having the entire matter reviewed and very soon you will hear of an extremely simplified procedure coming from us," he said in Lok Sabha while replying to the debate on the finance bill.

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