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Govt notifies new and simplified income tax return forms
June, 24th 2015

The income tax (I-T) department has notified the new set of simpler income tax return (ITR) forms for filing returns for the assessment year 2015-16.

Taxpayers can now file their ITR till August 31, the new deadline set in this regard by the government after it scrapped the earlier form, which had sparked a major controversy as it sought details about foreign travel and dormant bank accounts.

The most simplified form, ITR-2A, to be filled by those individuals and Hindu undivided families (HUFs) who do not have income from either business, profession or by way of capital gains and do not hold foreign assets only requires the passport number of the filer if available.

Filers now will have to declare only the total number of savings and current bank accounts held by them at any time during the previous year (excluding dormant accounts).

The form also has space to fill up the IFSC code of the bank and in an additional feature, filers have been given an option to indicate their bank accounts in which they would want their refund credited.

The I-T department, in the new ITRs, has also sought the Aadhaar number of filers and has given options for providing two email IDs.

The inclusion of Aadhaar and emails is aimed at encouraging online ITR filing. The department has also provided for an additional four-page schedule to this simplified form for those who wish to file any more details, applicable in a case-to-case basis.

The ITR-2 form for individuals and HUFs having income from business or profession, remains simple but requires them to declare any foreign assets held by them or income from any source outside India.

The new ITR form has replaced the 14-page form notified earlier this year, which had drawn vociferous criticism from individuals, industrialists and MPs as they were considered to be cumbersome and an intrusion into the privacy of an individual.

In the new ITR forms, an expat who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on business, employment or student visa would not mandatorily be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years when he was non-resident and if no income was derived from such assets during the relevant previous year.

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