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People scramble to file tax-returns
July, 31st 2007
With July coming to an end, taxpayers across the country have joined queues to beat the last date for filing returns.

This year the last date for filing income tax returns for the Assessment Year 2007-08 for salaried and non-audit business cases is July 31.

Income tax centres in parts of the country announced that they had made arrangements to receive "returns" even on the last weekend.

The Income Tax Department's website also now allows for the electronic filing of returns. This site offers a 'return preparation software' that is downloadable, and the chance to "e-file your income-tax returns anytime, anywhere", says the department.

Varying forms - ITR-1, ITR-2, ITR-3 and ITR-4 -- have been made available to individuals and Hindu undivided families of diverse categories.

"In India, the system of direct taxation as it is known today, has been in force in one form or another even from ancient times," says the Income Tax Department, citing examples from the ancient Indian texts of the Manu Smriti and the Arthasashtra.

India's Income Tax Department's history began in 1922, with a law being passed to give a specific nomenclature to various tax authorities.

In 1924, Central Board of Revenue Act constituted the board as a statutory body with functional responsibilities for the administration of the then new Income Tax Act.

World War II brought unusual profits to businessmen, and from 1940 to 1947, Excess Profits Tax and Business Profits Tax were introduced. In 1953, the Indian Revenue Service was constituted.

Over the past few years, tax reforms in India have focussed on lowering of tax rates; withdrawing or reducing major incentives; introducing measures for presumptive taxation; simplification of tax laws (particularly on capital gains) and "widening the tax base".
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