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CBDT rejects report on decline in income tax e-filing
May, 07th 2019

Issuing clarification, the CBDT said that during FY18, out of 6.74 crore ITRs which were e-filed, 5.47 crore ITRs were filed for Assessment Year (AY) 2017-18, the current year

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has refuted media reports about the reduction in numbers of Income Tax Returns (ITR) e-filers, saying that figures for ITR e-filed during the financial year 2018-19 are "not comparable" with 2017-18.

"This is factually untrue, because the figures for FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 are not directly comparable," the CBDT said in a statement.

The tax authority's statement comes in response to media reports pertaining to reduction in numbers of ITRs e-filed during financial year 2018-19 as compared to FY 2017-18.

Issuing clarification, the CBDT said that during FY18, out of 6.74 crore ITRs which were e-filed, 5.47 crore ITRs were filed for Assessment Year (AY) 2017-18, the current year. In comparison, a total of 6.68 crore ITRs were e-filed during FY19, which included 6.49 crore ITRs of current AY 2018-19, registering a growth of nearly 19 per cent.

"This would imply that substantially larger number of taxpayers filed their ITRs electronically in the FY 2018-19 as compared to FY 2017-18," it said.

Explaining the factual status, CBDT said that during FY18, apart from the returns for the AY 2017-18, nearly 1.21 crore ITRs were filed for AY 2016-17. The balance number of ITRs filed for AY 2015-16 and prior AYs was 0.06 crore. In comparison, during FY 2018-19 only 0.14 crore ITRs for AY 2017-18 were filed.

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"Thus, the apparent decrease in the number of ITRs filed during FY 2018-19 pertaining to earlier years was due to an amendment in Section 139(5) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 brought in vide Finance Act, 2017, w.e.f. 01.04.2018, which mandated that a revised return could be furnished only up to the end of the relevant Assessment Year," the taxes body said.

As a result only 0.14 crore ITRs pertaining to AY 2017-18 were filed during FY 2018-19 as these were the revised ITRs for the relevant AY which could only be filed due to change in law, it added.

CBDT further said that the number of paper ITRs for AY 2017-18 was only 9.2 lakh (1.5 per cent of total ITRs filed) and the number of paper ITRs for AY 2018-19 is 4.8 lakh (0.6% of total ITRs filed). This indicates that most of the taxpayers have switched to e-filing which is clear from the dwindling numbers of paper returns filed for AY 2018-19 compared to earlier years, it said.

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