Finance Minister on Friday met key industry representatives for their inputs on modifying the norms and the forms for filing returns but gave no assurances on when the exercise will be completed. During his visit to the US last week, the tax administration had notified some new forms on filing returns that required details of all bank accounts and foreign travel, among other issues, which had raised a storm.
While in the US, Jaitley spoke to his officials and asked them to review the forms. He has also upon his return decided to meet industry representatives for their views before a final decision. The meeting on Friday comprised some 20 representatives from the Federation of Indian Chambers of commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Association Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
“The government was very open minded. Our submission was that if an individual is filing tax return truthfully and honestly and is completely disclosing everything, then that person should not be burdened or get negatively impacted,” said Siddharth Birla, immediate past president of FICCI.
“The Income Tax return form should avoid multiplicity of information. In 2014-15, we had a good precedence of tax return form. I think a little tweaking of that form can help us,” he told. According to other members at the meeting, including the representatives from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, there was an indication from officials that the government will come out with a new ITR form within the next three-four weeks.
“The finance minister (Jaitley) spoke to me from Washington. He has asked me to make the format simpler. He said the government must be proactive and he quickly decided to review the new income tax returns’ format,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told on Saturday.
“The additional information was actually sought to deal with unaccounted cash. This was also one of the recommendation of the SIT on black money,” he said referring to the Special Investigation Team set up by the Narendra Modi government at the behest of the Supreme Court. Asked when the decision will be taken, Das said: “I can’t say now when the format will be revoked. We have to follow a process. All I can say now is that the format will be reviewed.”
On April 15, the Central Board of Direct Taxes had notified new norms and the attendant forms that, among other issues, requires an assessee to furnish all bank details, opened or closed in the year with the closing balance, as also the sources of funds for expenses in an overseas travel. (IANS)