ITR filing up 50%; will meet Rs 11.5-trn direct tax target: CBDT chairman

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Income tax return filing for assessment year 2018-19 has so far seen a 50 per cent rise since last year, a top finance ministry official said on Tuesday.

"This is the effect of demonetisation," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra said on the sidelines of a CII event.

Demonetisation has been very good for increasing the tax base of the country. This year, we have already got around 60.8 million income tax returns, which is 50 per cent higher than last year by this particular date, he said.

He further added that the revenue department will achieve direct tax collection target, which is Rs 11.5 trillion, for the current financial year. 

"Our gross direct tax growth rate is 16.5 per cent and net direct tax growth rate is 14.5 per cent, which itself shows that demonetisation really helped in widening and deepening of tax base."

"As on date, total direct tax mopup stood at 48 per cent of the Budget estimate," the CBDT chief insisted.

He also said that so far 70 countries are sharing information with India under Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI).

Chandra said that due to demonetisation, so far, the number corporate taxpayers have gone to 800,000 from 700,000 last year.

CBDT, which is the apex policy making body for direct taxes, will in one year start giving e-PAN within four hours, he said.

"We are putting a new system in place. After a year or so, we will be giving PAN in 4 hours, you will have to give Aadhaar identity and you will get e-PAN in 4 hours," Chandra added.

He said that the department had sent 20 million SMS to people who had not filed returns or those whose income did not match with their filings.

Referring to the department's efforts of reducing human interface with of taxmen with taxpayers, Chandra said that so far this year more than 70,000 cases have been done online without calling assessees to tax offices.

The CBDT chief noted that so far the department has given 22.7 million refunds, which is 50 per cent higher than last year.

In the last four years, India's tax base has gone up by 80 per cent, he said.

Chandra also said that, so far, India has entered 245 advance pricing agreement (APAs), and more than 500 tax matters have been solved under the mutual agreement procedure (MAP).

Noting that the government was committed to reducing the corporate tax rate, he said, "Our tax compliance should be good so that the government is in a position to reduce the (corporate) tax rate."

Referring to PE (permanent establishment) rules, Chandra said that in his opinion, PE rules are sustainable in the era of digital economy.

So, from where the revenues are being generated, businesses will have to be taxed accordingly... These issues will have to be discussed in detail, he said.

Replying to a question on seizure Rs 250 million cash from vaults in Chandni Chowk, Chandra said the department was trying to find out whether the money was deposited in the vaults after proper know your customer (KYC) scrutiny.

The Income Tax Department Monday seized over Rs 250 million cash after surveying a 300-safes strong private vault in the Chandni Chowk market area here.  

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