Govt's extensive advertisement campaign pays off

Our Bureau

Higher returns

Over 1.26

crore individuals filed returns

Over 4 lakh

filed their returns through post offices

New Delhi, Sept. 1

The Government's extensive advertisement campaign has paid off. This year over 1.26 crore individuals have filed their income-tax returns as opposed to 77 lakh who had filed returns last year.

Incidentally, the facility to file returns through post offices was also used by people this year to file returns. Though there were only six days to the July 31 deadline, about 4 lakh individuals used this route to comply with tax laws.

Giving out this information, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) spokesperson, Mr A.K. Sinha, said on Friday that these returns were only that of `individuals' and that most companies and businesses would have to get their books audited for tax purposes before filing their tax returns.

The Income-Tax Department had announced on July 24 that about 2,000 designated post offices would now accept income-tax returns. "The response of 4 lakh returns in the last week of July is very encouraging", he said.

High compliance

Asked as to what had led to the increase in the number of returns filed this year, Mr Sinha said that he would largely attribute this increase to the effect of the annual information returns (AIR).

"More people are now becoming aware that the tax department is getting information about their high-value transactions through AIRs. They are now realising that it would be better to disclose their income by filing their returns rather than allowing the taxman to use the AIR information and reach their doors," he said.

Informed sources, however, said that the increase in the number of returns filed could also be attributed to assessees' eagerness to escape the controversial `form 2F' where cash flow statements have to be given. The CBDT had specified that individuals filing returns after July 31 could not use `Naya Saral' (form 2E) and would instead have to file returns in Form 2F. The cash flow statement is a sore point with the critics of this form, though it was optional for returns filed for the assessment year 2006-07.

Duplicate PAN

Meanwhile, on the issue of duplicate Permanent Account Numbers (PANs), Mr Sinha said that assessees with two PANs should decide on the number that they would want to retain and surrender the other to either the assessing officer or the Income-Tax Department.

The department has so far allotted 4.7 crore permanent account numbers. About 5 lakh applications for PAN are processed every month.

Related Stories:
CBDT specifies reporting format for banks
Heavy rush on last day to file returns
Select post offices to accept I-T returns

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 2, 2006)
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