As the July 31 deadline for filing Income Tax Return approaches, less than 50 per cent of the returns have been submitted. Though experts say non-updation of complete Annual Information Statement (AIS) and “technical glitches” are reasons for slow filing, data from Income Tax Department shows the gap is filling fast with returns swelling within 11-12 hours.
July 31 is the due date of filing Income Tax Returns for assesses whose accounts need not be audited and they mainly comprise individuals (including salaried) beside Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Association of Persons (AOP) or Body of Individuals (BOI), etc. Businesses requiring audit are to file their returns by October 31, while November 30 is the due date in case of Transfer Pricing matter.
E-filing website ( www.incometax.gov.in) shows around 2.48 crore returns filed as on July 22. Last year, as on December 31, (extended due date for individuals, etc) 5.89 crore returns had been filed, while till March 15, 2022 (extended due date for Companies and other taxpayers who were required to file Tax Audit Report) over 6.63 crore returns were filed. Tendency to file on the last day was evident as more than 46.11 lakh ITRs filed on December 31, while on March 15, it was more than 5.43 lakh.
AIS data incomplete
Paras Nath, Partner (Tax & Regulatory Services) with T R Chadha & Co LLP, says site slowdown and saved ITR not appearing subsequently are few general issues being faced this year. Apart from these, a major challenge this year is non-updation of complete AIS data for fourth quarter of FY22.
“Due to this, assessees are not able to reconcile data in AIS for the full year and the purpose of introducing AIS is also not being served. Further, as a consequence, in case of mismatches in data subsequently, the assessee needs to go through the proceedings which could be avoided by making available full year data. Any such proceedings shall be a big task, especially for individuals,” he said.
Rolled out last October, AIS is a comprehensive view of information relating to transactions and income for a taxpayer. According to tax official, the objective of AIS is to display complete and accurate information to the taxpayer, enable taxpayer feedback and enable seamless e-filing of returns. A simplified Taxpayer Information Summary (TIS) has also been generated for each taxpayer which shows aggregated value for the taxpayer for ease of filing returns.
Mitesh Jain, Partner with Economic Laws Practice says there are many technical issues impeding the process. “In certain cases, the taxpayers are facing difficulty in viewing Form 26AS. The taxpayers are unable to download ITR’s for different FY in PDF format. The portal is not showing option to amend the filed ITR beside JSON utility (a file format used when downloading or importing pre-filled return data into the offline utility) for the AY 2021-22 is still not visible on the portal,” he said.
According to Nath, the assessees who are supposed to file their ITR by July 31, 2022 but failed to file, shall be levied penalty. Jain explained fine up to ₹5,000 may be levied for filing belated return up to December 31, besides interest to be charged at the rate of 1 per cent per month. “Taxpayers would not be eligible to carry forward their losses under any head (except under the head ‘Income from House Property’) in case of filing after due date,” he said.
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