Income Tax Filings For 2018-19 Increase By 4%; Record Rs 5.65 Crore Returns Filed Till August 31
In a development that suggests that more people are now part of the tax net, record 5.65 crore income tax returns were filed up to Saturday, August 31, which was the extended deadline for the annual filing. However, in the aftermath of demonetisation, the surge in filing of returns is seemingly petering out.
According the data released by the Income Tax department on August 31, for the financial year 2018-19, there was a 4 per cent increase in I-T returns filings. As compared to August 31, 2018, which was filed 5.4 crore returns were filed up to.
Tax Officials Cheer On Achievement
There was a 71 per cent surge last year due to the impact of demonetisation as cash deposits resulted in income disclosure. Many individuals also filed within the deadline as the government decided last year to levy a fee on delayed returns.
Arguing that it came on a high base, tax officials are cheering the increase achieved so far. They are hopeful that in the coming years, it will expand further as the full impact of GST kicks in.
They are also taking credit for the filing process being glitch-free this year. The technology system showed no signs of slowing down even with 25 per cent of the returns being filed during the last five days. More than 49 lakh returns were filed on Saturday, August 30. While the peak filing rate per second was at 196 ITRs on August 30, the peak filing rate per minute was at 7,447.
“The information security team thwarted over 2,205 malicious attacks on the website aimed at disrupting services in the peak period,” The Times Of India quoted an official statement as saying.
Also, this was the first year when pre-filled forms were tried out for a large number of taxpayers. The department is looking at ways to expand the coverage next year, believing that the experiment was successful.
Tax authorities over the last few years have focused on faster refunds. The process should be speeding up with more people opting for electronic verification. So far, 3.6 crore returns, which is nearly two-thirds, have already been verified. Mostly using Aadhaar-based one-time-password, almost 80 per cent or 2.86 crore out of these have opted for e-verification.
“The I-T department intends to carry out campaigns to increase awareness about e-verification of ITRs where verification is still pending,” the statement said.