The central government has announced the simplified and thinner income tax return forms, which do away with the need for the unnecessary disclosures on the spending on foreign visits and dormant bank accounts and extended the deadline for filing the papers by a month until August 31.
"Forms ITR 1, 2 and 4S for assessment year 2015-16 were notified on 15th April 2015. In view of various representations, it was announced that these ITR forms will be reviewed. Having considered the responses received from various stakeholders, these forms are proposed to be simplified," the finance ministry said. On bank accounts, only the IFS code along with the account number of all current and savings accounts will be required to be filled up, but account balance need not be declared. "Details of dormant accounts which are not operational during the last three years are not required to be furnished," it added.
Individuals having exempted income without any ceiling, other than agricultural income exceeding Rs. 5,000 can now file Form ITR 1 (Sahaj). Similar simplification is also proposed for individuals / HUF in respect of Form ITR 4S (Sugam).
The government has also simplified the form of an individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on business, employment or student visa, would not be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident, if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year.
For the simplification of filing returns, it is endeavoured to ensure that in Form ITR 2 and the new Form ITR 2A, the main form will have only 3 pages and other information will be captured in the Schedules which will be required to be filled only if applicable. The software for these forms is under preparation and they are likely to be available for e-filing by 3rd week of June 2015.
"Very welcome move. The government has carefully considered the representations made and suitably dealt with the same by coming out with changed and different forms. Expatriates can breathe easy as unnecessary information will not be requested," said Sonu Iyer, human capital leader at consulting firm Ernst & Young.