By Prarthana Mitra
With over 6 crore Income Tax (IT) returns filed for the financial year 2017-2018, tax compliance in the country had increased by 61% one day before the deadline reported The Times of India. Last year, about 3.1 crore filings had been registered till August 29, 2017.
How significant is the surge?
The deadline was extended by a month from July 31 to August 31. On August 30, over 20 lakh returns were filed. With almost 2 lakh returns filed every hour, the number increased as the last hour drew nearer, as individual income-holders and corporations scrambled to file their IT returns before it was late. As per the official website of the Income Tax department, a total of 6,74,74,904 returns have been filed so far on the last day.
What did it take?
The marked increase in the number and rigour in filing tax returns this year may be due to the centre’s strict warning to impose a penalty on late filers, besides improved initiatives aiming at better persuasion and improved tax literacy.
IT officials have also attributed this boost to Modi government’s demonetisation drive and the new GST tax which may have impressed upon Indian businessmen the importance and gains of filing their IT returns. It has also purportedly inspired them to disclose higher or alternative sources of incomes due to GST’s tracking mechanism.
This offers some relief to the government affronted with RBI’s recent report claiming that curbing black money with demonetisation has not worked. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been quick to seize the opportunity, crediting the expanding taxpayers’ base to demonetisation.
The larger purpose of demonetisation was to move India from a tax non-compliant society to a compliant one, and invalidation of non-deposited currency was not its only objective, Jaitley was reported as saying, as soon as the ITR files registered a 40% surge on August 29.
Extension for Kerala
The deadline for flood-struck Kerala has been extended to September 15 to give the victims some time to gather their lives after the worst is over.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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