The number of people filing Income Tax returns has increased 50 per cent to 6.08 crore so far in the assessment year 2018-19 compared to the year-ago period, a top official said on Tuesday.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra also exuded confidence that the Revenue Department would achieve direct tax collection target of Rs 11.5 lakh crore for the current financial year ending March 31, 2019.
“Demonetisation has been very good for increasing the tax base of the country. So far this year (assessment year 2018-19), we have already got around 6.08 crore returns which is 50 per cent higher than last year by this particular date.
“So this is the effect of demonetisation,” he said.
However, he did not mention the exact date when the filings touched 6.08 crore.
In November 2016, the government cancelled old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as legal tenders as part of larger efforts to curb illicit fund flows.
“Our gross direct tax growth rate is 16.5 per cent and net direct tax growth rate is 14.5 per cent, which itself shows that demonetisation really helped in widening and deepening of tax base. As on date, total direct tax mop up stood at 48 per cent of the Budget estimate (BE),” the CBDT chief said.
He also said the number corporate tax payers have gone up to 8 lakh as a result of demonetisation.
Speaking at an event organised by industry body CII, Chandra said the CBDT has so far given 2.27 crore refunds during the 2018-19 assessment year, which is 50 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.
In the last four years, India’s tax base has gone up by 80 per cent, he added.
Noting that the government was committed to reduce corporate tax rate, he said, “our tax compliance should be good so that the government is in a position to reduce the (corporate) tax rate”.
The CBDT, the apex policy making body for direct taxes, plans to provide e-PAN (Permanent Account Number) within four hours of receiving an application.
“We are putting a new system in place. After a year or so, we will be giving PAN in four hours. You will have to give Aadhaar identity and you will get e-PAN in 4 hours,” Chandra said.
According to him, so far this year more than 70,000 cases have been done online without calling assessees to tax offices.
The CBDT has also sent out two crore SMS to people who had not filed returns or those whose income did not match with their filings.
India has entered 245 advance pricing agreement (APAs), and more than 500 tax matters have been solved under the mutual agreement procedure (MAP). Besides, as many as 70 countries are sharing information with India under Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI) framework, he said.
Regarding Permanent Establishment (PE) rules, Chandra said that in his opinion they are sustainable in the era of digital economy.
So, from where the revenues are being generated, businesses would have to be taxed accordingly. These issues would have to be discussed in detail, he added.
Replying to a question on seizure Rs 25 crore cash from vaults in Chandni Chowk area in the national capital, Chandra said the department was trying to find out whether the money was deposited in the vaults after proper Know Your Customer (KYC) scrutiny.
On Monday, the Income Tax Department seized over Rs 25 crore cash after surveying a 300-safes strong private vault in the Chandni Chowk area.