31 May, 2015 6:18p.m.

New simplified IT forms notified. Last date for filing extended till Aug 31

The finance ministry on Sunday came out with a new three-page income tax return (ITR) forms, in a corrective measure after facing strong criticism from public. The new forms no longer require mandatory disclosure of foreign trips and dormant bank accounts as mandated by the previous form. The new form can be submitted till August 31 this year instead of the regular July 31 deadline.

The new forms will be up on websites for e-filing from the third week of June since the government is yet to update the software with new proposed changes.

Accoring to a finance ministry statement, the new forms — ITR 2 and ITR 2A — will have only three pages and other details will have to be filled in schedules, as per each individuals criterion and income.

The revenue department has also proposed to come out with a new ITR 2A form, which can be filed by an individual or HUF, who does not have capital gains, income from business/ profession or foreign asset/foreign income. This according to the government will cover a maximum number of tax payers.

On the major sticky issues like details and source of income of foreign trips and bank accounts, the government eased the disclosures sought earlier and said: "It is now proposed that only passport number, if available, would be required to be given in forms ITR-2 and ITR-2A. Details of foreign trips or expenditure thereon are not required to be furnished."

For information related to bank accounts the ministry has decided to ask information of only those dormant accounts which were operational during the last three years, from the filing year.

"As regards bank account details in all these forms, only the IFS code, account number of all the current/savings account which are held at any time during the previous year will be required to be filled-up. The balance in accounts will not be required to be furnished," the statement added.

Further clarifying for non Indian citizen individuals, the income tax department said that it is not mandatory for them to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident and if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year.

"Individuals having exempt 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 statement added.

Following the controversy over the ITR forms for assessment year 2015-16, which sought details of bank accounts and foreign visits, the revenue department had put them on hold.

The ITR forms, which was notified last month by the CBDT for the current assessment year, had specific columns for banks accounts, IFSC Code, names of joint account holders and foreign visits, including the ones paid by companies.

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