The Income Tax Department on Sunday notified two income-tax returns for assessment year 2020-21 three months in advance, bringing more individuals into the mandatory return filing net.
The department notified ITR 1-Sahaj and ITR 4-Sugam in January against the usual practice of notifying returns in April, with disclosure requirements related to cash deposits, spending on foreign travel, and electricity.
ITR 1-Sahaj is for individuals having an annual income of up to Rs 5 million from salaries, a house, interest income, family pension income, etc. The form will require passport details.
ITR 4-Sugam is for individuals who have an annual income of up to Rs 5 million, but have a house, deposited more than Rs 1 crore in a bank account or incurred Rs 200,000 on foreign travel or Rs 100,000 on electricity, said Naveen Wadhwa, deputy general manager, Taxmann.
This form will also be applicable to Hindu undivided families (HUFs) and firms (other than limited liability partnerships) having an annual income of up to Rs 5 million, a house (single ownership), having an income from a business and profession computed under a presumptive basis, among other things.
Wadhwa said an individual taxpayer could not file returns either in ITR-1 or ITR-4 if he was a joint-owner of a house.
The income earned during 2019-20 is assessed in 2020-21.
The notification of the returns followed Budget announcements making income-tax return filing mandatory for certain persons even if their income was below the taxable limit. These include people depositing Rs 1 crore and above in current accounts, spending at least Rs 200,000 on foreign travel, incurring electricity bills of Rs 100,000 or more, etc.
Earlier, an individual was required to file a tax return only if his income exceeded the minimum threshold.
With the Budget announcement, people who can spend large amounts will not be able to escape paying taxes or filing returns. “Usually, the Income Tax Department notifies the ITR forms in the first week of April of the relevant assessment year. However, in contrast to the old practice the department has notified two ITR forms — ITR-1 and ITR-4 — for the assessment year 2020-21 in the first week of January,” said Wadhwa.
Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, ClearTax, said forms had been released well in time and hopefully scheme will be out soon.
“Other important forms should also be released. Usually this exercise takes place in April or sometimes even May. Release of forms early on will help taxpayers comply on time,” he said.