Hello, I am Tax Toto.
On our birthdays and anniversaries, we reminiscence over the happenings of the year gone by. Well, toward the end of the financial year 2015-16, I am going through a similar feeling. All the changes to the way you save me, calculate me or even note down about me in the income tax-return are running past my mind in a flash.
Would you like to listen to my transition during the past year? Ah a! The changes haven’t been made only under the Union Budget 2015-16, but tweaks have been announced throughout the year. Let us go down the memory lane.
My parents in the Income tax department took giant leaps in the digital arena during the year. Several tasks that hitherto could be undertaken physically now have a simpler existence and can be communicated online.
A simpler of Form 15G and 15H – used to request banks, landlords, vendors or merchants not to deduct tax at source – was introduced. You can now submit the form online, instead of heading to each bank branch and merchant to submit it in person. Don’t forget to collect your Unique Identification Number (UIN).
The aam aadmi was able to spend and save more, thanks to the new limit of Rs 1600 per month permitted under the transportation allowance starting April 2015. Retirement savings got a whole new push by increasing the deduction limit on the New Pension Scheme (NPS) to Rs 1.5 lakh and offering an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD.
Those ailing under the burden of hospitalisation were able to heave a sigh of relief as the limit for health insurance tax exemption was enhanced to Rs 25,000 for individuals and up to Rs 30,000 for senior citizens. More so, very senior citizens (above 80 years) were allowed to claim a deduction of up to Rs 30,000 for amount spent on medical treatment, starting April 1, 2015.
Also, maturity proceeds from Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme were exempted from tax, while recurring deposits and co-operative bank FDs were brought under the tax deduction at source (TDS) net.
When it came to filing tax returns, super senior citizens were given a breather from filing returns online. However, for faster processing of refunds, e-filing was made mandatory for those who needed to claim refunds.
To make tax-filing simpler for a majority of individuals, a new income tax return form ITR 2A has been introduced, for tax payers who have salary income and own more than one house property. Those with exempt long-term capital gains too could use this new return form.
Another major stride was made in the direction of faster return processing by introducing an innovative option to the physical ITR-V form deposit to the Central Processing Centre in Bangalore. Instead of physically sending the verification of return form, one could 10-digit alpha numeric e-verification code (EVC). One could generate it through netbanking, using Aadhar card or even through the bank’s ATM channel. Later additional modes of E-verification were introduced – by pre-validating either the Bank Account details or the Demat Account Details and then generating EVC once pre-validation is successful.
As a result of these e-initiatives, return-processing and refund releases were accelerated. Refunds were processed within 30 days of filing returns. By September first-week, 45.18 lakh returns for assessment year 2015-16 were processed and refunds were issued to 22.14 lakh tax payers.
Where the Income Tax Department traced discrepancies or mistakes in returns, notices and queries were addressed via email and a process was put in place to rectify mistakes online through the portal www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. “The e-face has led to no physical face-to face with the assessment officer and has increased the convenience and reduced the malpractices,” noted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
I am so nostalgic! Aren’t you? Thanks for being with me through the journey of financial year 2015-16. Can’t wait to get a peek into the year ahead, where TDS provisions have been proposed to be rationalised, NPS maturities too would be given a tax breather, advance tax rules have been altered if we go by the provisions of the Finance Bill 2016.
An exciting ride awaits me!