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Govt notifies new income tax return forms

Life to be easier for those with one property and no capital gains, as well as NRIs, expats

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

If you have capital gains or foreign assets or are seeking treaty benefits, you will have to file detailed income-tax returns, though you don't have to give details of foreign travel. The new income tax return forms, notified on Monday for assessment year 2015-16, are, however, much simpler in many respects. These do away with the requirement of mentioning one's dormant bank accounts. However, one's passport number has to be provided. For active accounts, one need not state the balance; IFSC codes will suffice.

Earlier, the I-T department had taken flak for coming out with complicated income tax return forms.

While notifying the forms, the I-T department bifurcated the ITR-2. Earlier, those with capital gains, foreign assets and income, seeking treaty benefits, and with more than one property had to file this form. However, now, those with more than one property have to file ITR-2A, while the others will have to file ITR 2. Those with capital gains have to mention the rate being applied for to arrive at the tax liability, as well as past capital gains, if tax wasn't imposed on those.

Instead of four ITR forms earlier, there are five now
  • ITR 2 divided into two forms
  • Those with capital gains, foreign assets and income and seeking treaty benefits to file ITR 2
  • Those with salaried income and more than one property to file ITR 2A
  • Those with salaried income and one property to file ITR 1, or Sahaj
  • Those with income from business and profession to file ITR 4, or Sugam
  • I-T dept has extended deadline to submit returns by a month to August 31

For those with foreign assets and income, the form requires them to mention the date of opening the account, the name of the owner, the beneficiary owner, the nature of income and the amount taxable.

"ITR 2 still require substantial details," said Tapati Ghose, partner, Deloitte Haskins and Sells. Asked why the income tax return forms required such details of foreign assets and income when the black money Act would come into force from 2016-17, Ghose said the Act didn't mention undisclosed foreign assets that had escaped returns for previous years.

Those with salaried income and one property will file ITR 1. They don't have to state the passport number, required for those filing ITR 2 and 2A.

The new return forms are easy on expatriates and non-resident Indians (NRIs). "An individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on a business, employment or student visa (expatriate), would not mandatorily be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during previous years in which he was non-resident, if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year," the government has said. Earlier, they had to report their foreign assets.

The I-T department had to withdraw its earlier return forms, after these led to criticism from various quarters, as these were complicated and sought various details, for instance of travel and bank accounts. At that time, Finance Minister Jaitley had said the forms were notified when he was in the US, adding these would be withdrawn. As it happens, Jaitley is currently in the US, at a time when the I-T department has come out with new forms, again.

First Published: Wed, June 24 2015. 00:56 IST