Jaitley promises simplified I-T return form

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has promised a "far more simplified" income tax return form in place of the controversial new income tax return forms, which had been put on hold. The finance minister did not elaborate.

The finance minister kept the suspense on if the requirement of disclosing all bank accounts and foreign travels will be retained.

He said after having public consultations, he has asked the income tax department to come up with the simplest form, which is available.

"They (CBDT) are coming out with a proposal. Now that I am free from Parliament, they will put [it] up before me," PTI quoted him as saying in an interview.

Asked whether the queries on foreign travel and bank accounts, considered by many as intrusive, would be dropped in the revised form, the minister said: ''You wait, but I can only tell you it will be far more simplified''.
The simplified I-T return form is being brought after the earlier version was opposed by industry, members of Parliament and assessees for its cumbersome disclosure norms.

''I am in favour of the easing. This was twelve or twelve and a half page form, which has existed. Three or four more questions were added... So it became thirteen and a half pages. I was in Washington when I came to know of this.
I immediately called up and said stop it, because to me whether it was twelve and a half or thirteen and a half, both seem a little excessive,'' Jaitley said.

The salaried individuals and those persons who do not have business/professional income are required to file income-tax returns in either ITR-1 or ITR-2 by 31 July.

Following the controversy over the new ITR forms, which sought details of bank accounts and foreign visits, the revenue department announced putting 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 the companies.