No need to file tax returns for income up to Rs 5 lakh, still required to file for refund cases

Taxpayers with annual income of up to Rs. 5 lakh will not be required to file returns, a move that will provide relief to around 70 to 80 lakh people.

“Assessees with income up to Rs. 5 lakh will be exempted from filing returns. The provision (regarding not filing of returns) will be notified in the first week of June…”, CBDT chairman Sudhir Chandra said.
He said the new rule will apply from the current assessment year (2011-12) for the income earned in 2010-11.
However, people in this category (income up to Rs. 5 lakh) will have to file return if they seek refund, he added.

The revenue department, meanwhile, has notified simpler income tax return forms ‘Sahaj’ and ‘Sugam’ aimed at reducing compliance burden on salaried persons and small businessmen.

Chandra said, “(These) are major steps towards simplification of income tax return filing”. He also said efforts were being made to facilitate electronic filing through Sahaj and Sugam I-T return forms. The new return forms are in line with the government’s effort to make filing of returns simpler and user-friendly.

While Sahaj is for salaried people, Sugam return form is applicable for small businessmen and professionals covered under presumptive taxation.

Under India’s presumptive taxation, a person carrying on business will not be required to get his accounts audited if the annual total sales, turnover or gross receipts are less than Rs. 60 lakh.

The limit was increased by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the 2010-11 Budget from Rs. 40 lakh. The presumptive tax limit in case of professionals was increased to Rs. 15 lakh from Rs. 10 lakh.

Chandra also said senior citizens (60 years and above) filing returns for incomes from pension, dividend, interest incomes and property will not be subjected to scrutiny.

“Such cases (of senior citizens) will not be picked up for scrutiny and the government will trust senior citizens,” he said. The Government has reduced the age for the senior citizen category from 65 years to 60 years.

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