The number of income tax returns filed for the fiscal year 2017-18 has increased by about 26% compared to that of the previous year. According to the data released by the government, the number of IT returns for the fiscal year 2017-18 stood at 6.84 crore as against 5.43 crore in the previous year. With the higher number of income tax returns, the government was able to meet its direct tax collection target for the fiscal year.
For the recently concluded fiscal year, the number of income tax filers increased by 99.48 lakh compared to the 85.52 lakh added in the previous year. With this significant rise, the net direct tax collection for this fiscal year has increased to Rs.9.95 lakh crore, which is 17.1% more than the net direct tax collection of 2016-17. The budget estimate for direct tax collection for this fiscal year was Rs.9.8 lakh crore.
Though the direct tax collection exceeded the budget estimate, it marginally fell short of the revised estimate of Rs.10.05 lakh crore as presented by the finance minister in the Union Budget 2018. Gross net direct collection before the issue of tax refunds stood at Rs.11.44 lakh crore. The government has issued IT refunds worth Rs.1.49 lakh crore for the fiscal year 2017-18.
According to a statement released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the number of IT returns filed has increased consistently for the last four financial years. The total number of IT returns filed in 2013-14 stood at 3.79 crore.
The statement also attributed the significant increase in filing of IT returns to the efforts taken by the Income Tax Department in the country. The IT Department kept following up with taxpayers through text messages, emails, outreach programs, statutory notices, etc. Moreover, the structural changes made in the law helped the government widen the tax bracket in the country.