On Monday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed that the Centre has issued approximately 1 lakh notices for non-filing returns and under-reported and misrepresented income cases.
During the 164th Income Tax Day celebrations, the Finance Minister mentioned that these cases pertain to older returns filed 4 to 6 years ago. She stated that these notices were specifically sent in cases where the income was around Rs 50 lakh and above, and she expects all of them to be resolved by the end of this fiscal year.
Sitharaman explained that the 1 lakh notices were sent in situations where there was information indicating that the reported income was higher than what had been filed, where there were reasons to suspect that the income had been understated, or in cases where taxpayers had not filed their returns despite the presence of information suggesting that they should have done so.
Sitharaman added that she wanted to emphasise that these notices were sent after careful consideration. She further stated that the Chairman of the CBDT has assured that the entire block of notices would be cleared by March 2024.
As per the income tax law, officers have the authority to reopen past assessments for a period of up to 6 years. The minister also mentioned that in May 2023, the CBDT completed a scrutiny assessment of the 55,000 notices they sent following a Supreme Court Judgment.
She further stated that the board is actively addressing the issued notices and ensuring that it does not allow any attempts to manipulate or exploit the system. The approach is clear-cut and focused on maintaining integrity and fairness.
She went on to mention that in the past, taxpayers were required to maintain records for a period of 10 years. However, the tax assessment process now limits the reopening of assessments to a maximum of 6 years. Specifically, tax officers may reopen assessments in the 4th, 5th, and 6th years only under specific circumstances.
During the same session, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson, Nitin Gupta, shared that for the fiscal year 2022-23, over 4 crore Income Tax Returns (ITR) have been filed up to now. He also mentioned that the government has already processed over half of these ITRs, leading to refunds amounting to Rs 80 lakh.
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