With a view to cast the tax net wider and get more people to file income-taxes, the government added four new criteria that makes it mandatory for individuals to file income-taxes.
Presently, according to Income-tax Rules, 1962, it is compulsory to file your income tax returns (ITR) if your income is more than the basic exemption limit.
Besides this, there are various other conditions which also makes it mandatory to file ITR. But from time to time, the government has kept on amending this list and have added more conditions. For instance, in 2019, the government had mandated that filing of income-tax returns if you deposit Rs 1 crore or more in a current account, spend more than Rs 2 lakh for foreign travel or pay electricity bills in excess of Rs 1 lakh in a year. The new rules had clarified that even if your income is less than the basic exemption limit, you still got to file your income-tax returns if you meet any of these criteria.
These criteria have now got enhanced.
Adding more to this list of conditions, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a notification dated 21 April, 2022 adding four new conditions, which makes it mandatory to file ITR. New condition notified by CBDT comes into effect from 21 April, 2022. “The applicability of this notification comes with immediate effect since the time it is published in the official gazette. It means that if the conditions mentioned in the notification published are met then the assessee is required to file the income tax return with complete disclosures under section 139 of Income Tax Act for the financial year 2021-22 or assessment year 2022-23,” said Deepak Jain, chief executive, TaxManager.in. Let’s look at these four new rules.
If you are running a business and your total sales, turnover or gross receipts, in the business exceeds Rs 60 lakh during the financial year, you need to file the return.
This is irrespective of whether there is a loss or profit in your business.
If you are a professional and your total gross receipts in profession exceeds Rs 10 lakh during the previous year; you are mandatorily required to file ITR. “Income from profession is recognised as the gross receipts earned by the professionals coming under the certain professional activities as per the IT Rules like architectural, engineering, legal, IT Professional, Accountancy, Interior Decorator, Medical, CS, Film Artists and Technical Consultancy – provided they are provided the said services in free-lance capacity,” said Jain.
Tax deducted at source
In order to collect tax at source, TDS is levied on incomes earned from salaries, contractual fee, commissions, dividends, services charges, sale, rent and purchase of immovable property, interest income and almost all sources. The rate of TDS varies based on the source of your income and it ranges between 1% to 30%.
Government has now made it mandatory for the income tax assessee to file income ITR if the aggregate amount of TDS or tax collected at source during the financial year, exceeds Rs 25,000. However, this limit is Rs 50,000 in case assessee is a senior citizen (above age of 60 years).
Deposit in saving bank accounts
If you make deposits aggregating more than Rs 50 lakh in one or more savings bank accounts in a financial year, you are required to mandatorily file your returns.
All of these above conditions are standalone and makes it mandatory for an assessee to file income tax return if any of the conditions are met. “This mandate is applicable on all persons other than companies or firms, irrespective of the fact whether their total income is not crossing the threshold of amount chargeable to tax,” said Shashi Mathews, Partner, IndusLaw.
Not just your income; but your spends attract taxes too
The general objective behind such rules is to bring in more people under the income tax net. “As per statistics available in the public domain, only 6-7% of the adult population in India file their income tax returns. Successive governments have taken numerous steps to increase this percentage,” said Mathews.
Aakanksha Goel, Direct Tax Partner, T R Chadha & Co LLP echoes the thought and believes that the government's aim is to capture all the assessees incurring high value transactions but not filing income tax returns since taxable income is less than the basic exemption limit. “The number of income tax returns filed in the country can definitely be expected to increase and it’s a step towards better transparency in the system by bringing more citizens under surveillance,” says Goel.
Whether it is mandatory to file a return or not, once should file a return because of the added advantage and necessities. For instance, you may need to furnish ITR for the last few years if you want to avail loans, visa, insurance policy and so on.