If you are earning an annual salary of Rs 15 lakh and above, chances are that you may need to get a mandatory authentication certificate from chartered accountants (CAs) while filing your income-tax returns (ITRs) from next year.
In an attempt to tackle tax evasion and streamline revenue collections, the government is contemplating an enhancement in the role of CAs from the next fiscal year in the budget to be presented next week.
The objective of the proposal currently under consideration is to bring more transparency to the filing of tax returns by assesses or taxpayers in high salary brackets, in terms of declaring savings, earnings from investments and sale of properties, and claiming exemptions under the I-T Act.
“At present, an assessing officer accepts an ITR (income tax return) at face value, which is common with more than 90% of the total returns,” said a government source. “If this initiative gets applicable, it’ll provide some comfort to the assessing officer and will likely reduce chances of evasion of income, which may be due to errors, omissions or ignorance on the part of taxpayers.”
At present, it is not binding on salaried citizens to get an income tax return filed through a CA or get one’s return statement certified. One can either file it herself or get it done through a non-CA tax consultant or a Tax Return Preparer.
The I-T department has observed that a large number of returns filed by taxpayers are incomplete either due to a lack of required information or non-reporting of earnings from various sources. Misreporting or under-reporting, and the after effects of a scrutiny by the tax department in such cases has caused problem both for taxpayers and officers.
“With this measure, the errors in ITR filing will get reduced and compliances will substantially improve both for the taxmen and taxpayers. It will streamline the system as the finance minister had said,” said Abhishek Aneja, a Delhi-based CA.