The government will soon come out with an “extremely simplified” income-tax return form to replace a 14-page document that had triggered fears of harassment at the hands of officials.
A few weeks ago, howls of protest had greeted the new income-tax form issued by the government. It asked taxpayers for details of foreign trips, bank accounts, passport and Aadhaar numbers.
“I am having the entire matter reviewed and very soon you will hear an extremely simplified procedure coming for us,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha Thursday.
The new form caught most of the country’s 35 million individual taxpayers by surprise, with some terming it a return to the licence raj.
“Recently, a controversy did come up. There is an old income tax form of 12 pages which was made thirteen-and-a-half page. I was out of the country when this was done, I had it stopped,” the minister said.
Experts, too, had questioned the need for information sought from taxpayers that included details of the money spent during foreign visits, and the bank balance as on March 31.
“Routine reporting of consumption transactions is bringing communist style “big brother” into our homes with no privacy law to protect us”, Arvind Virmani, former chief economic adviser, tweeted.
Taxpayers were also asked for the name of the bank, account number/numbers, the address, IFSC code and any possible joint account holder. The Indian Financial System Code is an eleven character code assigned by the RBI to identify every bank branches uniquely.
“It is going back to the old days of the licence raj,” said Rajiv Kohli, joint managing director, Creative Travel. “It is going back to the days when one had to take foreign exchange, the government used to write it in your passport”.
Read: Govt likley to withdraw new I-T forms seeking details of foreign trips
Read: Income tax return filing to get easier, e-filing to go paperless