The government has decided to introduce a new income-tax return form for individuals from the current assessment year, 2007-08, replacing the existing ‘Saral’ and the controversial 2F form.
Applicable for individuals having salary income and interest income, the new form -- ITR-1 -- will be notified on May 14. It does not seek details of expenditure during the year from individual tax assessees through a cash-flow statement -- unlike Form 2F which was introduced last year, triggering howls of protest.
"When we proposed some draft forms earlier, there were some concerns about the column of cash-flow statement," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday. "We have taken a fresh look at that. We have decided to withdraw the column of cash-flow statement. This is in response to information received from the public and the Standing Committee on Finance."
There are two versions of the new form for salaried individuals — a back-to-back two-page form and another with three pages. Income-tax officials said there was no difference between the two forms, except for the design.
The Finance Ministry will notify one of the forms after consulting the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
In the new form, assesses will not be required to file any annex, including Form 16 issued by the employer, which had become an integral part of filing tax returns. They will, however, have to furnish information on high-value transactions undertaken during the financial year for which banks and financial institutions file annual information returns (AIRs).
Banks, financial institutions and corporate entities are required to file AIRs under seven categories of transactions made by individuals based on specific threshold limits.
These include: cash deposits of over Rs 10 lakh in savings accounts, credit-card payments of over Rs 2 lakh, purchase of mutual funds worth Rs 2 lakh, purchase of company bonds and debentures worth over Rs 2 lakh, purchase of shares of company worth over Rs 1 lakh, purchase of property worth over Rs 30 lakh and purchase of RBI bonds by an individual worth over Rs 5 lakh in the financial year. "These transactions are reported in AIRs in any case," said Chidamabaram.