The government on Thursday extended the deadline for e-filing of all Income Tax returns and audit reports till October 31, 2015.
"The government has decided that across the country, all the returns of income and audit reports u/s 44AB which were due for e-filing by 30 September, 2015, may now be filed by 31 October, 2015," a finance ministry statement said here.
This has been done, the ministry said, "in order to avoid discrimination between taxpayers residing in different jurisdictions and to be fair to all", as date extension has been a matter of litigation in various high courts.
"While some high courts have ruled in favour of the extension of due date, some others have ruled otherwise," the statement said.
The Income Tax department had in June notified a new set of Income Tax return (ITR) forms for assessment year 2015-16, after the government decided to modify the forms following concerns raised over them.
The department through its portal has electronically verified over 32.95 lakh e-returns.
The Income Tax department has received 2.06 crore returns, which is an increase of 26.12 percent over last year on its e-filing portal.
"In the financial year 2015-16, the department has received 2.06 crore returns on the e-filing portal as on September 7, 2015, that is an increase of 26.12 percent over the corresponding period of 2014-15, when 1.63 crore returns were e-filed," the finance ministry said in a statement here last month.
"Central Processing Centre had processed 45.18 lakh returns relating to the assessment year 2015-16 and issued refunds to 22.14 lakh tax payers who had claimed refunds for the assessment year 2015-16," it said.
The peak filing rate touched 3,475 returns per minute as compared to 2,901 returns per minute last year, it added.
The process of electronic filing has also been made simpler over the years.
The ministry had earlier announced that Income Tax returns for assessment year 2015-16 could now be electronically-verified.
"A taxpayer may verify his return through internet banking or through the Aadhaar-based authentication process," it said in a statement.
"Persons using this facility will not be required to submit a signed paper copy of ITR-Verification form (ITR-V) to CPC Bengaluru," it added.
For the convenience of small taxpayers who have a total income of Rs.500,000 or below without any claim of refund, the facility of generating the electronic verification code (EVC) has also been provided on the e-filing website of the department.
It also provides for sending the EVC to the registered email ID and the mobile number to enable the filer to use it to verify the return.
In case a taxpayer is unable to electronically verify the ITR using the EVC for any reason, the signed copy of ITR-V may be sent within the specified time of 120 days to CPC Bengaluru by ordinary or speed post, the statement said.
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