New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has rejected all the reports that claimed that the e-filing of income tax returns (ITRs) had declined in the Financial Year 19. CBDT substantiated that the ITR e-filing figures of the financial year 2018-19 are ‘not directly comparable’ to that of the financial year 2017-18.

In a statement, the CBDT said that during 2017-18, out of a total of 6.74 crores e-filed ITRs, 5.47 crore were filed for assessment year (AY) 2017-18. In comparison, during the financial year 2018-19, a total of 6.68 crores ITRs were e-filed which included 6.49 crore ITRs of the current assessment year 2018-19, marking an increase of almost 19 per cent.

CBDT added, “This would imply that a substantially larger number of taxpayers filed their ITRs electronically in the financial year 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18.” The Ministry of Finance tweeted that the e-filing of the ITR showed a hike of 19 per cent this year when compared to the previous financial year.

The apex tax body said that nearly 1.21 crore ITRs were filed for AY 2016-17. The balance number of ITRs filed for AY 2015-16 and previous assessment years was 0.06 crore. In comparison, during FY 2018-19, only 0.14 crore ITRs for AY 2017-18 were filed.

“Thus, the apparent decrease in the number of ITRs filed during FY 2018-19 pertaining to earlier years was due to an amendment in Section 139(5) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, brought in vide Finance Act, 2017, from April 1, 2018 which mandated that a revised return could be furnished only up to the end of the relevant assessment year,” the CBDT said.

The CBDT further stated that the number of paper ITRs for AY 2017-18 was only 9.2 lakh (1.5 per cent of total ITRs filed) and the number of paper ITRs for AY 2018-19 was 4.8 lakh (0.6 per cent of total ITRs filed).

(With agency inputs)