New Delhi, February 1, 2017

In the Budget for 2017-18, the government has sought to lower the tax burden on small tax payers with income in the lowest slab of Rs 2.5-5 lakh by halving their tax rate to 5 per cent.

Making it easier for small tax payers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said there will be no scrutiny of assessees filing income tax returns for the first time.

Individuals having taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh can just fill up a simple one-page form for filing their tax returns.

“When too many people evade taxes the burden of their share falls on those who are honest and compliant. We are now tightening our noose around tax evaders and that money is coming to exchequer, so we are trying to reward the honest tax payers,” Jaitley said at the post budget press conference.

In the Budget for 2017-18, the government has sought to lower the tax burden on small tax payers with income in the lowest slab of Rs 2.5-5 lakh by halving their tax rate to 5 per cent.

“The other aim was also that small taxpayers should get benefits and their purchasing power is increased. Those who are outside the tax net, we have incentivised that section and made it attractive for them to come under tax net by paying 5 per cent tax up to Rs 5 lakh income, filing one page ITR and no scrutiny,” he said.

To ease the compliance burden on small traders, Jaitley also proposed to increase the threshold limit for audit of business entities who opt for presumptive income tax scheme from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore.

Similarly, the threshold limit for maintenance of books for individuals and HUFs is being increased from turnover of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh or income from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.

However, the budget has proposed a fee for delayed filing of income tax return. A fee of Rs 5,000 shall be payable, if the return is furnished after the due date but on or before the December 31 of the assessment year. A fee of Rs 10,000 shall be payable in any other case.

However, in a case where the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the Budget proposed that the fee amount shall not exceed Rs 1,000.

“In view of the non-intrusive information-driven approach for improving tax compliance and effective utilization of information in tax administration, it is important that the returns are filed within the due dates,” Jaitley said.

[The Financial Express]