FEELING PUSHED TO THE WALL…?

While the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has fixed the target of adding 1.25 crore fresh tax filers by the end of the 2018-19 financial year that ends in March next year, it is quite encouraging to find that as per the available data about 75 lakh new tax filers have been added to the income tax payers list in the country this fiscal till now. It is a fact that the swelling number of tax payers is in the interest of the nation and its people but at the same time it needs to be ensured that this tax payers’ money is used properly for the welfare of the people especially the commoners whose contribution to the nation’s kitty is quite substantial. Not only this, there is a dire need to make the common tax payer to feel quite comfortable for which the department and its officials need to be assessee-friendly. Moreover, the   procedure for filing of Income Tax returns needs to be not only effective but simple too so that assessees are able to file their IT returns quite easily in one go. Today even e-filing of IT Return is not so easy a task for a common assessee. Successive governments talked a lot about replacing the current Income Tax legislation with a new one but the same has not seen light of the day till date. It is pertinent to mention here that for the past more than three decades the Income Tax assessees across the nation continue craving for the simplified Income Tax Return formats so as to enable every common man to file the return without seeking assistance of a lawyer or a chartered accountant but the fact is that despite promises by various finance ministers the common assessee feels frustrated with the change of formats every year with new columns which the assessees are unable to comprehend. However the greatest irony linked to this issue has been that except for once when one page Saral format was introduced, rest all the times the new return formats rolled out by the Union Finance Ministry have instead of getting simplified got more complicated thus adding further to the woes of the petty Income Tax assessees who get compelled to shell out their hard earned money to tax lawyers, chartered accountants and consultants. Though the taxman has been eyeing and focusing on those earning on the higher scales, yet it gives no reason to him for taking the issues of petty tax payers and assessees lightly. As per the set target, the northwest region of the Tax Department (that has jurisdiction over Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir) has been asked to add the maximum new filers at 11,48,489, followed by Pune region at 11,33,950 and Tamil Nadu region at 10,36,645. The Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions have to get 10,40,218 new filers. Gujarat (9,88,101) and the Karnataka and Goa regions (7,95,626) follow the tally apart from the 12 other I-T regions in the country. While the common tax payers are particular about paying due tax as well as filing their Income Tax returns themselves, it is hoped that the Taxman ensures that such assessees do not feel pushed to the wall as to them it seems that the Finance Ministry is taking greater care of the Lawyers’ and CAs’ incomes rather than the petty assessees’ budget. It is expected that the finance minister takes serious notice of the genuine grievance of the assessees and initiates appropriate measures in this regard.