The efforts of the Income Tax (IT) Department had started bearing fruit and nearly 10,000 assesses had lined up to file their returns in recent weeks, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Thursday even as notice “in polite language” was issued to 35,000 defaulters.

Mr. Chidambaram told reporters that the department was ready to offer penalty waiver as was done in numerous cases in the past if the assessees chose to clear their dues. He added that 10,000 assesses had filed returns clearing their dues. The total number of people issued notice has touched 1.05 lakh.

Mr. Chidambaram said the department would take a lenient view of assessees volunteering to file returns and clear their dues and interest. “To those who have not filed their IT returns so far, either for the current year or for previous years, I have one simple message — it behoves you to file returns, to pay advance tax by tomorrow [Friday],” he remarked. The last date for paying the final instalment of advance tax is March 15 for corporates and individuals.

Mr. Chidambaram said the steps taken by the department to check evasion were reaping the results as 10,000 assessees, of the 70,000 to whom notice had been sent, had disclosed their income and filed taxes on receiving the letter.

The Minister disclosed that 13.5 lakh returns have been filed between February 10 and March 10, an increase of over 15 per cent over 10.81 lakh returns filed during the similar period last year. Till March 10, as many as 1.77 crore returns had been filed representing an increase of 35 per cent. As on March 10, a total of 1.35 crore returns had been e-filed.

“I am inferring that our approach is paying dividend. I am happy with the change of attitude and I hope many thousands more will voluntarily file their returns and pay the tax dues, especially the Advance Tax tomorrow [Friday],” he added.

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