‘No discrepancy in data on returns filed’

The Income Tax Department on Friday clarified that there was no discrepancy between the different numbers of post-demonetisation returns filed as cited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Economic Survey, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the Finance Ministry, saying the difference arose due to different time periods and categories of tax filers under consideration.

The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech, had said that an additional 56 lakh people had filed personal income tax returns from April 1 to August 5, 2017.

The Volume 2 of the Economic Survey released on August 12 said that 5.4 lakh new taxpayers were added post demonetisation.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on May 17 said that 91 lakh taxpayers had been added to the tax net as a result of actions taken by the Income Tax Department, while the Ministry of Finance informed Parliament 33 lakh new taxpayers had been added to the tax net as of August 1. “It is clarified that there is no inconsistency in the data provided by the Government in the statements referred to… as these are in different contexts and for different time periods,” the statement said.

“The Prime Minister’s speech referred to the increase in number of e-filed Personal Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed from April 1, 2017 to August 5, 2017 over the ITRs filed in corresponding period of earlier years,” the statement said.

“The data maintained by the I-T Department shows that during April 1, 2017 to August 5, 2017, 2.79 crore e-returns of individual taxpayers were received as against 2.23 crore e-returns received during 1st April, 2016 to 5th August, 2016. Thus, the additional ITRs received in 2017 works out to be 56 lakh.”

‘Not comparable’

The data provided in the Economic Survey was for the period between November 9, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

“Moreover, the growth in the number of taxpayers discussed in the Economic Survey is based on the number of new taxpayers assuming the previous year’s growth rate as the reference growth rate.

“On the other hand, the growth of individual return-filers referred to in PM’s speech is with respect to new as well as old taxpayers. Thus, the data used in Economic Survey is different from data referred to in PM’s speech in respect of the period of filing as well as the type of taxpayers and the two are not comparable,” the statement added.

The Department’s clarification added that the Finance Minister’s number of 91 lakh taxpayers referred to the total number of new returns filed during the entire financial year 2016-17 and therefore was neither comparable with the data in the Prime Minister’s speech nor with the data in Economic Survey.

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