Readers will recall our update of 17 April 2015 concerning the declaration of all foreign trips on the income tax returns. However, in a significant statement made by the Income Tax authorities today, it was announced that the forms had now been modified, and tax payers would now have to furnish only their passport details on a recently revised ITR form that has been introduced. Only Passport Number, if available, would be required to be given in forms ITR-2 and ITR-2A. Details of Foreign Trips or Expenditure thereon are not required to be furnished.
A press release issued by the ministry today stated that a New Form ITR 2A has been proposed which can be Filed by an Individual or HUF who does not have Capital Gains, Income from Business/Profession or Foreign Asset/Foreign Income; In Form ITR 2 and the New Form ITR 2A, the main form will not contain more than 3 Pages, and Other Information will be Captured in the Schedules which will be required to be filled only if applicable.
In view of various representations, it had been announced earlier that these ITR forms would be reviewed. Having considered the responses received from various stakeholders, these forms are proposed to be simplified in the following manner for the convenience of the taxpayers:
- Individuals having exempt income without any ceiling (other than agricultural income exceeding Rs. 5,000) can now file Form ITR 1 (Sahaj). Similar simplification is also proposed for individuals/HUF in respect of Form ITR 4S (Sugam).
- At present individuals/HUFs having income from more than one house property and capital gains are required to file Form ITR-2. It is, however, noticed that majority of individuals/HUFs who file Form ITR-2 do not have capital gains. With a view to provide for a simplified form for these individuals/HUFs, a new Form ITR 2A is proposed which can be filed by an individual or HUF who does not have capital gains, income from business/profession or foreign asset/foreign income.
- In lieu of foreign travel details, it is now proposed that only Passport Number, if available, would be required to be given in Forms ITR-2 and ITR-2A. Details of foreign trips or expenditure thereon are not required to be furnished.
- As regards bank account details in all these forms, only the IFS code, account number of all the current/savings account which are held at any time during the previous year will be required to be filled-up. The balance in accounts will not be required to be furnished. Details of dormant accounts which are not operational during the last three years are not required to be furnished.
- An individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on a business, employment or student visa (expatriate), would not mandatorily be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year.
- As a measure of simplification, it has been endeavored to ensure that in Form ITR 2 and the new Form ITR 2A, the main form will not contain more than 3 pages, and other information will be captured in the Schedules which will be required to be filled only if applicable.
As the software for these forms is under preparation, they are likely to be available for e-filing by 3rd week of June 2015. Accordingly, the time limit for filing these returns is also proposed to be extended up to 31st August, 2015 (31.08.2015). A separate notification will be issued in this regard.