New Form 26AS to enable faceless hand-holding of taxpayers, make ITR filing easy

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Published: July 21, 2020 1:14 PM

Filing ITR will now become easy as the new Form 26AS will contain almost all the information needed to file the return of income and would act as a ready reckoner.

income tax, income tax return, ITR, ITR filing, TDS, TCS, faceless hand-holding, taxable income, Form 26AS, tax accountability, tax compliance, Statement of Financial Transactions, SFTsThe improved Form 26AS would help taxpayers to complete the filing quickly and correctly by faceless hand-holding.

If you find it difficult to file your Income Tax Return (ITR), there is good news for you. Filing ITR will now become easy as the new Form 26AS will contain almost all the information needed to file the return of income and would act as a ready reckoner.

From this Assessment Year (AY), the improved Form 26AS will include in the Statement of Financial Transactions (SFTs) in various categories additional details on taxpayers’ financial transactions as specified, which would help taxpayers to complete the filing quickly and correctly by faceless hand-holding.

Unlike providing information regarding tax deducted at source (TDS), tax collected at source (TCS) and certain additional information like details of other taxes paid, refunds and TDS defaults earlier, the new and improved Form 26AS will have SFTs to help the taxpayers recall all their major financial transactions.

The inclusion of information – provided by the filers of specified SFTs – in Part E of Form 26AS would not only empower the Income Tax (I-T) Department in facilitating voluntary compliance and tax accountability, but would also bring in further transparency and accountability in the tax administration.

Under Section 285BA of Income-tax Act, 1961, the I-T Department used to receive information like sale/purchase of immovable property, cash deposit/withdrawal from saving bank accounts, time deposits, purchase of shares, debentures, foreign currency, mutual funds, buyback of shares, credit card payments, cash payment for goods and services, etc with regard to individuals having high-value financial transactions since the Financial Year 2016 onwards from “specified persons” like banks, mutual funds, institutions issuing bonds and registrars or sub-registrars etc.

Now, all such information under different SFTs, will be shown in the new Form 26AS, which, apart from ensuring accountability, would also ease the process of e-filing of returns as such ready-to-use data would help in calculating the correct tax liability in a feel-good environment.

From now onwards, part E of Form 26AS will display fields like type of transaction, name of SFT filer, date of transaction, number of parties, single/joint party transaction, amount, mode of payment and remarks etc, which would help the honest taxpayers in filing their return of income with updated financial transactions, while it will desist those taxpayers who inadvertently conceal financial transactions in their returns.

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