The Ministry of Finance has said around 8.18 crore income tax returns (ITRs) have been filed till December 31, 2023, for the AY 2023-2024 against 7.51 crore ITRs filed till December 31 of 2022.

According to the Income Tax Department, it reflected a 9% rise compared to the corresponding period in the previous fiscal year. The audit reports and other forms filed during the period totalled 1.60 crore, marking an increase from the 1.43 crore audit reports and forms filed in the same period of the previous year.

The increased efficiency in tax filing is attributed to the widespread use of the Annual Information Statement (AIS) and Taxpayer Information Summary (TIS), as the taxpayers compared  data of their final transactions by taking a note of their AIS and TIS.

The ministry says, “A substantial portion of the data for all ITRs was prefilled with data pertaining to salary, interest, dividend, personal information, tax payment including TDS related information, brought forward losses, MAT credit, etc to further ease compliance by taxpayers. The facility was used extensively, resulting in smoother and faster filing of ITRs.”

The digital transformation in tax filing has been instrumental in achieving this milestone, as taxpayers embraced technology-driven tools and platforms for smoother and faster filing experiences, it states. In the FY 2023-2024, the income-tax department introduced TIN 2.0, a digital e-pay tax payment platform, fully integrated into the e-filing portal, the ministry said.

“During this F.Y. 2023-2024, a digital e-pay tax payment platform - TIN 2.0 was made fully functional on the e-filing portal, replacing the OLTAS payment system. This enabled user-friendly options for e-payment of taxes such as Internet Banking, NEFT/RTGS, OTC, Debit Card, payment gateway and UPI. TIN 2.0 platform has enabled real time credit of taxes to taxpayers which made ITR filing easier and faster,” it adds.

In an effort to prompt early filing of ITRs and forms, the income tax department conducted more than 103.5 crore outreach activities using targeted emails, SMS, and various creative campaigns, the government states.

The e-filing helpdesk team addressed around 27.37 lakh inquiries from taxpayers throughout the year until December 31, 2023, providing proactive assistance, especially during peak filing periods, it adds.

“Support from the helpdesk was provided to taxpayers through inbound calls, outbound calls, live chats, WebEx and co-browsing sessions. Helpdesk team also supported resolution of queries received on the X(Twitter) handle of the Department through Online Response Management (ORM), by proactively reaching out to the taxpayers,” the FinMin says.

Moreover, the income-tax department urged taxpayers to verify their unverified ITRs, if any, within 30 days of filing to avoid any potential consequences.

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