India Inc raps ‘foreign travel’, ‘bank A/C data’ slots in ITR
Pitching for simpler income tax returns, business leaders on Friday asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ensure that details about all foreign travels and bank accounts should not be made mandatory in these forms. After putting on hold the new 14-page ITR, which had drawn flak from various quarters, Jaitley on Friday met representatives of industry leading chambers CII, FICCI and Assocham to elicit their views on this issue.
The industry representatives said after the meeting that Jaitley assured them to look into simplifying the ITR and at making the forms smaller and the process of filing returns quicker. Among other issues, they also raised concern about the requirement of providing details of all foreign trips, including company-paid ones, as also the mandatory reporting of every bank account could make the return-filing process cumbersome.
They also voiced their concern over reporting of all fixed deposits unnecessary, as tax on interest was as such deducted by banks and PAN was already mandatory for FDs, sources said. Jaitley told them that the intention behind the new form was to check black money and not to put the salaried class through any inconvenience, sources said. The Minister is also believed to have sought views of the industry on steps required to check the black money menace.
The industry representatives opined that the requirement for reporting expenses incurred on all foreign trips was difficult, as collecting information on company-paid business trips was cumbersome. They said that the requirement should either be withdrawn or at least be limited to personal foreign travels.
They also wanted only specific information to be sought in the ITRs, rather than 'lengthy, ambiguous and detailed information on bank accounts'. While the industry also wanted the persons undertaking one or two foreign travels to be exempted from mandatory reporting, Jaitley was of the view that such persons might not be returning the excess foreign exchange after their return, sources said.
On the requirement of reporting foreign assets and income from any source outside India, the industry represented that it might prove to be difficult for expats or foreigners working in India, with dependent spouses.