It seems that the government's effort to bring in more people under the tax regime are paying off.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Minister of State (Finance), Santosh Kumar Gangwar said as of February 28, 4.21 crore people or entities have filed income tax returns for the financial year 2016-17, a 21 per cent increase over the number of returns filed during the corresponding period of the last financial year.
The total amount of refunds issued so far in the current fiscal stands at Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The government accords high priority to expeditious issue of refunds, particularly to small taxpayers.
For the current financial year, 98 per cent of refunds amounting to less than Rs 50,000 have been issued, as of as February 10. A majority of the remaining cases relate to recently filed tax returns or where the taxpayers' response to the department is awaited.
The law mandates that income tax returns get processed within a period of a year from the end of the financial year in which the return is made. Efforts have been made to shorten the time frame through greater thrust on automation, making the process for e-filing easier, and proactive monitoring.
During the current fiscal, 90 per cent of the refunds have been issued within 60 days and 67 per cent within 30 days of filing of return.