If you had a dime for every time the world changed, you’d soon be belching dollars. And the world changes like nobody’s business. Earthquakes happen. Continents shift. And tax rules change.
Specifically, the rules for filing the Income Tax Returns (ITR) have changed. So what’s changed? Here’s a lowdown.
Broadcast your foreign jaunts: This time when you sit down to fill the ITR form, make sure your passport is handy. As per the new norms, both residents and Non-Resident Indians need to record details of passport such as number and issuance place in their ITR form.
Moreover, if you have travelled to foreign countries during the last financial year, then information of countries visited, frequency of the travel, mode of travel and expenses should also be furnished.
Now you can give up trying to keep your getaway to Pattaya or Venice under wraps.
Bare your assets: It is time for your secret bank account to come out of the closet. And, with it, all the skeletons. Okay, just ribbing you with that last one!
The details of bank accounts held by an individual at any point of time in the year should be disclosed, otherwise the taxman may ring you. All your personal data such as name of the bank, account numbers, balance as on March 31, the names of joint account holders and IFSC code should be mentioned in the form. Details of accounts that have been closed during the period should also be mentioned.
Talk about getting up close and personal!
Flaunt that property you have overseas: Currently, though your foreign assets should be disclosed, only skeletal facts need be mentioned. This is not the case anymore. With the government gearing up to crack the whip on black money, the taxpayer has to uncover more. The assessee also has to furnish details of accrued income from these assets as well as details of beneficiaries if any. These incomes would be in the form of rentals or interest from the foreign assets.
For example, if you own an apartment worth Rs 70 lakh in Dubai, previously you had to enter only the value of the flat in the ITR form. Now, you will have to disclose the rental income too earned from the property.
You may have heard of the long arm of the taxman. Now, believe it!
Some gain, some pain: The new tax forms seek exhaustive details about the capital gain accruals – both long-term and short-term. This can be the gains made through stock market, or through properties owned by you. This disclosure is intended to check the undisclosed benamiassets.
So, if you are one of those making capital gains by selling stocks or if you have sold some stock that you were holding for more than a year during the last Financial Year, you should give a detailed analysis of the accruals this time while filing tax. Ditto with short-term capital gains from existing stocks held for less than one year and bonds.
If you’re thinking “what next?”, you’re not alone.
Agriculture Income: In case of agriculture income also, the taxpayer has to provide all facts relating to the expenses incurred and unabsorbed losses during the past eight years. Though the income from agriculture had to be disclosed during earlier years too, exhaustive details were not required as it is now.
The government is compelled to usher in these changes. If you’re wondering why, well, it can hardly cause earthquakes or shift continents, can it?
UPDATE: The jury (read the Finance Ministry) is now out on whether these changes would be implemented at all. For now, the proposed changes have been put on the back burner.