The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has recently issued a notification which has made it mandatory for individuals earning an annual income in above INR 10 lakhs to file their Income Tax Returns online from the current Financial Year 2011-12 (Assessment Year 2012-13) onwards.
This new notification is applicable to individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) taxpayers as well. E-filing for such individuals was optional till Financial Year 2010-11 (AY 2011-12).
For individuals in upto INR 10 lakh bracket, there has not been any change in tax filing; they have the option of filing returns either manually or electronically.
Although e-filing has been made mandatory for such individuals having total income above INR 10 lakh per annum, it is not mandatory to use digital signature.
This step by the Central Government can be seen as a pilot run for making online filing of ITR mandatory for all taxpayers. E-filing is hassle-free and will also help in preventing delay in getting back refunds (if any) as all online filed ITRs are processed on priority basis at the IT Department's Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) at Bangalore. The government too can save on the interest amount paid out to taxpayers eligible for refunds.