In a press release on Monday, the Ministry of Finance said that the media reports on reduction in number of Income Tax Returns (ITR) are "factually untrue" as the results pertaining to financial year 2018-19 and 2017-18 are not comparable.
"There have been some incorrect reports in media pertaining to reduction in numbers of Income Tax Returns(ITR) e-filed during Financial Year(F.Y.) 2018-19 as compared to F.Y. 2017-18. This is factually untrue, because the figures for F.Y. 2017-18 and F.Y. 2018-19 are not directly comparable," the press release said.
It further explained that there has, in fact, been an increase in ITR filings by 19 percent in the last financial year.
"It is stated that during F.Y. 2017-18, out of a total of 6.74 crore ITRs which were e-filed, 5.47 crore ITRs were filed for Assessment Year(A.Y.) 2017-18 (the current year). In comparison, during F.Y. 2018-19, a total of 6.68 crore ITRs were e-filed which included 6.49 crore ITRs of current A.Y. 2018-19 marking an increase of almost 19%. This would imply that substantially larger number of taxpayers filed their ITRs electronically in the F.Y. 2018-19 as compared to F.Y. 2017-18," it said.
The statement explained how the earlier calculation of over 6.6 lakh fall in number of e-filings in FY19 when compared to the year before was incorrectly done by media reports.
It said that "the apparent decrease in the number of ITRs filed during F.Y. 2018-19 pertaining to earlier years was due to an amendment in Section 139(5) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 brought in vide Finance Act, 2017, w.e.f. 01.04.2018, which mandated that a revised return could be furnished only upto the end of the relevant Assessment Year."