The Income Tax department has issued refunds worth Rs 64,700 crore in the current fiscal year. In total, for the whole financial year 2018-19, the amount released on this account was over Rs 1.61 lakh crore, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
In a written reply to a question in the 17th Lok Sabha session, she said over 6.49 crore electronic returns were submitted for the assessment year 2018-19 (financial year 2017-18), 18.65 percent higher than 5.47 crore in AY 2017-18.
"The government has accorded high priority to issue refunds for all taxpayers including small taxpayers. Less than 0.5 percent of income tax returns (ITRs) are selected for scrutiny, the majority of ITRs are processed expeditiously and refunds are issued," Sitharaman said, adding that with increased use of technology the time taken to process ITRs is constantly reducing.
She further said that 26.9 crore SMS and emails were sent to taxpayers in 2018-19, reminding them to file their ITRs on time.
The lower house of the Parliament was also informed that in January 2019, the Government had approved integrated e-filing and Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) 2.0 project for the IT department to process returns in a timely manner. This system will pre-fill ITRs so as to improve accuracy of information in the return and drastically reduce the time taken to process returns and issue refunds.
FM Sitharaman also said that the recovery of bad loans at Rs 45,593 crore in Public Sector Banks was much faster than the total write-offs during 2018-19. The write-offs stood at Rs 36,377 crore during the year, she said.