The number of e-returns submitted for the assessment year 2018-19 saw an increase of 18.65% at 6,49,39,586 as against 5,47,30,304 for 2017-18. "A total of 7.19 crore income tax returns (ITRs) have been processed in 2018-19. The total amount of refund released in 2018-19 is ?1,61,457.6 crore", Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Lok Sabha in a written reply on Monday.
The issue refunds for all taxpayers are high on government's agenda. The majority of ITRs are processed speedily and refunds are also issued while less than 0.5% ITRs go under review.
As the government adopts more of information technology in processing the ITRs and lays stress on less intrusive verification, the resultant time to process ITRs is reducing steadily. Refunds to the tune of Rs 64,700 crores have already been issued in this financial year, the Finance Minister said.
The government from March 2019 has made it compulsory to issue income-tax refunds through ECS only, thus, speeding up direct credit of refunds to bank accounts.
Moreover, all field authorities have been directed to issue refunds up to Rs 5,000 without any adjustment against outstanding demand, if any, she said.
The government has already launched myriad measures to educate the taxpayers on how to e-file their ITRs. The Income Tax Department is already employing various outreach programmes comprising training in e-filing, conducting workshops and awareness programmes.