Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that the Income Tax Department issued Rs 64,700 crore worth of refunds in the current fiscal. She also said that for the previous fiscal, 2018-19, the amount released was over Rs 1.61 lakh crore.
The minister revealed this information in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. Sitharaman said that more than 6.49 crore of electronic returns were submitted for assessment year 2018-19 (financial year 2017-18), which is a rise of 18.65 per cent from over 5.47 crore in assessment year 2017-18.
Sitharaman added that with increased use of technology, time taken to process income tax returns (ITRs) has reduced. "The government has accorded high priority to issue refunds for all taxpayers, including small taxpayers. Less than 0.5 per cent of income tax returns (ITRs) are selected for scrutiny, the majority of ITRs are processed expeditiously and refunds are issued," she said.
The minister also said that 26.9 crore SMS and emails were sent to taxpayers in 2018-19 reminding them to file their ITRs on time.
In January 2019, the government approved integrated e-filing and Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) 2.0 project of the I-T department to process returns in a timely manner, as mentioned by the minister.
The project envisages pre-filing of ITRs by the I-T department so as to improve the accuracy of information contained in the return and drastically reduce the time taken to process returns and issue refunds.