In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, she said over 6.49 crore electronic returns were submitted for assessment year 2018-19 (financial year 2017-18), up 18.65 per cent from over 5.47 crore in assessment year 2017-18.
“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,” Sitharaman said, adding that with increased use of technology the time taken to process ITRs is constantly reducing.
Refunds amounting to Rs 64,700 crore have already been issued in this financial year till June 18, 2019 and the total amount of refund released in Financial year 2018-19, was over Rs 1.61 lakh crore.
Sitharaman further 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 had approved integrated e-filing and Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) 2.0 project of the I-T department to process returns in a timely manner, the minister said.
The project envisages pre-filing of ITRs by the I-T department so as to improve accuracy of information contained in the return and drastically reduce the time taken to process returns and issue refunds.