Taxpayers from villages and small cities will not have to travel to big cities to file income tax returns from the next fiscal, as the Finance Ministry has increased the income limit to be dealt by Income Tax Officers — who are the nodal I-T officers.

The ministry, in its notification of January 31, has said a large number of taxpayers have told it that the existing limits of the Income Tax Officers — the nodal officers and the first interface of the I-T department for I-T filing — was causing hardship to the taxpayers.

The income limits have been revised after almost a decade.

They were introduced in 2001.

According to new rules, which will come into force from April one (next financial year), the ITO in ‘small cities and mofussil areas’ will now handle non-corporate returns up to Rs 15 lakhs (Rs 1.5 million) and corporate returns up to Rs 20 lakhs (Rs 2 million).

The ITOs in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad among others will handle non-corporate income up to Rs 20 lakhs and corporate income up to Rs 30 lakhs (Rs 3 million).

“References have been received by the board from a large number of taxpayers, especially from mofussil areas, that the existing monetary limit for assigning cases to ITOs and deputy commissioners/assistant commissioners is causing hardship to taxpayers, as it results in transfer of their cases to a DC/AC who is located in a different station, which increases the cost of compliance,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes notification said.

“The board has considered the matter and is of the opinion that the existing limits need to be revised to remove the above mentioned hardship,” it added.

An increase in the monetary limits is also considered desirable in view of increase in the scale of trade and industry since 2001, when the present income limits were introduced, the notification said.

“The new arrangement has been brought so that taxpayers in mofussil areas need not travel to far off places or bigger centres where the assistant or deputy commissioners of I-T have their office.

“The ITO can now take up cases of more taxpayers,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.

The DCs/ACs — the next level of I-T officers above the ITO — will handle the cases above this limit, the notice said.

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