The Income tax department on Thursday claimed certain news items in a section of media regarding spike in the income tax "stop filers" could be due to loss of jobs or income drop due to fall in economic activity under the impact of demonetisation as "totally false and baseless".
Such news items are factually incorrect and utterly erroneous interpretation of facts, the Central Board Of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement.
CBDT clarified that contrary to the report, it is a fact that demonetization had a phenomenal positive impact on the widening of tax base and direct tax collections.
As per the data available with CBDT, 6.87 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed during FY 2017-18 as compared to 5.48 crore ITRs filed during FY 2016-17, translating into a growth of 25 pre cent.
Also, during FY 2017-18, the number of new ITR filers has also increased to 1.07 crore as compared to 86.16 lakh new ITR filers added during FY 2016-17. The net direct tax collections for 2017-18 amounted to Rs. 10.03 lakh crore, which is 18 per cent higher than the collections for 2016-17.
The growth rate of 18 per cent for 2017-18 is the highest in the last seven financial years. A substantial part of this growth is attributed to the impact of demonetization.
CBDT also said that information about "Stop Filers" is incorrect and the data source quoted is not from the Income Tax Department. CBDT does not have any word "Stop Filers" in its glossary and it does not maintain any MIS or database of "Stop Filers" in normal course.
It said, as such there is no term or keyword as "Stop Filers" in our parlance and we maintain data of only "Dropped Filers", which is defined as a person who was earlier in the filer base but has not filed return in any of the last three financial year.
On the other hand, a "New Filer" is a person who has filed return in the current financial year and not filed return in the previous three Financial Years.CBDT further said that it is clear from the data in the table above that New Filers have increased significantly while the Dropped Fliers have reduced consistently over a period of time and the positive impact of demonetization is phenomenally evident.
It can be seen that the number of Dropped Filers has actually declined in FY 2017-18 to 25.22 lakh from 28.34 lakh in FY 2016-17, it said.