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What are the Changes in the New Income Tax Return Forms?

Jun 2, 2020 1:08 PM 3 min read

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has notified the new Income Tax Return (ITR) forms for AY 2020-21 (FY 2019-20).

This would include the ITR 1 (Sahaj), ITR 2, ITR 3, ITR 4 (Sugam), ITR 5, ITR 6, ITR 7 and ITR V forms. A few changes have been made to the forms on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. In this article, we’ll explore what the ITR forms are and what are the changes made to them.



Points to Note

The last date to file all Income Tax Returns for FY20 had been extended to November 30th 2020.

Moreover, this would be the first time that the new dual tax slab regime would come into effect. This was announced in the Union Budget this year, and would give taxpayers the option of a new tax regime with different taxation rates in addition to the old regime.

To download the new ITR forms, click here.


What are the Income Tax Return Forms?

To recap, here’s what each of the ITR forms is for:

What are the Changes in the New Income Tax Return Forms?
List of Income Tax Return Forms.


What are the Changes in the New ITR Forms?

  1. If you’re filing ITR-1 or ITR-4, you will need to disclose your passport number.
  2. If you spent more than ₹2L ($2,670) on travelling abroad this FY, you will need to disclose the amount spent.
  3. For those filing ITR-4, if you have more than ₹1cr ($133,508) deposited in your bank account you need to declare the same.
  4. In ITR-4, PAN has been made optional if Aadhaar number is provided.
  5. Individual taxpayers who are joint owners of house property cannot file ITR-1 or ITR-4. This time, they will have to use ITR-2.
  6. If your aggregate electricity expenditure during the FY is more than ₹1L ($1,335), the exact amount needs to be disclosed.
  7. You can now select more than one bank account for receiving your tax refunds. 
  8. If you’re applying for deductions for some tax-saving instruments (under Section 80C provisions of the Income Tax Act or the other relevant sections), you can avail the same till June 30th.The new forms seek details of investments, deposits and payments made between April 1st and June 30th.


COVID-19 and Income Tax in India

It’s obvious why the new changes were brought in. Not only has the lockdown forced the Finance Ministry to extend the deadline for filing returns by seven months, it has also given taxpayers some degree of leeway in terms of filing and revision deadlines. 

However, at the same time, the new forms do come across as more regressive from the perspective of an aspirational or at the least simpler taxation regime.

The requirement to seek more disclosures vis-a-vis one’s spending such as foreign travel expenditure and electricity consumption would not sit well with the goal of bringing more people under the tax map. Whilst the concern that there are only 14.6m individual tax payers in a country of 1.3bn is fair, such an intrusive requirement would only lead to enhanced wariness from tax evaders, and risk of harassment for existing taxpayers.  

Another example is disallowing ITR-1 or ITR-4 if you’re a joint owner of a house property; the alternate route via ITR-2 is more complicated and seeks extensive disclosures.

Lastly the 15m figure was 60m only in 2019. What?! Yes.


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