The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified changes in Form 16, the certificate issued by employers for tax deducted at source (TDS) for salaried employees, seeking disclosure of more details, especially about exempt allowances.
The tax department has sought detailed bifurcation about exemptions taken by salaried employees under Section 10 of Income-tax Act, which include leave travel allowance (LTA), life insurance, pension, gratuity, leave encashment, transport allowance and house rent allowance.
Tax experts said the detailed disclosures of exemptions and allowances will aid the tax department in scrutinising income tax returns (ITRs) more precisely and plug possibility of tax leakage. The changes are also in line with the changes in ITRs such as disclosure of standard deduction.
The notified changes in Form 16 and Form 24Q, the quarterly TDS statement with respect to salaries, would be effective from May 12. The tax department has also made it mandatory for employer to furnish Permanent Account Number (PAN) of the lender other than a financial institution in case the employee has taken loan for house property and claimed deduction for interest paid. Sanjoli Maheshwari, director, Nangia Advisors (Andersen Global) said, “Earlier, where the disclosure of various deductions were mentioned in a consolidated manner, ranging from 80C, 80CCD, 80E, 80G would now be required to be disclosed separately. These specific disclosures would provide ease to the tax authorities in understanding the various components of income of the taxpayer and thereby, facilitating the conduct of scrutiny more precisely.”
She further said, “These additional disclosures have also been incorporated in Form 24Q … further, now it is mandatorily required for employer to furnish Permanent Account Number of the lender (other than the Financial Institution) in case where the employee has taken loan for house property and claimed deduction for interest paid. This will further help in identifying any fabricated transaction undertaken with an aim of tax avoidance.”
Tax experts also said that these changes will make it easier for tax authorities to check for tax leakage and ensure more accountability.
“At present, the government relies on details provided by employer and take it on merit. These changes will ensure more accountability as through a software check, the department will be able to check year-on-year changes in allowances for employees,” Amit Maheshwari, partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates, said.
The tax department has already notified ITRs for financial year 2018-19. Salaried class and those who do not have to get their accounts audited, will have to file their ITRs by July 31.