Those owning a single house in joint names would continue to file their income tax returns (ITRs) in much simpler ITR-1 (Sahaj) and ITR-4 forms (Sugam) for assessment year 2020-21 with the government issuing a clarification in this regard.
The clarification has come days after the government modified the eligibility for filing the returns in ITR-1 and ITR-4, stating that those owning a property jointly, spending Rs 2 lakh on foreign travel and paying electricity bill of Rs 1 lakh in a year would not be able to file returns in the simpler forms.
They would have to file their returns with much more detailed information in other specified forms.
Following the changes in the eligibility for filing returns in the two forms, concerns were raised over it with taxpayers claiming that it will cause huge hardship for them.
"The matter has been examined and it has been decided to allow a person, who jointly owns a single house property, to file his/her return of income in ITR-1 or ITR-4 Form, as may be applicable, if he/she meets the other conditions," a Finance Ministry statement said.
"It has also been decided to allow a person, who is required to file return due to fulfilment of one or more conditions specified in the seventh proviso to section 139(1) of the Act, to file his/her return in ITR-1 Form," it added.
Tax practitioners welcomed the government’s move of going back to the previous position.
"This is a welcome clarification allowing middle class taxpayers owning a single house property to file simpler ITR forms, 1 and 4, and not the detailed ITR forms even if they own house property in joint names," said Shailesh Kumar, Director, Nangia Andersen Consulting.
It may be noted that taxpayers holding multiple house properties would have to file more detailed return forms.
In the major changes notified earlier this month by the Income-Tax department, individual taxpayers were disallowed to file return either in ITR-1 or ITR 4 if he or she was a joint-owner in house property.
In another change, those who deposited more than Rs 1 crore in bank account or spent Rs 2 lakh on foreign travel or paid Rs 1 lakh on electricity bill in a financial year were also barred from using the easy-to-fill return forms.
"By today's clarification, the government has maintained status quo. Now, the taxpayers can continue filing their returns in the same fashion in which they did last year," said Naveen Wadhwa, Deputy General Manager (DGM), Taxmann.
Read: Income Tax filing: Major changes to ITR-1 and ITR-4 you need to know about