The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has simplified the process of filing income tax returns (ITR).

It has issued a draft proposal to introduce a common ITR form for all taxpayers.

It has suggested merging of all the existing ITR forms except ITR 7, though ITR 1 and ITR 4 will continue to remain in use.

Under the CBDT's proposal, taxpayers will have choice to choose the form for filing returns.

They could either choose from the proposed common ITR form or the existing ITR 1 or ITR 4 forms.

As of now, returns are filed through ITR 1 to 7, depending on the nature of the income and the legal classification of the taxpayer.

The current ITRs are in the form of designated forms wherein the taxpayer is mandatorily required to go through all the schedules.

The taxpayer has to go through all the schedules irrespective of the fact whether that particular schedule is applicable or not.

This increases the time taken to file the ITRs and, in turn, may create avoidable difficulties for taxpayers.

The proposed draft ITR takes a relook at the return filing system in tandem with international best practices. However, the current ITR-1 and ITR-4 will continue.