Useful Initiatives are taken by the Income-tax Department to facilitate easy assessment of taxpayers as well as ease of communication and assessment by tax officers.
The economic survey of 2018-19 revealed that the introduction of technology and reduction of manual intervention has helped the government of India improve tax collections. The government has introduced various taxpayer-friendly measures. Some of the important steps introduced by the income tax department are:
1) Allotment of e-pan using Aadhar card: the income tax department launched a pilot project to provide an ‘instant’ Aadhar- based PAN allotment services to individuals seeking to obtain a unique identity for the first time. This facility was provided only to the applicants holding a valid Aadhar number. The taxpayers were issued PAN free of cost and immediately using this facility. In span 8 days the department had issued 62000 e-PANs making the pilot version successful. The department is now planning to launch a full – scale production version of this utility.
2) PAN-Aadhaar Interchangeability: with effect from 1st September 2019 taxpayers can use Aadhaar in place of PAN in more than 100 forms. This option will benefit senior citizens and small taxpayers who do not have PAN, but their income comes within the ambit of TDS. They can now file form 15g/h using their Aadhaar number.
3) Facility to verify the authenticity of tax notices: to protect taxpayers from phishing and fake notices, the department has introduced the concept of DIN i.e., document identification number. This must be quoted in all the correspondence by tax authorities. Taxpayers can easily verify the authenticity of all such communications and notices from the e-filing portal by just entering the DIN. Any notices from the income tax department without DIN will be treated as invalid and shall be non established in law or deemed to be as if it has never been issued.
4) E-Assessment Scheme: the department has introduced the faceless e-assessment scheme with the intention of eliminating personal interaction between taxpayer and tax officers. The replies to tax notices can be prepared and submitted online without visiting the tax office. The CBDT (Central Board of Direct taxes) has made it mandatory for tax officers to take recourse of e-communications for all limited and complete scrutiny cases.
5) Robust e-filing platform: the e-filing website was working smoothly during the entire tax filing season in the year 2019. The tax department had launched a lighter version of the e-filing portal called e-filing lite, to reduce the traffic on the main portal and make tax filing a smooth process.
Over the past few years, the government has taken various steps to improve the taxpayer's experience by making available various functions online and reducing the physical interaction of the tax officers and taxpayers. Some of these initiatives include the facility to e-file income tax return, e-payment of taxes, ECS of refunds, e-filing of TDS returns and few more. These measures are now bearing fruit for the government like illustrated examples below:
1) The income tax department saw a record-breaking filing of almost 5 million returns in a single day on 31st August 2019. The peak filing rate per second was at 196 ITRs and peak filing rate per minute was at 7447 ITRs while peak filing rate per hour was at 3,87,571 ITRs
2) Earlier the assessment officers carried out e-assessment, but now their role has been limited to the imposition of penalty, collection, and recovery of demand, the rectification of mistake, etc and e-assessment shall be purely carried out by the ‘national e-assessment centers (NeAC)’.
The important steps so mentioned above introduced by the department make the life of the average taxpayer easier.
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