You may not have to post paper copy of online tax filing Soon

Millions of taxpayers filing electronic income-tax (I-T) returns will soon get relief from sending by post the mandatory paper verification form as the CBDT has decided to soon stop this practice.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), administrative authority of the income-tax department, will now instead introduce electronic verification of these online returns.

The new measure, expected to be operational within this financial year, will save the taxpayer from the hassle of sending the paper document (called ITR V) by post and tracking its acknowledgement.

“E-filing is meant to help the taxpayer (by making it easier to pay taxes). But compulsory dispatch of paper documents by post to the Bangalore-based central processing centre (CPC) of the department or procuring a digital signature was undoing this. Hence, the department has decided to end this soon,” a senior official said.

“The department has been receiving a number of complaints from taxpayers with regard to following these rules and also was getting suggestions to do away with paper documents and make e-filing more user friendly,” he said.

When taxpayers file returns online, they are required to send a mandatory ‘ITR V’, under ordinary post to the I-T department’s CPC, based in Bangalore. It then sends an electronic acknowledgement to the tax return filer.

In case of digital signatures (used by corporate entities), a bonafide statement that verifies the identity of the sender, are required to be created by paying a fee and requires regular renewal.

CBDT, according to the official, has decided to stop the practice as it wants more and more people to file e-returns and it is also bolstered by the huge spurt in e-filing numbers being recorded every year.

During the financial year 2012-13, a 31 per cent jump was seen in e-filings by taxpayers as 2.14 crore entities filed returns online, compared with 1.64 crore in the financial year 2011-12.

Recently, CBDT has made e-filing mandatory for those with an annual income of Rs 5 lakh or more for the financial year 2012-13 and assessment year 2013-14 and with the addition of this category of taxpayers the department expects a huge surge in the number of internet-based filers.

The department, according to a blueprint prepared in this regard, also wants to introduce new concept of third-party validation of utilities developed for e-filing that will avoid mistakes in returns and bring uniformity in the interpretation of tax laws in filing of returns.
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