Aug 29, 2008

India - Pay Tax through ATMs

The Income Tax Department is planning to allow tax payment through ATMs, set up call centres to deal with queries and automatically update the address for Permanent Account Number by copying it from the tax-return filed.
The department will also set up a Directorate of Taxpayer Services to address taxpayer grievances and educate them on tax matters.
Taxpayers will be able to receive refunds faster after the department implements a technology that will automatically match returns with the taxes paid.
The department is also planning a text message service for disseminating information to taxpayers.
Taxpayers can also look forward to better services when they visit tax offices. To improve its image, the department has started improving the basic infrastructure in its offices and will provide facilities like waiting area, drinking water and hygienic toilets.
Some of the other taxpayer services proposed include additional channel for filing tax returns at facilitation centres and effective recording and tracking of all taxpayer communications.
These measures are part of business process re-engineering project of the department, which Finance Minister P Chidambaram had announced in Budget 2006-07.
Direct tax collections rose by nearly 36 per cent to Rs 3,14,568 crore in 2007-08. The department has fixed a target of Rs 3,95,000 crore for 2008-09.
To augment revenue collection, the department plans to use third party and tax deducted at source (TDS) data to detect those who have not filed their returns.
Among other steps, the department also plans to send pre-filled returns to the taxpayer in cases of clear and apparent mismatch of information given in the return and that available with the department, to be settled by accepting payment of tax plus penal amount.
Similarly, for a limited number of cases falling in a small band below the risk score at which cases are selected for scrutiny, total wealth statement will be called for the record.

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