Income Tax E-Filing - Great Step towards Accountability

Posted in Finance Articles, Total Reads: 1539 , Published on September 17, 2015

Taxes paid by the citizens of the country is one factor that provide strong backup to any economy. These taxes can be direct or indirect. Some of the various taxes levied are Income tax, Excise Duty, Service Tax. Custom Duty, Central Sales Tax, Value Added Tax, etc.

Moreover, revenue from these taxes forms the biggest chunk of the Government treasury that is utilized for the development of the country. In this country of huge population, it is not feasible for the Government to keep track of each and every person, the amount and type of taxes he need to pay, the point of time he needs to pay these taxes, etc. So, there is an arrangement of Tax Return filing, which has been developed since a long time to keep record of every penny flowing through the economy.

With the advancement of technology and more and more use of the internet round the Globe, it has becoming the need of the hour to keep pace with others to be in the race. Furthermore, the Government of India has taken many strong steps to overcome the bottlenecks existing in the system of income tax return filing. The biggest of them being, going almost completely online.

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In the present era, information about almost every tax and duty, whether it is income tax, sales tax, service tax, excise or custom duty, etc. that is collected by the government is being tracked and recorded online. This available data is worked out to analyze the pace country is growing at.

The system of going completely online is not only facilitating the Government but the citizens as well. This new and revised arrangement is platform independent, quicker, easier and convenient with many value added services along. Moreover, less and less use of paper is eco-friendly too. Income tax, which is the biggest source of the revenue of the Indian Government, is always one the hit list when it comes to taxes. Undoubtedly, the system of online tax filing will affect this section the most.

The Department of Income tax has developed a quite effective website portal to facilitate people to file their tax return online with ease. The department along with the IT companies has taken this strong and effective step.

One can start with a simple process of registering on the income tax portal. Every person, (i.e., not just Individual but HUF, companies, society, AOP, BOI, etc.) has a unique login ID that is the Permanent Account number allotted to him/it by the Department of Income tax.

The database is already upgraded with the information of all those who have been already allotted PAN, making the process faster. The benefit is not limited to this. Tax Deducted at source (TDS) that is the most problematic issue has been made effortless. Each and every detail of TDS, TCS and not to forget everyone’s favorite refund is now just a click away. Above is just a light glimpse of a bigger picture. All you need to do is download the return utility, fill it properly (there is a facility to prefill basic information as well), generate its XML an upload the XML on the website. And there you go. You will get the instant acknowledgment of your filing.

The thing is not limited to filing but extends to assessment too, which is the final stage of the procedure. Information about the years proceeding the current previous year is also available and easily accessible. Portal works like an electric file of Income Tax information records, where every document is available and all you have to do is file your return online every year.

But everything has its pros and cons. The process of filing is quite technical. A professional or a well-educated person can undoubtedly get over the procedure but for a less- educated person or an illiterate, it is a tall order. Not just this, there are other bottlenecks, like; sometimes the utility is found to be weak in comparison to the provisions of the act. Moreover, the insecurity for the use of internet and the cyber-attacks that come along are the biggest issues.

To sum up, online tax filing not only saves cost and energy but our golden time and a bit of technical knowledge can enable us to derive a huge number of benefits. Although, security is of prime concern and is the biggest problem that one can face but using proper software, following internet etiquettes and being cautious can enable us to overcome this issue as well.

With the advancement of technology, there will be betterment in the procedure over the years to come. People will be aware and technically educated, IT companies will bring advance version of the software and the Government will develop new ideas and will be more and more innovative to make things easier for the general public. This will increase disclosures of more and more flow of money and will also help in curbing the practice of black money generation which take Indian economy to new heights.

This article has been authored by Saurabh Kumar Agrawal from IIM Kashipur.

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