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Quick refunds

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SummaryIf you have filed your income-tax returns online, you can get refunds within three to four months.

A web-based tracking facility and a stronger grievances redressal system have ensured that you get your I-T refunds without fuss

If you have filed your income-tax returns online, you can get refunds within three to four months. The government has launched a web-based status tracking facility for refunds. Also, the grievances redressal mechanism has been strengthened for prompt disposal of all complaints.

The minister of state for finance, SS Palanimanickam, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, has said the process of issue of refunds has been streamlined with computerisation. E-filing of returns is encouraged for speedy processing and issue of refunds through the refund banker scheme.

He also said that instances of corruption for settlement of refund claims and complaints have come to notice from time to time. “Whenever any such instances or complaints come to notice, they are verified and if found correct, the concerned officers or officials have to face penal consequences depending on the facts and circumstances of the case,” the minister said in the written reply.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has set up Aaykar Seva Kendras for efficient tax administration and the web-based facility can be used by the taxpayer to track the resolution of refunds and credit for pre-paid taxes and augmentation of processing capacity.

Refunds are directly deposited through the electronic clearing system in the taxpayer’s bank account and electronic filing of TDS returns is now available throughout the country. To ramp up the processing of refunds, the Centralised Processing Centre at Bangalore has also increased its daily processing capacity of returns filed.

Analysts say these steps have helped taxpayers as they do not have to wait endlessly for refunds.

Those who have not filed returns can file them belatedly, as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. A belated return can be filed within two years of the end of the financial year or before completion of the assessment year, whichever is earlier.

Of course, there are certain issues one has to keep in mind for belated filing. If your returns is not filed within the deadline, you cannot carry forward losses incurred in business or capital loss (other than loss from house property) during the year. Also, the taxpayer will have to forego the right to carry them to future years. Under the Income Tax Act, if the returns are filed by the due date, the loss is allowed to be carried forward for eight years for setting-off against incomes of future years.

The biggest disadvantage of not filing returns on time is the a delay in processing of refund.

Analysts say returns filed before the due date are processed first. After this, belated filings are taken up and there is a delay in giving refunds. Moreover, for delayed tax returns, one has to pay interest of 1% per month on the amount of taxes. Also, revision of returns is not allowed if filed beyond the due date.

For e-filing, one needs to register at the income-tax website and use a digital signature. After e-filing, Form ITR-V is generated online, which should be printed, signed and posted to the Central Processing Centre, Bangalore, within 120 days of e-filing.

To ensure speedy refund, the taxpayer has to ensure that once the ITR-V is generated, the form is downloaded. One must then print the form in blue ink and send the signed form by ordinary/speed post to the Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore. After receiving the signed ITR-V form, the CPC will send an e-mail, acknowledging the receipt of ITR-V to the e-mail ID stated in the return form. Also, the taxpayer will get an SMS on his mobile number.

If a taxpayer does not get any response from the department regarding receipt of ITR-V, he will have to send a fresh ITR-V to the CPC and get a receipt.

During e-filing, one must take precautions while entering data and re-verify all details entered before submitting/confirming the return.

Incorrect details may lead to a notice from the IT department. The taxpayer should verify that the Permanent Account Number (PAN), the amount of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and details of employer are correctly entered. Also, details about interest earned from fixed deposit and other income must be mentioned. The tax department usually checks these details through an automated process and compares them with their database.

To give more time to taxpayers filing returns without digital signature certificate, the director general of income tax has extended the date up to December 31, 2012, for filing the ITR V forms, or within 120 days of uploading the electronic return data, whichever is later.

The relaxation has been made since there are still a large number of electronic returns relating to assessment year 2011-12 that had been filed on or before the due date for which the ITR-V forms have not yet been received by the CPC.

Easier & faster

* The Central Board of Direct Taxes has set up Aaykar Seva Kendras for efficient tax administration

* The web-based facility can be used by the taxpayer to track the resolution of refunds and credit for pre-paid taxes and augmentation of processing capacity

* Refunds are directly deposited through the electronic clearing system in the taxpayer’s bank account and electronic filing of TDS returns is now available throughout the country

* To ramp up the processing of refunds, the Centralised Processing Centre at Bangalore has also increased its daily processing capacity of returns filed

* A belated return can be filed within two years of the end of the financial year or before completion of the assessment year, whichever is earlier

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