The government has launched the new income tax portal as a part of its digitization journey and with a view to facilitate ease of compliance for taxpayers.
Some attractive features of the new tax portal are:
- Login to the portal is now Aadhaar and TAN-enabled in addition to PAN.
- Resetting of password is easier now with OTP generated through Aadhaar-linked mobile number – OTPs to email have been discontinued.
- Static passwords introduced – significantly enhancing ease of operating when taxpayers are in low mobile network range while need to complete income tax transactions which normally require OTPs.
- To help taxpayers avoid logging into any phishing website, facility of adding a personalised message under the “Your Profile” section acting as a “Secure Access Message” at the time of logging in has been activated.
- A comprehensive dashboard has been put in place, enabling taxpayers to identify pending actions, status of grievance filed, year-wise tax returns, taxes deposited etc. While these features were available earlier under different tabs, organising the same under a single dashboard has enhanced the ease of navigating.
- The “Your Profile” tab has been made more detailed and includes edit option for citizenship. This would be of significant help to taxpayers (especially Overseas Citizens of India) who had to file a letter with tax officer to update change of citizenship in PAN database.
- The profile section also includes option to update details such as bank accounts (and tag the bank account where the refund is to be credited), demat accounts, sources of income which will be used in pre-filling their ITR after necessary returns are filed by other stakeholders such as employers, banks etc. This would help taxpayers to avoid updating such information year-on-year in their tax returns.
- Taxpayers have an option of adding their Chartered Accountants who would be able to view the details and take necessary action on behalf of the taxpayer such as filing grievances, filing Form 15CB etc. after access is provided to them by the taxpayers. The taxpayer may also authorize another person to act on its behalf if the taxpayer is not capable of acting on their own due to specified reasons.
- Taxpayers have an option to authenticate notice/ order/ letter issued by tax authorities on the home page of the portal. This would help them check that communication received is genuine and prevent them from acting on fraudulent notices.
Filing of tax returns
As earlier, the filing of income tax returns is available under both online and offline modes. Taxpayers who have many data points to fill in would prefer the offline mode, since the timeout period for one session is 40 minutes.
Below are the steps to file and submit the ITR through the online mode:
1: Log in to the portal (https://www.incometax.gov.in/iec/foportal ) and go to e-File > Income Tax Returns > File Income Tax Return
2: Select “Assessment Year”, “Filing type”, “Status” as applicable
3: Select Continue if you are sure about the ITR type or you can click on “proceed” to help find your ITR
4: Once you have selected the ITR, select reason for filing & fill the applicable fields of the ITR and make the payment if applicable
5: Click on preview and submit return
6. Click proceed to verification
7. Select verification mode
8: Enter EVC/OTP for e verifying ITR OR Send the signed ITR V to CPC for verification.
For offline filing, the JSON utility has to be downloaded, since excel/java utility has been discontinued.
Overall, the new portal provides a refreshing feel and has provided a wider bouquet of services under one umbrella. The enhancements provided to the existing IT-enabled filings is a welcome move. Introduction of chatbot and mobile apps would go a long way in easing compliances and improving the taxpayers’ experience.
(By Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Partner, Deloitte India; Vijay Bharech, Senior Manager, and Priyanka Bhutada, Deputy Manager with Deloitte Haskins and Sells LLP)