While the taxman has goofed up in most of the emerging areas—beginning from the tackling of the international taxation issues, including transfer pricing where it has made R2.64 lakh crore of additions to the income of MNCs since FY06, to handling of black money investigations—its record has been fairly successful in digitising the filing of I-T returns. From the days of heaps of returns being piled up in the income tax offices, in FY15 it boasts of 94% returns being filed electronically and 80% of the direct tax revenue coming through this mode. On the ground, the I-T department has an integrated architecture to deal with the whole process, beginning with filing of returns to refunds—Tax Information Network (TIN), e-filing portal, Centralised Processing Cell (CPC-TDS) for processing of TDS statements, Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) in Bangalore for processing of income-tax returns, and the Refund Banker for depositing them directly in bank accounts.
Though all this has earned the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) the Prime Minister’s accolade for quality service, it must be kept in mind that last month itself the PM had pulled up the board for not solving public grievances. With modern techniques, according to the CBDT, over 4.5 crore taxpayers and 15 lakh deductors are using various e-enabled online taxpayer friendly end-to-end services; the taxman also needs to apply imaginative thinking in dealing with the tax cases and avoid delaying refunds, which still remains a big issue.