Come December and banks, chartered accountants and e-returns intermediaries (ERIs) start reminding you of filing taxes online. According to data from industry players, the Income Tax (I-T) department’s website saw 12.04 lakh e-filings for assessment year 2011-12, or financial year 2010-11, as against 5.32 lakh e-filings in the previous year.
Similarly, I-T department recognised ERIs like TaxSpanner.com, which has a user base of more than five lakh, saw over one lakh e-filings in assessment year 2011-12 in comparison to around 50,000 in assessment year 2010-11. myITreturn.com saw a little over 92,000 e-filings in assessment year 2011-12 as opposed to almost 88,000 the previous year.
Convenience is not the only reason an increasing number of taxpayers are flocking to file e-returns. “Those who e-file get their tax refunds earlier than the others because the government wants taxpayers to move online. That’s why if someone is expecting a return, we advise they file e-returns. The price for this service has also standardised when compared to the different prices charged by chartered accountants. And, you get a confirmation for your filing,” says Sudhir Kaushik, co-founder & chief financial officer of Delhi-based ERI TaxSpanner.com.
At the same time, of the number of e-filings boasted by ERIs and the I-T department, easily 30-40 per cent filings are not completed, as not all rules are followed.
Says Saakar Yadav, managing director of Delhi-based ERI myITreturn.com, “First, check the Permanent Account Number (PAN) given in the Income Tax Return Verification (ITR-V) form. A wrong PAN means your return shows in someone else’s name. Give the correct bank account number to ensure you get the refund. Provide the correct Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) so that you don’t end up paying more tax than you are required to.” TAN is an alphanumeric figure / code issued to those who are required to deduct tax on payments made by them like a bank. Your e-mail address is another important part of e-filing. Check it before sending the ITR-V. The acknowledgement for receipt of ITR-V at the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore is sent to this mail address.
The other big reason behind most individuals not completing the process of tax filing is that they don’t know they need to send the ITR-V to Bangalore after e-filing returns. ERIs complain of having to constantly remind their clients to send the form on time. The I-T department gives 120 days to mail the ITR-V (either by speed post or ordinary post) after filing e-returns. On crossing the 120 days period, your returns are considered not filed and your registration with the I-T department is cancelled.
You also need to sign the ITR-V before posting it. The signature should be in blue ink. Acknowledgments signed in black ink are considered scanned copies or photocopies of ITR-V and tend to get rejected, Nagaraju PS, director of etaxmentor.com, a Hyderabad-based ERI had earlier told Business Standard.
As a habit, many fold their ITR-Vs, which should be avoided. Folding the sheet leads to print ink getting erased on the creases, specially on the bar code (on the right hand lower corner) as it gets destroyed. You need to be more careful about these issues because the department may inform you about your ITR-V being rejected by ordinary post. And, this may not reach you in time to act within the 120-day period.