Tax-filing-online

In a bid to reduce human involvement between tax officials and citizens, the Income Tax department has launched an ‘E-filling’ facility for select category of individuals and firms, reports Business Standard.

Under the initiative, Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filings such as the ITR 1 (SAHAJ) meant for salaried individuals, and the ITR 4S (Sugam) meant for individuals, and partnership firms having income from their business can now file for tax return within the government’s online portal. Other ITRs are also expected to be hosted on the portal soon.

The portal will also host a ‘tax calculator’ application that helps taxpayers or filers in assessing their tax liability. The tax calculator is regularly monitored and updated as per government norms and regulations regarding taxation.

The e-filing initiative was originally started in July 2015, the delay to include common ITRs was due to the long 14-page ITR forms that required a filer to disclose certain back details, and foreign travel details. Later the form was simplified and the number of pages were reduced to three.

Filing appeals online

Subsequently, the Income Tax department also introduced another ‘e-filing’ system for filing appeal forms under various ITRs. Verification will be done using digital signatures, or using Electronic Verification Facility that uses Aaadhar card, mobile numbers, or an email ID. The existing document called ‘Form No 35’, was re-formatted recently to be electronically uploaded on the portal.

In the new e-form, a person seeking to appeal against an Assessing Officer’s order will also been given a space to attach mandatory ‘Statement of Facts’ in 1,000 words and furnish the reason of appeal in another 100 words. Documentary evidence can also be attached online. This will help ease the burden of compliance on taxpayers in court proceedings.

Recent E-governance initiatives

-Last month, the Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a set of mobile apps, and other online initiatives related to electoral processes which can be used by candidates and political parties to submit mandatory filings/statements or request certain permissions.

– In the same month, the ministry of tourism extended e-tourist visas to citizens of 37 more countries. As of February 2016, the government has extended the facility to citizens arriving at Indian airports to at least 150 countries.

-In November 2015, the state of Jharkand introduced a host of Android apps and 3 web portals under the Digital India mission. The apps have been developed by the Jharkhand Space Applications Centre and include Jharkhand transport, MNREGA, e-garbage, main bhi police (I’m a police too) and e-district.

-In August 2015, the Indian government introduced a portal for citizens to file RTI applications online with over 431 public authorities. People can file RTIs at rtionline.gov.in and payments for the application can be made through internet banking of SBI & its associate banks, debit/credit cards of Master/Visa and RuPay cards

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