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New Delhi, July 26 The Finance Ministry has decided to discontinue with immediate effect the scheme for accepting income-tax returns through certain designated post offices of the country.

A finance ministry official said post offices would not accept income tax returns this year on account of this decision. Last year, in the month of July, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had introduced a scheme that allowed income-tax assesses to file their income-tax returns in 2,000 designated post offices of the country without their having to visit an income-tax office.

About 3.5 lakh income tax returns were filed (for assessment year 2006-07) through the 2,000 designated post offices of the country. The Income-Tax Department receives more than 3.5 crore returns for a financial year.

“Last year, we had to go in for a tie-up with post offices because of special circumstances (strike call by staff unions of tax department). This year there is no such call and there is cooperation from all quarters. Moreover, the fact that post office people are not trained on Income-tax matters could have been a reason for this decision. We have ended up with a number of defective returns (out of the returns received through post offices),” sources said.

Interestingly, CBDT had last year maintained that its tie-up with postal department (for accepting income-tax returns) would be a long-lasting one and not for that year alone (assessment year 2006-07).

Special arrangements

Meanwhile, income-tax department officials said that special arrangements have been made for receiving income-tax returns by opening additional receipt counters in all the major cities.

In Delhi, Mr Prasanta Ray, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi-1, said the department was taking all efforts to help the taxpayers to file returns with ease.

He also said that salaried taxpayers need not submit any annexures (like Form 16) along with their return of income.

The Income-Tax Department in Delhi has made special arrangements at Pragati Maidan for receiving income-tax returns from salaried taxpayers during July 27-31, Mr Prasanta Ray added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 27, 2007)
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