Policy

Synergy with Akshaya network drives e-filing to success path

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 09, 2011 Published on March 09, 2011

A proactive decision to involve entrepreneurs of Akshaya, the information and communication technology (ICT) project of the State Government, has ensured Kerala achieve 100 per cent coverage in e-filing of commercial tax returns.

While all other States have found it almost impossible to achieve 100 per cent coverage in e-filing, Kerala achieved that goal within a year of launch of the programme.

STUDY finding

This observation is contained in a study titled, ‘Commercial taxes-Akshaya synergy, a success story of an e-governance initiative of the Government of Kerala,' authored by Dr N. Ramalingam and Dr C. S. Venkiteswaran of the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (Gift) here.

All 1.7 lakh registered tax payers in the State are now filing their monthly and other tax returns using the e-filing facility offered by Kerala Value-Added Tax Information System, the authors note.

The success of this e-governance initiative launched by the State Commercial Taxes Department owes as much to synergy offered by Akshaya as to the dedication of the department officials, the knowledge and infrastructure inputs provided to them and the willingness of the tax payers to switch over to the new system.

The decision to involve Akshaya entrepreneurs has since become instrumental in bridging the digital divide and bringing the tax-paying community into the net.

It has also created new revenue streams to the rural entrepreneurs, apart from upgrading the skill sets and technical knowledge of the small and marginal tax payers and intermediaries such as tax practitioners and consultants.

The success of e-filing initiative can be traced to its ability to successfully address and synergise a range of issues, including work culture and skill transformation, attendant on the launch of a new public policy initiative.

REVENUES UP

The Government was able to create a win-win situation for all major stakeholders through initiatives at various levels, the authors said.

Under the new system, the revenue earned by the Government has headed northward. Dealers have the advantage of engaging a more transparent and less corrupt tax administration.

Not only do professional intermediaries such as practitioners/consultants and the Akshaya entrepreneurs find new avenues for income generation, they also find themselves presented with an opportunity to upgrade professional and technical skills.

DRASTIC REFORMS

Presenting the Budget 2011-12, the Finance Minister, Dr Thomas Isaac, had said that during the last five years, the tax collection mechanism has been drastically reformed through implementation of e-filing and e-payment.

The computerised tax collection mechanism of the State has since won two major national e-governance awards. Precise business details of all dealers have since become available to the Government.

Rather than using coercive methods, tax officials are happy bothering themselves with the task of getting even with the scientific utilisation of the database for detecting tax evasion.

The full benefits of these reforms would be reaped in the coming years, the Finance Minister said.

Published on March 09, 2011
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