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Coming soon: Income-tax refunds in a day

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2019 Published on January 16, 2019

Prosecution notices are also being issued to foreign companies filmfoto

Infosys roped in to roll out ₹4,241-crore project to make filing of returns a breeze

With the Union Cabinet, at its meeting held on Wednesday, approving a ₹4,241-crore ‘Integrated E-filing & Centralised Processing Centre 2.0 Project’ of the Income Tax Department, the long delay in processing income-tax returns and refunds could soon become a thing of the past.

 

“At present, the average return processing time is 63 days, which will be reduced to just one day,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

He also informed that after a transparent bidding process, Infosys has been awarded the contract to develop the portal. The portal is expected to be developed in the next 18 months, and after a test run, it will be made available for all tax payers.

Ensuring equity

Goyal said the new portal will minimise rectification of returns. At present, on an average, two per cent of returns are rectified, which is expected to come down to 0.1 per cent.

As on December 31, 2018, over 6.24 crore assessees filed return electronically. All individuals with annual income of more than ₹5 lakh are required to file returns electronically. Also, any one with audited accounts needs to file returns only electronically.

Neeru Ahuja, Partner, Deloitte India, termed this a laudable initiative which will go a long way in easing tax compliance. Besides improving collection of taxes, it will also make the country more competitive and align its regulations with the global best practices. However, the real success of the initiative lies in making the technology and tools easy to use for commoners. The changes should also be accompanied by a shift in the the mindset and culture of the tax authorities at the operational level, she added.

Commenting on the move, the government, in a statement, said the integrated portal will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule-driven and identity-blind manner.

This will ensure fairness in tax treatment, irrespective of the status of the tax payer. Faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the taxpayer’s bank account directly without any interface with the Department will also give a boost to transparency and accountability, it added.

 

 

 

Published on January 16, 2019
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