Rush for filing tax returns thins as e-filing gets popular (Lead)

July 31st, 2008 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Thousands of income tax assessees queued up at the special collection centre in the capital Thursday to beat the July 31 deadline for filing returns, but not in the numbers seen in past years, thanks to the provision of e-filing. “We expect around 150,000 tax payers to file their income tax returns today. Those who are unable to file their returns today can do it later also,” the income tax commissioner Gopal Kamal told IANS.

He explained that if there is any tax pending, a penalty will be imposed on the balance payable to the government.

The special camp set up by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which had received 2.19 million e-returns from some 30 million assessees last fiscal, was appreciated by individuals and professionals alike.

“The arrangements were excellent this year,” said Dinkar Marla, a chartered accountant, who has been handling income tax assessments and consultancy for clients for more than 15 years.

“The IT form has been simplified, you don’t have to make any attachment - and above all, it took my colleagues just 15-20 minutes to file the returns at the special counter,” he said, referring to the counters at Pragati Maidan.

Prabhal Raut, another executive with a private company, said the problem faced by him was the humid weather. “Otherwise, it hardly took me few minutes to file my IT returns,” he said.

Individuals who earned more than Rs.150,000 during the fiscal year ended March 31 (Rs.185,000 in the case of women) had to file returns by July 31. All such assessees whose accounts need not be audited also had to file by this date.

“I am happy that there was a special counter for senior citizens like us,” said Mahendra Singh, a 67-year-old resident of Lakshmi Nagar in east Delhi, who was looking cheerful after spending all of 15 minutes to file his returns.

“Despite the last-minute rush, the officers were really helpful. I was told that I could also file my returns online. Next year, I hope my grandson will help me file returns online,” he said, emerging out of Pragati Maidan.

There were some rumours as well here that the finance ministry may extend the deadline but that was denied by its official spokesperson. “There is no such proposal to extend the last date beyond July 31,” he said.

Marla explained that those filing e-returns had two weeks to dispatch the print out of their returns. “In effect, a person who files e-returns on July 31 has time till August 14 to send the physical printout.”

According to tax officials at the special counter, the last-hour rush this year was nothing compared to what was witnessed in the previous years, thanks to e-filing provision.

“We have received e-returns from far-off regions across the country - Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. This clearly indicates the kind of reach Internet and e-filing now has across the country today.”

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