- The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a Rs 4,242-crore project for integrated e-filing and centralised processing
- The project will reduce the return processing and refund time from the current average of 63 days
- The project, which will be implemented by Infosys, will take around 18 months
NEW DELHI: You could get a pre-filled tax returns form from next year and hope for a refund in a day with the Cabinet on Wednesday clearing an ambitious Rs 4,242-crore project for integrated e-filing and centralised processing.
The project will reduce the return processing and refund time from the current average of 63 days, railway minister Piyush Goyal said. The government is building in an incentive for the service provider to process refunds in a day and there will be a penalty in case the work is not completed within 30 days, sources in the tax department told TOI.
While Goyal announced that the project, which will be implemented by Infosys, will take around 18 months, sources said the idea is to implement it within 15 months, in time for filing of returns in 2020. Some elements of the new project may be implemented under the current system as well.
Once the new mechanism is in place, taxpayers will get a pre-filed form in their income tax account which will have their name, Permanent Account Number (PAN) and other details, a tax officer said. In addition, the columns related to salary, interest income and tax deducted at source captured in the 26AS forms will also be there. Taxpayers can add to the form by adding other income that may have accrued but not reported to the tax department earlier, said an officer.
Goyal also said there will a system for quicker rectification of mistakes
“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, collection of taxes and enhanced experience for taxpayers. India will become more competitive and aligned with global best practices. However, the real success of this will be measured when the technologies and tools become easy to use for a common man or woman and technology changes are accompanied by changes in the mindset and culture of the tax authorities at the operational levels,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner at consulting firm Deloitte India.
In recent years, processing of returns has picked up and the tax department is also issuing refunds faster.
“By faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the taxpayer’s bank account directly without any interface with the department, by adhering to international best practices and standards (ISO certification) and by providing processing status updates and speedy communication using mobile app, email, SMS and on the department website, the decision will ensure transparency and accountability,” an official statement said.