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I-T Dept is giving out certificates of appreciation. Have you received yours?
October, 18th 2016

I was surprised to find an email appreciating my role in nation building in my inbox today in the morning.

The mail, which came from the Income Tax Department, contained an attachment - a certificate of appreciation - that can be downloaded, printed and framed for posterity.

Not that I have done something suddenly. Ever since I have been earning taxable income, I have been paying taxes, and in that sense, contributing my bit towards nation building. But what made the routine tax return filing different this time was the appreciation letter, and the e-certificate, auto generated by the central processing centre (CPC) of the Income Tax Department.

The email indicated that I belonged to the "bronze" category, where bulk of income tax payers will remain, by virtue of paying income tax in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, a year.

The tax payers who have contributed between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh will be in the silver category. Those who contribute between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore will be in the gold category. All those who pay Rs 1 crore and above as income tax will be the platinum category tax payer.

The certificate declared that I have contributed taxes and filed the tax return on time. It was signed by Rani Singh Nair, chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Ministry of Finance.

About a month before CPC started sending thousands of similar mails to tax payers who have been prompt at filing returns, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had formally kicked off this 'appreciation' exercise when, on 19th September, he handed over certificates of appreciation issued by CBDT to select tax payers.

The CBDT terms this move as the first effort by the government to directly communicate to the tax payer, its appreciation for the contribution. Given the negative image income tax department has been generating through their tax demand notices every year, a positive communication, perhaps, was much needed.

The department will be sending out such certificates of appreciation to individual tax payers by e-mail in various categories on the basis of the level of taxes paid by them for the current Assessment Year 2016-17 where taxes have been paid in full and tax payers have no outstanding tax liabilities and where the return is e-filed within the prescribed due date.

CBDT encourages the tax payers to display these certificates in their homes and offices.

According to income tax department, only one percent of the country's 125 billion population pay taxes. If you are one of those individuals, and have paid taxes and filed returns on time, and yet not received your certificate, better check your junk mails.

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