Taxpayers who have an annual income of Rs 3 lakh would be able to avail the service of a tax preparer. The income tax department which is finalising the details of the scheme has decided that the facility should be availed of by small taxpayers.
Central Board of Direct Taxes officials said 5,000 tax preparers would be selected through an all India exam, who will then be trained extensively by NIIT. These would then be given a special identification code by the department. They said would be working under guidance from the department.
On apprehensions expressed in certain quarters questioning redressal if the conduct of these tax preparers was not up to the mark, they said that the identification code would be given by the department and that they are empowered to take action.
But, they said chances of this happening are rare as the scheme is aimed at creating self employment and a self-employed professional, who wishes to enhance his business, would prefer to have a clean image.
Questions have been raised on the issues like protection of privacy of clients as chartered accountants are bound by conduct rules of their institute, there are no such norms for the tax preparers . But, the officials said since these tax preparers will work in coordination with the department, their conduct would also get monitored in a way.
Echoing similar views, BSR & Co director Vikas Vasal said, the scheme would lead to enhanced tax compliance. He pointed out that a large number of salaried were not filing returns even though their income tax was deducted at source because of the sheer effort involved.
With the help of a tax preparer, who could help them file returns at minimal costs, these small taxpayers would be more than willing to file returns. This is more so as now to avail loans one needs to show ones returns. In fact, he felt that chartered accountants could well employ these certified tax preparers and move on to greener pastures.
Another chartered accountant said the number of returns has been on a rise ever since the tax rates started coming down. With such a help at hand a small taxpayer who does not understand the intricacies of the taxation law, will be keen to file returns.