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e-payment of direct taxes may be made mandatory
December, 12th 2007

The Income-Tax Department wants to popularise e-payment of taxes among the 3.2 crore-odd income tax assessees in the country. Towards this end, the department may, from January 1, make it mandatory for certain categories of assessees to pay direct taxes only through the e-payment mode.

Indications are that e-payment of direct taxes would become mandatory for corporates to begin with. Already, corporates are required to file their income-tax returns through the electronic route only.

There is thinking within the Central Board of Direct Taxes that e-payment should be mandatory from January 1, for certain category of assessees. It might be corporates to start with. e-payment is a cleaner way to make payment and one can avoid paper work, a senior Finance Ministry official said.

There are currently 32 agency banks that deal with income-tax payments. Of these, eight already offer e-payment option through net-banking accounts.

There are some banks that are not in a position to offer e-payment facility. Official sources said that 20 banks have evinced interest to offer net banking facility and at least two banks have expressed inability to provide such a facility due to the state of their computerisation.

Already, some of the assessees with net banking accounts make their tax payments through the e-payment route. Of the eight banks that offer e-payment facility, which is currently optional for assessees, sources said that only fourSBI, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank are popular among taxpayers.

In fiscal 2006-07, the Government collected less than 1 per cent of its total direct tax collections of about Rs 2,29,272 crore through the e-payment mode. For fiscal 2007-08, the Centre has pegged the budget estimate for direct taxes at Rs 2,67,490 crore.

Going by the current trend in collections, the Centre is expected to comfortably exceed the budget estimates on the back of buoyant economic growth and strong compliance culture among taxpayers.

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