In a bid to reduce harassment of tax payers, the income-tax department is mulling setting up five centralised return processing centres in different parts of the country.
The concept is to provide one-stop service to a tax payer at one centralised place from filing returns to tax refunds and tax certificates.
The income-tax department is also in the process of hiring 7,500 additional staff. Some will be recruited directly while others will be hired on a temporary basis or outsourced in the case of non-core activities like data entry.
Acting on a committee recommendation, the department was setting up the return mass processing centres in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and three other cities for salaried as well as non-salaried class of assessees, official sources said.
Once the returns are filed, the documents will go to the central processing centre of that region and will be kept there after being processed.
At the moment, tax returns remain with the assessing officer. This makes tax payers vulnerable to the officers misbehaviour.
The move will be good for tax payers as well as the I-T department. It will help in systematic control and storage of records, the source said. However, assessing officers will be allowed to access the file of the assessee whenever required.
With tax compliance improving and income-tax rates getting stable, the focus of the I-T department on reducing discretionary powers of assessing officers.
At the moment, there is a mass return processing centre for salaried tax payers in Mumbai, which is likely to be extended to non-salaried class this year.
The move would guard tax payers against problems such as delay by assessing officers in giving a refund, double tax payment, time lag in getting a tax clearance certificate and uncivilised behaviour of assessing officers.