The Income Tax department will soon start training the second batch of 5,000 tax return preparers (TRPs) across the country.
With 1.28 million tax payers filing their returns electronically in 2007-08, the department, in association with training partners - NIIT and Taxmann, is also planning to provide training on preparing electronic returns.
Launched in 2007, the programme aims at assisting tax payers file returns. The TRPs have also been asked to bring in more people under the tax net.
They charge existing tax payers Rs 250 for each return, while the department pays them 3 per cent, 2 per cent, and 1 per cent of the tax paid by a new assessee in the first three years, respectively.
There will be an all-India test in a month to select 5,000 fresh candidates who will be trained by June-end to make them ready in time for the peak return filing month of July.
Last year, candidates were trained at 100 centres across the country. This year, new locations will be added to expand geographical coverage.
Out of the 5,000 candidates trained at last year, about 3,700 were certified to function as TRPs. They helped file 50,000 returns in 2007-08 for self-employed individuals, salaried persons, senior citizens, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), and women. With the scheme stabilising, the department expects a manifold increase in returns filed by TRPs.
"We had started from scratch last year and had no experience in this field. After the first years experience, we will make slight change in training of TRPs and make the scheme more effective this year," said an Income Tax department official.
The department is also likely to appoint a nodal officer at city or state level to resolve local issues and coordinate various activities of the TRPs.
The department has advised TRPs to work as entrepreneurs to win the trust of people and be accessible to provide low-cost service compared to chartered accountants.