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E-filers income tax accounts unauthorisedly accessed, says Finance Ministry
April, 08th 2014

E-filers of income tax beware! Income tax online return accounts of certain people have been unauthorisedly accessed, the Finance Ministry has warned.

Replying to an RTI query, the Ministry said a process of "multifunctional authentication" has been designed and will be in place shortly to address any illegal access to e-filers' accounts. It, however, said no instance of "hacking", which implies a breach of security whereby the hackers can obtain passwords by entering into the system, has happened or reported in the case of e-filling website.

"However, there have been instances when the authentication details of certain class of e-filers have been obtained by persons from sources other than the website and then the passwords were reset and the e-filing account accessed," the Ministry said.

To address the issue, a process of multifunctional authentication has been designed and shall be in place shortly. Details thereof cannot be provided due to security reasons, it said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI. The Ministry was asked to give detail on hacking of income tax returns filing accounts of individuals and measures being taken by it to check such activities.

Mumbai Police had late last year claimed that e-filing accounts of top industrialists, actors and cricketers including Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, M S Dhoni, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan among others were unauthorisedly accessed. An individual or entity can file income tax returns electronically at www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

"There are mobile applications which are not approved by the Income Tax department. Users are advised that they may not be according to Department Data Structure. Filers using them are doing at their own risk," said a warning on the income tax department's website for e-filing.

As many as 2.96 crore have filed income tax returns online during 2013-14, according to a data available on the website. The Income Tax department is encouraging online filing of tax returns in order to digitise all tax payers related information.

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