Do you get a headache trying to fill your income-tax return form? Dont fret. The I-T department has readied a force of 3,737 young graduates, who will help you file returns without having to leave your home.
It is an attempt by the income-tax department to deliver services to its constituents right at their doorstep, at no or marginal cost, finance minister P Chidambaram said at a convocation ceremony for these graduates or tax return preparers (TRPs).
The TRPs have been trained by NIIT in partnership with the I-T department. The course content for the training was provided by Taxmann. The department will not only be able to generate employment through this unique initiative, but also increase the number of assessees.
TRPs, who would help the department get new assessees to file returns, will be incentivised. They will get commission from the department to help new taxpayers file returns for three years. They could also charge up to Rs 250 as service fee from old assessees.
The government would also assist them in taking loans from banks to buy computers for their work, the FM said, adding the department would launch an advertising campaign to popularise the scheme.
Mr Chidambaram hoped other institutions, such as insurance companies and banks, would employ TRPs to sell their products. The tax preparer scheme was announced in Budget 2006-07, with several motives, including increasing taxes. The minister said TRPs, who will be an extended arm of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, should be able to deter people from evading taxes and increase compliance.
Mr Chidambaram asserted that tax return forms in India were among the simplest in the world and it was incorrect to say these were outdated and complex. Referring to the new tax forms, he said ITR-1, meant for individual tax payers, was among the simplest tax return forms and easier than the previous Saral form. He said the new income-tax code will be out before the end of this year.