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e-filing of Income-Tax returns
June, 09th 2009

Planning a holiday abroad? May be you would like to consider filing your Income tax Return for this year electronically.

If the Income Tax department is encouraging filing of returns by assesses electronically, financial intermediaries are making it attractive by throwing in offers such as eligibility to win a free holiday for two to London, if one filed an e-return through them.

"With the introduction of digital signature, filing Income Tax return electronically has become completely safe and simple, and more and more people are opting for filing returns online," Ravi Jagannathan, managing director of 3iInfotech Limited, one of the intermediaries that help you file returns electronically, told TOI.

Until last year, an individual filing I-T return online had to eventually submit its print physically to the authorities. With the advent of digital signatures the return has become completely tamper-proof. "Besides, increased access to computers and the Internet, has encouraged tax payers to file returns online," Jagannathan said.

Electronic filing of Income Tax returns has been with us for some time. According to Income tax statistics, as many as 3 crore returns were filed in assessment year (AY) 2007-08 out of which 10 lakh (3.62 per cent) were filed electronically. The number jumped to 27 lakh in 2008-09 in which year 3.7 crore returns were filed. In percentage terms, the numbers shot to 7.30 per cent. It is estimated that the number of e-returns would rise to 45 lakh this year (2009-10), which will be 10 per cent of the 4.5 crore returns expected to be filed and 82 lakh (15 per cent) out of 5.5 crore expected in 2010-11.

Jagannathan's company has been mustering increasing number of registrations. "Last year, we had a cumulative registration of 2,00,000 of which 60,000 actually filed returns through us," he informed.

He added that Income Tax authorities have also done away with submission of any documents with e-returns and have been accepting the returns as filed. "The assessing authorities will ask an assessee to submit original documents only in case of suspicion or obvious discrepancy," he said.

Income Tax advisor Rajendra Patwardhan said there is an increase in filing of e-returns because a large number of people working in information technology and services sector have come into tax bracket. "They are technically savvy and with the additional comfort of confidentiality and security of information, they have no problems filing returns electronically," he said.

Patwardhan, however, said the self-filing provided by I-T department's website does not have any guidance as to how to calculate the tax liability and which details to furnish. Jagannathan adds that intermediaries offer full advice to a customer, who has to submit the bare details about his earnings in a particularly. Such service will bring home the full benefit of e-filing of returns to an assessee, he said.

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