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e-returns: Rs 15k cr refunds held up
July, 09th 2007
Being tech savvy can have a flip as many taxpayers are realising.E-filing of income-tax returns launched last year with fanfare has landed a large number of taxpayers, both individuals and companies, in a spot. Their returns have not been processed, holding up taxrefunds to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore.

Its not just e-filed returns where processing has not been completed, income-taxreturns filed in post offices too have metthe same fate.E-filed returns have to be downloaded before they are processed, and thats where the problem lies, a government source said, adding the department officials were facing immense problems in downloading the forms.

However, he said, efforts were being made to expedite the processing.A software takes time to stabilise, so is the case with this one, an official said.E-filing of income-tax returns was

made mandatory for companies last year while it was optional for other taxpayers. However, with July 31 the last date for filing returns for individuals drawing near, e-filing could go out of favour. Corporates, however, do not have muchchoice in this regard.

Taxpayers, both individuals and companies, had great expectations from the government regarding speedier processing of returns and refunds. It looks like the department is not adequately geared up for this season as well, Ernst & Young partner Amitabh Singh said.

The filing of income-tax returns witnessed a whopping growth in 2006-07.More than 1.26 crore individuals filedtheir income-tax returns against 77 lakhin 2005-06. Nearly 4 lakh individualsused the post-office facility to file returns.E-filing, formally launched on October 13, 2006, met with a huge success.

The number of income-tax returns filed by corporates till the last date of November 30, 2006, was 2,88,471 compared to 2,01,059 filed till October 30, 2005. The number increased to 3.2 lakh till March 31, 2007.

It may be pointed out the e-filing software had witnessed technical hiccups following which the deadline was extended by a month.
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