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Hide and seek with taxpayers
August, 03rd 2007

Post-offices, which, it was announced with a lot of fanfare last year, would be a convenient point for filing income-tax returns, played hide and seek this time. First, the tax administration went on record wanting to discontinue this facility because of acceptance by the clerks at post-offices of even incomplete returns last year.

The Finance Minister disowned post-offices for another reason; last year, they were roped in because of labour trouble in the Tax Department.

Be that as it may, some post-offices in New Delhi started accepting the returns belatedly without due publicity, only to back out during the crucial days beginning July 27. The tax administration, perhaps in its new obsession with TRPs, wanted to downplay the post-office facility if only to bolster the fortunes of the new kids on the block, the TRPs.

One hopes from next year post-offices come to stay as filing points for filing returns. If Mr Lalu Yadav can entrust them with the task of selling rail tickets, the Finance Ministry should take full advantage of their easy accessibility and equip their staff with adequate training to accept correctly completed returns.

S.Murlidharan

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