Income Tax Returns: Filing tax returns can be simpler with professional help
August, 07th 2012
The deadline extension for filing tax returns has come as a great relief to many salaried professionals who were struggling to file their returns online. The income tax department has extended the deadline for filing tax returns by a month to August 31, after the power failure in north India last week coincided with the original deadline of July 31. The CBDT has made it mandatory for individuals earning an annual salary of 10 lakh and above to file their tax returns online from this year, and most individuals are still grappling with the technicalities of tax jargon and the process of filing the returns online. "Even a tech-savvy individual may face difficulty in online filing of taxes if he/she has a complicated return to file. Many individuals lack the knowledge of different kinds of income that need to be reported on the ITR," says Sudhir Kaushik, CFO and co-founder of TaxSpanner.com, an ITR filing portal.
"There can be multiple sources of income such as house property, capital gains from sale of old property or shares, housing loan tax benefits on twin share basis, etc. It becomes very difficult to understand the exact tax liability. Moreover, this is the first year when e-filing has been made compulsory for a certain section of the taxpayers, hence such hiccups are very much possible," he adds.
However, if you find the whole exercise of e-filing rather baffling, you can opt for tax consultants, backed by the government as well as private, who can file the return on your behalf.
Tax Return Preparers or TRPs
"Individuals who are not tech savvy can avail the services of tax return preparers (TRPs) who are registered professionals and assist individuals/HUFs to file their tax returns," says Amarpal S Chadha, tax partner, Ernst & Young. Further, the income tax department has recently introduced two new initiatives - "Register for Home Visit" and "Online Tax Help" for helping/resolving taxpayer queries. Both the initiatives have been introduced under the TRP scheme. Tax return preparers are registered professionals who with the support of the government assist individuals/HUFs to file their tax returns.
"These services have been introduced with the intention of resolving tax payers' queries either online or through a face-to-face meeting. This will also help in reducing the cost of compliance for taxpayers." adds Amarpal S Chadha.
An individual who wishes to avail the services of TRPs must visit the concerned website www.trpscheme.com and can avail the help of trained professionals. Individuals who choose the option of online tax help needs to fill in his tax query along with his contact details. This online query will be answered by the tax experts through email or phone within 24 hours. "Individuals who choose to register for a home visit needs to indicate in brief what help is required as well as the convenient date and time when the TRP can visit them for assistance. The queries are forwarded by the helpdesk to the nearest available TRP and the appointments are also fixed over the phone," Chadha adds.
The home visit facility is currently available in Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi and Patna. This service is expected to be extended to other cities in the next phase. To use the TRP scheme, taxpayers will have to log on to www.trpscheme.com and locate the nearest TRP in his/her locality.