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Agents of NRIs exempted from e-filing of returns
September, 24th 2008

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday exempted agents of non-resident Indians from mandatory e-filing of income tax returns. The board had, in March 2008, notified new forms for different categories of taxpayers for assessment year 2008-09.

It was provided in rule 12 of the I-T Rules, 1962, that a firm required to furnish the return in Form ITR-5 and to whom provisions of section 44AB are applicable, and a company required to furnish the return in Form ITR-6, shall compulsorily furnish the return of income electronically for assessment year 2008-09. However, the agents of non-residents, within the meaning of section 160(1)(i) of the Income Tax Act, are facing difficulties in electronically furnishing the returns of non-residents as they may have more than one agent.

Some non-residents in India have different agents for different transactions or a person in India may be agent for more than one non-resident. Such situations are not covered by the existing software, which functions on the principle of one assessee - one PAN - one return.

Accordingly, CBDT has decided that it will not be mandatory for agents of non-residents, within the meaning of section 160(1)(i) of the Income Tax Act, to electronically furnish the returns of non-residents for assessment year 2008-09, a statement said.

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