AFTER tying up with banks for providing tax deducted at source (TDS) details through internet banking and payment of tax at ATMs (automated teller machines), the income tax department is planning to take the convergence of banking and tax services to the next level. The department plans to give taxpayers the facility of applying for tax refunds and tax credits through ATMs.
Taxpayers will also be able to check the status of their refund applications at ATMs. They will also be able to spot mistakes they may have made while filing for refunds/credits. In future, taxpayers may also be allowed to file returns through the banking channel. “The revenue department plans to expand collaboration with banks. Taxpayers will be able to apply for refunds and get them through ATMs.
They may also be allowed to file returns through ATMs. The idea is in initial stages, but some Nordic countries such as Sweden have already implemented it,” a finance ministry official told Business Standard . The department expects these measures to increase tax compliance and collections, besides making the interface between the government and taxpayers more efficient and transparent. For this, the department is ramping up its information technology (IT) infrastructure.
The finance ministry has approved the setting up of two special purpose vehicles. One is called the Goods and Services Tax. The second is called the Tax Information Network. While the government will concentrate on policy formulation and enforcement, the NIUs will focus on implementation of IT systems.
The revenue department has already allowed banks to display Form 26AS of taxpayers on their internet banking portals. FORM 26AS IS a consolidated statement of a financial year and has details of TDS, tax collected at source and advance tax/self-assessment tax/regular assessment tax deposited in the bank. It also includes refunds received during a financial year. The form is available only from assessment year 2005-06. The facility of paying income tax through ATMs, launched earlier this year, is being provided by many banks, including Oriental Bank of Commerce, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Axis Bank. Most were already accepting tax payments at their branches and portals.