Bangalore: Millions of taxpayers filing returns online may no longer have to send paper documents to the central processing unit here, with CBDT proposing to introduce electronic verification for such filings, a top official said.
"It (introduction of electronic verification of online income tax returns) is in very advanced stage. Some clearances, some approvals have to be taken. Amendments to the Information Technology Act will be required. Then it will go to Parliament," Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Bangalore-1 K Satyanarayana told reporters here.
The new measure, expected to be operational by September this financial year, will save taxpayers the hassle of sending paper documents by post and tracking its acknowledgement, he added.
Citing the example of how electronic verification of online income tax returns is done in USA, Satyanarayana said amendment to the Information Technology Act would be needed to introduce electronic verification of online income tax returns in India.
At present, two options are available for taxpayers to e-file ITR, either e-file ITR by affixing digital signature or without affixing digital signature.
If the digital signatures are affixed, there is no need to send ITR-V to the I-T department's central processing centre (CPC) in Bangalore. In the other case, the tax payer is required to take a print-out of ITR-V and send it to the I-T department within 120 days of e-filing.
As per the Information Technology Act, a digital signature is equivalent of a physical signature. So, anyone filing returns electronically with digital signature need not send ITR returns form for physical verification.
In 2012-13, a 31 per cent jump was seen in e-filings with 2.14 crore assessees filing returns online as compared to 1.64 crore in 2011-12.
Recently, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has made e-filing mandatory for those with an annual income of Rs 5 lakh or more for the financial year and assessment year 2013-14. The tax department expects a huge surge in the number of online filings.
Satyanarayana said that the department also wants to introduce "new concept of third party validation of utilities developed for e-filing which will avoid mistakes in returns and bring uniformity in the interpretation of tax laws in filing of returns".
First Published: Friday, June 21, 2013, 19:34