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Difficulties in Filing Acknowledgement of Income Tax Return

Difficulties in Filing Acknowledgement of Income Tax Return

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Published by Canute Fernandes

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Published by: Canute Fernandes on Aug 29, 2010
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08/29/2010

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The process of electronically filing Income tax returns through the internet isknown as e-filing and is meant to ensure saving of time and paperwork fortaxpayers. It is mandatory for companies and Firms requiring statutory auditu/s 44AB to submit the Income tax returns electronically for AY 2009-10. E-filing is possible with or without digital signature.There are three ways to file returns electronically.
Option 1: Use digital signature, in which case no further action isrequired.
Option 2: File without digital signature, in which case ITR-V form is tobe filed with the department. This is a single page receipt cum verificationform.
Option 3: File through an e-return intermediary who would do eFilingand also assist the Assessee file the ITR -V Form.In option 2 & option 3 Assessee need to file Acknowledgement of IT dulysigned by him within 60 days from the return filing date or September 30,whichever is laterat centralprocessing center of Income Taxdepartment situated by ordinary post at Post Bag No.1, Electronic City PostOffice, Bengaluru, Karnataka-560100. Now there is some relief for peoplelooking at this route for filing their returns, but this could well turn out to betemporary.PROCESSThe e-return filing process starts with the taxpayer filling in various detailsusing the software provided by the tax department. The file, along with thenecessary data relating to the income, is then transmitted online to thetax authorities and an acknowledgement-cum-verification form is generated.The physical process starts after this for a lot of people. Since the return isfilled in online, this requires a digital signature. In case of a physical return,the taxpayer will sign the return form and then present it but this is notpossible online, so the authentication is done throughthe digitalsignature route.But, every person and especially small taxpayers do not have a digitalsignature and for those who do not, this there is an additional action tocomplete the process. These taxpayers have to send the physical copy of the
 
acknowledgement to thetax authoritieswithin a specified period of time, in aspecific manner. If this is not done, then it will be considered that the payerhas not filed the tax return. So, a slip at this stage can render the entireprocess worthless.PROBLEMS IN THE PROCESSCertain problems arise in the physical process of sending across the copy of the acknowledgement. This happens due to a few factors. The first thing isthat the copy has to be sent only to the Bangalore office address of thedepartment that has been specified. If sent to any other office, it will not bevalid. And, sent by ordinary post only; speed post, registered post or courier isnot allowed. If sent through these other modes, the return will not beaccepted.Which means the taxpayer has no proof that the post has actuallyreached the tax department, which causes worry?The time allowed for thetaxpayer originally was 30 days from the day of filing the return detailsonline.CHANGE IMPACTA change has been announced by the tax department and this deals with thetime allowed for sending the copy to them. This applies for all the returns filedelectronically after April 1. For all these returns, the copy of theacknowledgement has to be received by the tax department within 60days from the return filing date or September 30, whichever is later.This means the period for receipt of the copy has now been increased to atleast 60 days. For a person filing the e-return on August 20, the limit willbe 60 days after this, while for someone filing the return on July 15, the limitwill be September 30. This gives a slightly longer time period for completingthe requirement and helps on the worry if the copy gets delayed in the post.For those who have already filed their returns online, this change is alsoimportant, given the extension of the time limit.The relief available could well turn out to be temporary, as the other issues onlossof receiptin transit and absence of knowledge as to whether theacknowledgement has reached does not go away. Further, the physical copystill has to be sent to Bangalore and not at the regional or other centre. Formany, these issues will play a pivotal role in their final decision

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