Advent of Technology in Income Tax Return Filing

With the advancement in technology and user friendly electronic devices, many sectors in Indian Government have become more efficient and this in turn has led to the convenience and increase in satisfaction of the people. Government job applications, railway ticket bookings, judiciary department, road transport, etc have shown a significant improvement in service with the advent of technology and its proper use.

Another area that has shown a noteworthy increase in services and convenience is the Income Tax department of India with the introduction of e-filing of taxes. This medium of tax-filing came into existence from September 2004 and since then it has undergone many significant improvements in light of the response from the masses. From July 2006, it became mandatory for all corporate firms to file their income tax returns electronically and from 2013 every individual tax payer can benefit from this system irrespective of their category of earning.

Though, a taxpayer can still file his returns in the old fashion, electronic filing has eliminated a lot of tedious and time consuming activities including the calculation of taxes. The website is extremely user-friendly and shows a step by step procedure for filing taxes along with calculating taxes online. It has also converted the paper trail into e-files that requires minimal storage space. Every taxpayer can benefit from this system either by filing his return personally or with the help of a tax professional without any hassles.

Just to provide an insight on the scenario, the following are the highlights of e-filing taxes:

· Various electronic forms to file taxes by individuals, companies, cooperative societies etc are available on the website with detailed information and guides to fill up each of these forms. These forms can be downloaded, filled and e-filed on the e-filing portal with ease making the tax filing procedure completely electronic.

· Tax payers can pay their taxes securely as the portal uses encrypted software for money transactions.

· E-filing ensures the information of the tax payers pertaining to bank accounts and personal details remain shielded from public view. With e-filing, the taxpayer enjoys full privacy unlike in the case of paper filing where these sensitive details pass through many hands and have many risks.

· Clarity in information, faster processing time, instant acknowledgement of the file and referring past records become extremely easy with this electronic system. Every aspect of the e-filing portal is aimed to make the user independent. Once the registration process for a taxpayer is completed, following the instructions chronologically on the website makes it easy for the payee to complete the procedure.

· Calculation of taxes is incredibly dull and if there are many complex dealings involved, like in cases involving income from business or income from external sources, then the procedure becomes too tiring. The web portal has an online tax calculator that will easily lay out the accurate amount of taxes to be paid without involving any external parties like tax professional firms and this can save you a lot of money. Corporates and companies can benefit by in-house filing of taxes eliminating the expenditure on professional help from tax firms. However a tax audit report from a recognised government official is essential before e-filing taxes for business organisations.

· One of the features that help the tax payer to file the return without any errors is the acknowledgement system. Without proper and relevant information the system will not process or complete the filing of the taxpayer; it helps in maintaining transparency of records. Also any number of mistakes can be corrected before you e-file your return without any notification from the tax officials. The receipt of acknowledgement is almost instant and this saves time and energy on the part of the tax payer.

· Refunds gets processed faster since there is no need for calculation as the system does the work on real time basis and this assures quick returns as compared to paper filing.

Since its introduction, the tax collection in India has seen an approximate overall increase by 10% as compared to the earlier filing methods. The growth is steady and more and more people are getting acquainted with the system. The tax department has also taken initiatives to improve this facility for the satisfaction of the masses and the future will see many significant improvements.

E-filing definitely has improved the quality of life of the taxpayer and in turn increased the revenue. The future of India benefits from this enterprise by spreading awareness to the people in a very simplistic manner and encouraging them to discharge their duties effortlessly.