TAX NEWS - 2010

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India Tax Return Preparer scheme

Tax Return Preparer (Tax Return Preparer) scheme was initiated by Income Tax Department (ITD) to widen tax base and provide convenience for compliance to tax payers at a nominal fee or no charge. The scheme was introduced in 2007.

The Income Tax Department now wants to give the scheme a needed push. In continuation of the department's effort, Navneet Manohar, joint commissioner of Income Tax, in-charge of resource centre for Tax Return Preparers at Delhi head quarters held a meeting with the Tax Return Preparers of Lucknow and surrounding cities on Friday.

Manohar said that now Tax Return Preparers are authorised to be e-Return Intermediaries (eRIs) for filing returns for assessees in bulk. The Income Tax Department has also appointed two mentors, Meenakshi Singh, additional CIT(I) and Anadi Verma, additional CIT(IV), for Tax Return Preparers at Lucknow. The mentors will have defined responsibilities to extend support to Tax Return Preparers at local levels and to also bridge the gap in communication between the HQ and Tax Return Preparers.

Mentors will formulate ways for extending support like counters during the rush period of last 15 days of due date for filing salary and individual returns, putting up banners for publicity and display list of names and addresses of Tax Return Preparers at various counters in the department to enable assesses contact them.

The official said department wants Tax Return Preparers to adopt various modes that can publicise their services like insertions in newspapers, putting up banners in public places and other techniques for better results in terms of increasing the number of Income Tax Returns filed.

"Tax Return Preparers were motivated to serve clients in a manner that they resolve problems and ensure convenience in extending their services,"said Ujjwal Kapoor, who was termed a successful Tax Return Preparer by the department.

Tax Return Preparers were asked to make use of learning centre on resource portal promoted by the department for them. The Income Tax Department expects Tax Return Preparers to retain clients for service over the years and contribute towards the targeted increase of their ITRs from Rs 50,000 to 5,00,000 in the coming year.

With the last date of filing return for salary earners and non-tax-audit cases, being July 31, the Tax Return Preparers were asked to take advantage of local support that will be extended by the department during July, like separate counter for receipt of returns from Tax Return Preparers. The official said Central and state government departments can avail services of Tax Return Preparers for compliance of TDS return preparation, its filing and also for its employees return filing based on the form 16 issued by them, to confirm that its office is fully tax compliant. TDS return has attained an important factor in electronic process as the credit given for the tax deducted by an employer is based on the return of TDS filed by them and to ensure this a Tax Return Preparer can be the best option. Tax Return Preparers working in Lucknow though do not rate the scheme a big hit with taxpayers, they are of the opinion that efforts taken up by department will help promote it.

"A lot of the scheme's success also depends on Tax Return Preparers themselves", said Chandra Prakash, a Tax Return Preparer working in Lucknow. All that a tax payer has to pay to get his Income Tax Return filed is Rs 250 to a Tax Return Preparer. The fee is same whether a taxpayer calls a Tax Return Preparer at his place or reaches his office.

If the taxpayer comes with all the needed documents to file the return it will not require him to come again and again to the Tax Return Preparer.

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