It is nice to see this tax-payer friendly action on the part of the Income Tax Department and let us hope that this may be the harbinger of many more good things to come
Hope you filed your income tax return (ITR) by now. The earlier you file your return, quicker you will get the refund, if due to you. If you file your tax returns accurately and with care, chances are that you will get the refund due to you much earlier than last year. Can you believe that this could happen in India? Read further.
A senior citizen conscious of his responsibility to the State, took pains to personally file his income tax return in the last week of July 2015 for the assessment year (AY) 2015-16, i.e. for the fiscal year 2014-2015. The return was filed online on 30 July 2015 claiming a refund of a few thousand rupees, as his bank had levied tax deducted at source (TDS) on his fixed deposit, which he had to claim back from the Income Tax (I-T) department. As a law-abiding citizen, he had filed the return a month earlier, as this year the last date for filing the return had been extended till 31 August 2015.
A week before e-filing the return he had linked his Aadhaar number with his income tax account in the website of the Department on reading from the newspapers that this would facilitate the verification of his tax return as and when it is filed. As soon as he filed the return, there was a pop-up on the computer screen asking him to verify his return through various options including through Aadhaar. Within a few minutes of his clicking the Aadhaar option in the pop-up on the computer screen, he received a one-time password (OTP) on his registered mobile. When he mentioned the OTP on the screen, he instantly received on his computer the income-tax return acknowledgment with a notation “Do not send this acknowledgement to CPC, Bengaluru as the return has been electronically verified.”
This simple step saved him the trouble of physically sending the ITR-V duly signed to the Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bengaluru, by post, as done last year. Thus, ended the onerous task of filing the tax return and he thought that he has now to wait at least for six months, if not more, to get the refund, as he had received a similar refund last year, after about six months of filing the return.
And the wait for refund is over:
Last week, on 20 August 2015, to his great surprise, he received an SMS from the CPC of Income Tax Dept reading as under: “Refund for Ack No. xxxxxxxxx for PAN No.xxxxxxxxxx for AY 2015-16 has been issued by CPC. Kindly check the status on http://tin-nsdl.com
after 3 days.” And on the 21 August 2015, he got another SMS from his bank that his savings bank account has been credited with the refund amount received from the I-T Department. All this happened within 22 days of filing the tax return.
This may appear a miracle, but it did happen in our country. There was neither any influence nor the use of any contacts to get this refund so fast. It really came in the normal course. And I understand that there are a couple of more instances of getting the refund so fast this year. Obviously, the Income Tax department appears to have put its house in order and taken steps to fulfil some of the expectations, if not all, of the tax payers, and this is really commendable.
It is anybody’s guess as to whether this is the new people-friendly face of Indian Income Tax or just a flash in the pan. In any case, it is nice to see this tax-payer friendly action on the part of income tax and let us hope that this may be the harbinger of many more good things to come.
(The author is a financial analyst, writing for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’.)