Income Tax Department opens its first Aayakar Seva Kendra

The Income Tax Department will have at least seven Aayakar Seva Kendras (ASKs), a one-stop computerised shop for the taxpayers to obtain services promised in its citizen's charter, spread across Karnataka by the end of next financial year, said M.L Agrawall, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Bangalore-I.

Two more soon

Inaugurating the State's first ASK here Friday, he said two more ASKs will be opened at Mangalore and Hubli and the remaining centres will be set up in the next financial year. The aim of the Union Ministry of Finance is that every office of the Income Tax Department should have an ASK, which will act as a single window front office for the services.

Taxpayers can walk into the ASK for any service prescribed in the citizen's charter of the department. They can also track the progress of the requisite online.

Pointing out that the ASK has been designed as a people-friendly service, Mr. Agrawall said it is the first in the country with ATM service with provision for payment of tax.

“Once termed as a dreaded office, the department is now offering quality taxpayer services encouraging voluntary compliance to tax laws, and transparency and fairness in administration. ASK will play an important role in having friendly contact with the taxpayer,” he added.

Rise in e-filing

The department is moving towards paperless office as taxpayers are adopting e-filing of income tax returns. “There is almost 100 per cent increase in e-filing of returns. We have received about Rs.1.2 crore e-tax returns this year at the national-level Central Processing Centre (CPC) in Bangalore. We expect this to reach Rs. 2 crore next year,” Mr. Agrawall said.

Cutting delays

Admitting teething problems at the CPC, he said many issues have been sorted out now. “It used to take two years to give tax refund. With e-filing, the delay was brought down to one year. This year, we aim to give it in four months in cases of e-filling of returns.”

The ASK, which became operational at the Unity Buildings Annexe, Mission Road, will serve as a front office for the Income Tax Offices housed in the building for receipt of IT returns and other communications with the department.