Special Correspondent

They will assist in filing Income Tax returns

CHENNAI: In accordance with Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's initiative, `taxpayer help centres' were set up last year by the Income Tax Department.

The centres will start functioning from June 15 to help small taxpayers during this year.

Giving details of the help centres, Santhosh Datta, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Chennai, told presspersons that 7 centres would function between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

They will also stay open on Saturdays also. Officials would provide professional service on tax related matters by trained IT officials.

The centres will function till August 15 and also from March 1 to March 31.

The help centres, which are a joint public-private effort would help small taxpayers such as traders, vegetable vendors, and those engaged in small time businesses. These centres located outside the Income Tax office premises with the assistance of the local trade associations are easily accessible to small tax-payers.

`Reaching the unreached'

Pointing out that the Income Tax Department was "reaching the unreached" through these help centres, Mr. Datta made it clear that they were not meant for corporate tax-payers and also not meant to be grievance redressal cells.

"Those who have any grievances should approach the concerned local Income Tax office only for redressing their grievances. However, unlike last year, the centres will also cater to the salaried class and pensioners as well," Mr. Datta added.

He said the centres will also assist small tax-payers in filing up IT returns, filling up challans for tax payments, applying for Permanent Account Number (PAN), verifying PAN computation of taxable income and similar other problems.

The Chief Commissioner said the seven help centres would function at the following places: Arcot Road near Spencers Daily, Chennai (Tel: 24862686 or 24868161), Valasaravakkam, Nadigar Sangam Building, Chennai (28345626 or 28345636), Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturers' Association Technology Centre, Ambattur (26257171 or 26246161), Mudichur Road, Tambaram (22263958 or 22262929), Traders Association, Cuddalore, Officers Line, Vellore (0416-2232469), and Chamber de Commerce, Pondicherry.

When asked whether these centres would assist the tax-payers to fill up the new four page Saral form, Mr. Datta said the officials have been directed to do so. However, he refused to comment on the controversy surrounding the new form. "The IT Department is here to execute the instructions given by the Union Finance Ministry", Mr. Datta added.