IT procedures made easy

KOCHI, JUNE 3. The taxpayer-friendly Online Tax Accounting System (OLTAS), which demystifies tax payment procedures, became operative in the State on Tuesday, along with the rest of the country.

The OLTAS is yet another step towards the ultimate goal of the Income Tax Department to enable taxpayers to e-file their returns and help them pay their dues through the Internet, which could just be a couple of years away, senior officials said here today.

Taxpayers (income, wealth, corporation and other direct taxes) can now go to any of the 31 designated bank branches, or eight RBI centres, and pay their dues by filling a simple challan. The bank will return a stamped counterfoil with a unique challan identification number (CIN) which indicates the name and code of the bank, date of payment and serial number of the challan. Until now, the taxpayers had to go back to the bank for securing an acknowledgement three days after paying the tax. The CIN, which is proof of having paid the tax, should be quoted in the tax return while filing it at the end of the tax year. From now on, the taxpayers need not enclose copies of the challans along with their returns.

Apart from being a huge convenience to the taxpayer, the OLTAS helps the Union Finance Minister to know how much money the Government has in its kitty. Thanks to the new IT-enabled tax accounting procedure, the Finance Minister can find the total tax receipts until up to three days before. Till now, he can find the outstanding only up to three months before. Also, the Income Tax Department could now monitor the tax receipts on a day-to-day basis. This would facilitate better finance management of the Government.

The new procedure is an upshot of the computerisation and modernisation of the tax collection and processing initiative started a few years ago.

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