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Salaried tax payers to get SMS alerts on TDS deductions

As many as 2.5 crore salaried tax payers will now receive SMS alerts from the Income Tax department regarding their quarterly TDS deductions.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today launched the SMS alert service for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) for salaried class and the CBDT will soon offer this facility on a monthly basis.

Briefing reporters about the facility, Jaitley said salaried class cannot afford to pay tax twice or indulge in litigations and hence they should be kept updated about their TDS deductions.

“Hence tax payers will benefit if they receive information through use of technology. So they can match the office salary slip and the SMS and at the end of the fiscal he will be clear about any possible tax dues,” Jaitley said.

He asked the CBDT to work towards making the grievance redressal system for TDS mismatch online so that there is no interface between the tax payer and the tax department.

Jaitley said e-Nivaran is working well for tax payers and the CBDT is taking several tax payer friendly initiatiave.

The CBDT will soon extend this SMS facility to another 4.4 crore non-salaried tax payers.

“The frequency of SMS alerts will be increased, once the process for filing TDS returns is stremlined to receive such information on a real time basis,” the CBDT said.

CBDT Chairperson Rani Singh Nair said the tax department is encouraging people to register their mobile number on the e-filing website.

She said tax payer will initially receive a welcome message from the CBDT informing him about the facility and after that each assessee would be sent messages informing them about their respective TDS deductions.

The new step is an effort by the I-T department to directly communicate deposit of tax deducted through SMS alerts to salaried tax payers. In case of a mismatch, they can contact their deductor for necessary correction.

Besides, SMS alerts will also be sent to deductors who have either failed to deposit taxes deducted ot to e-file their TDS returns by the due date.

Source: The Economic Times

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Release of new functionality to taxpayers to secure their E-filing account

The Income Tax Department has from time to time issued advisories regarding the need to avoid phishing emails and to carefully protect the passwords, OTPs and not share them with others.

In order to ensure that taxpayers are able to secure their E-filing account against any fraudulent attempts, the Income Tax Department has introduced a new facility called the E-filing Vault. In order to use this facility, taxpayers can log in to their E-filing Account and under their profile page select E-filing Vault – higher security.

Taxpayers can then select to login with any one or multiple options of the higher security methods namely – using Aadhaar linkage to generate OTP, Login through Net-Banking or Login using Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). Once this has been done, any future attempt to login will require the additional check of OTP using Aadhaar or the taxpayers will have to login using net banking or login using DSC. By using this facility, taxpayers can prevent anyone from logging in even if in the past they shared the user id and password. The dual factor authorization ensures higher degree of security compared to the simple User id and Password.

Similarly, taxpayers can also select how their password can be reset. Once the taxpayer has selected reset password using any one or multiple options of the higher security methods namely – using Aadhaar linkage to generate OTP, Login through Net-Banking or Login using Digital Signature Certificate (DSC), then no other person will be able to reset taxpayer’s password even if the secret answer or E-filing OTP etc is known.

Additional EVC options using ATM, Bank Account Validation or Demat Account Validations are shortly going to be introduced and these options will also be available for the higher level of security for login as well as resetting of password.

Income Tax Department strongly advises all taxpayers to use a strong password (combination of at least one uppercase, one special character and one numeral) and select the E-filing Vault option to add an additional layer of security to the their E-filing Account to login and resetting of password .

Source: Business Standard

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Budget 2016: Eight takeaways for individual taxpayers

Although FM Jaitley did not make any changes to the tax slabs in this year’s budget, he had a suitcase full of small changes that will make a significant impact to your tax outgo in 2016-17.

Here is a quick list of 8 major announcements he made in his 1 hour 42 minutes speech that will affect your pocket.

1. INCREASE IN TAX REBATE: Those earning below Rs 5lakhs to save an additional Rs 3,000 in taxes. Tax rebate under Section 87A has been raised from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000. Effectively, this means now the basic exemption is of Rs 3 lakh.

2. HOME LOANS: First home buyers to get additional deduction of Rs 50,000. However, this benefit is only for loans up to Rs 35 lakhs where the cost of house is less than Rs 50 lakh.

3. PENSION SCHEMES: Withdrawal from NPS corpus of up to 40% at the time of retirement has been made tax exempt. Similarly, in case of superannuation funds and recognized provident funds, including EPF, the same norm of 40% of corpus to be tax free will apply in respect of corpus created out of contributions made after 1 April 2016. Further, the annuity fund which goes to the legal heir after the death of pensioner will not be taxable in all three cases. The FM has alsoreduced the service tax on Single premium Annuity (Insurance) Policies from 3.5% to 1.4% of the premium paid.

4. SMALL BUSINESS, FREELANCERS AND PROFESSIONALS: The limit of turnover under the presumptive taxation scheme revised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore for medium or small enterprises. So, anyone with a business of Rs 2 crore can presume that an income of 8% and would not require to maintain books, profit & loss statements or audits. As per Section 44AD of the Income-Tax Act, under the presumptive method, the tax liability is calculated on the basis of a ‘presumed business income’, irrespective of what your actual income may be.

Moreover, Section 44AD now extended to Professionals as well. This frees them from burden of books of accounts and getting audit done. Professionals with gross receipts up to Rs 50 lakh can now avail this benefit by paying tax at 50% of gross receipts.

This is a significant development for small enterprises and professionals such as lawyers and doctors, interior designers etc. “Instead of filing the cumbersome ITR-4, they can file a much simpler 3-pages long ITR 4S.

5. NRIs: As recommended by The Easwar committee, now NRIs who do not have PAN cards would not be subjected to a higher TDS of 20% if they submit Tax Identification Number.

6. TAX DECLARATION WINDOW: A limited period Compliance Window for domestic taxpayers will be created between 1 June to30th September to declare undisclosed income or income. To clear up their past tax transgressions taxpayers will have to pay tax at 30%, and surcharge at 7.5% and penalty at 7.5%, which is a total of 45% of the undisclosed income. They will have to pay up the taxes within two months of declaration. There will be no scrutiny or enquiry regarding income declared in these declarations under the Income Tax Act or the Wealth Tax Act and the declarants will have immunity from prosecution. Immunity from Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 will also be providd. The surcharge levied at 7.5% of undisclosed income will be called Krishi Kalyan surcharge to be used for agriculture and rural economy.

7. CATEGORISED PENALTIES: The penalties will be steeper for tax evaders. FM plans to modify the entire scheme of penalty by providing different categories of misdemeanor with graded penalty and thereby substantially reducing the discretionary power of the tax officers. The penalty rates will now be 50% of tax in case of underreporting of income and 200% of tax where there is misreporting of facts. Currently, the Income-tax Officer has discretion to levy penalty at the rate of 100% to 300% of tax sought to be evaded.

8. CAR, CLOTHES AND CIGARETTES TO COST MORE: The FM has proposed a tax at source at the rate of 1% on purchase of luxury cars exceeding value of Rs. 10 lakh and purchase of goods and services in cash exceeding Rs. 2 lakh. An infrastructure cess of 1% on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars, 2.5% on diesel cars of certain capacity and 4% on other higher engine capacity vehicles and SUVs will also be levied.

The excise duty on branded readymade garments and other items made of textiles with a retail sale price of Rs 1,000 and cigarettes along with other tobacco products (other than beedi) has also been increased.

Source: The Economic Times

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CBDT notifies procedure for email communication between taxman and taxpayer

The CBDT has notified the format and procedure for the taxman and taxpayers to usher in an ambitious pilot project of using emails as the new mode of communication between the two sides, as part of the government’s bid to reduce grievances of the tax-paying public.

An official notification has been issued which spells out the procedure, formats and standards for ensuring “secured transmission” of emails between the Assessing Officer (AO) of the IT department and the assessee stating all communication between the two sides will be done through PDF file format and over bonafide email ids.

The new notification is a follow up of an amendment made by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in the Income Tax Act in December last year, which allowed emails to become the new mode of interaction tool between the AO and the tax-paying individual.

Under the new procedures, the taxman will send emails, for issuing notices and summons, through the government registered ‘@incometax.gov.in’ email domain and the attached PDF document will have his or her designation and signature.

In response to such an IT notice, a taxpayer will have to use his registered email id with the department to submit the details called for, in a PDF format.

“In case the total size of the attachments exceed 10 MB then the assessee shall split the attachment and send in as many emails as may be required to adhere to the limit of attachment size of 10 MB per email,” the CBDT notification issued yesterday said.

It said, “any email, in response to the notice issued by the AO, received from the primary email address of the assessee shall be considered as a valid response to the notice”.

The CBDT, in the same notification, has also mandated that the taxman will maintain an audit trail of all this e-communication with a taxpayer in the central database of the IT department for future reference and as a record management of the entire transaction.

The new directives also allow a taxpayer to physically submit the reply of such e-notices in case there is a technical problem in their email like a situation of email failure or a full mailbox.

“This shall be treated as adequate compliance,” it said.

The CBDT said these procedures are “applicable to the assessment proceedings in respect of select non-corporate assessees as part of the pilot project on paperless assessment proceedings and can be extended to other assessees or other proceedings as may be notified by the board subsequently.”

The department to reduce the taxpayers’ visit to the IT office had launched the ‘pilot’ project in this regard late last year and the first set of e-communications were decided to be mailed to 100 chosen people each in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai regions.

This was done after the CBDT had asked the department to “initiate the concept of using email for corresponding with taxpayers and sending through emails the questionnaire, notice etc at the time of scrutiny proceedings and getting responses from them”.

“This would eliminate the necessity of visiting the Income Tax offices by the taxpayers, particularly in smaller cases, involving limited issues and where taxpayer is able to provide details required by the Assessing Officer (AO) without necessitating his physical presence,” the order had said.

Source: Economic Times

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