The Income Tax department will soon start updating taxpayers about the status of their I-T refunds and processing of certain tax statements by sending real-time SMSes and emails, on similar lines as that of credit card and bank transactions at present.
The department's 'Systems' wing has now deployed a robust software and hardware platform that would host and streamline the personal email IDs and mobile numbers of an individual or any other entity who files an I-T return, electronically or manually. The Central Board of Direct Taxes, the apex authority of the I-T department, has recently notified new rules stating taxpayers filing their returns this year (assessment year 2014-15) will have to mandatorily share their personal email ids and mobile numbers with the department. "The I-T department's central processing centre in Bangalore, henceforth, will send a communication to the taxpayer on the status of refunds or if there is any problem regarding his or her returns filed. The aim is to update and stay in touch with the taxpayer as done by credit card firms and banks," a senior I-T officer involved in the update operations told PTI.
At present, an account holder or credit/debit card owner instantly gets a message if there is a transaction in his or her account or through the e-card. The new measure, the officer said, will make a huge difference in addressing the grievances of taxpayers with regard to refunds and issues in filing of I-T returns. "Once we see that we have the personal email ID and mobile number of any category of taxpayer with us, our technical team will dispatch him the communication straightaway. We, hence, have requested taxpayers to mark the email id and mobile number of the I-T department in their regular inboxes so that such messages are not diverted to the spam boxes," the officer said.
The CBDT, which recently notified the new rules, has said that once the user validates his or her email ID and personal mobile number, the system will automatically send a one-time password to validate these. This protocol is currently operational in the customer banking systems of the country. "Validation of email and mobile numbers has been introduced to facilitate taxpayers as in many cases incorrect emails and mobile numbers have been provided and taxpayers did not receive important communication from the department. "The I-T department requests the cooperation of all taxpayers for completing this validation process at the earliest for a smooth and convenient return filing process," the CBDT said in its latest communication to taxpayers.
A single mobile number or email ID can be used for a maximum of 10 user accounts as the primary contact. "This is to ensure that family members and related business concerns (not exceeding ten separate users) not having personal email or mobile can be covered under a common email or mobile but in general taxpayers should have their own unique email ID and mobile registered with the department," the CBDT said.