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The Income Tax Department on Monday launched an app that allows entities track TDS, pay taxes and apply for permanent account number (PAN). It will also help people link their 12-digit biometric identifier Aadhaar with PAN card. The mobile app ‘Aaykar Setu’, launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, literally means taxpayer’s bridge and will be available in Android phones. “This is a very important step forward by the CBDT and the principle reason being technology as a very powerful tool becomes an enabler. (With the app) most of the work the assessee can discharge without any external help sitting at home,” the minister said.
The app is in the series of actions taken by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to provide better taxpayer services and reduce grievances. The new initiative is a step by the I-T department to directly communicate with the taxpayers on a range of multiple informative and useful tax services aimed at providing tax information at their fingertips. This is the first mobile app by the CBDT and can be downloaded by giving missed calls to 7306525252. The CBDT will also activate the option of filing tax returns using the mobile app in the coming months.
The module compiles various tax tools, live chat facility, dynamic updates, and important links to various processes within the I-T department in a single module. The taxpayers will also be able to receive regular updates regarding important tax dates, forms and notifications on mobile numbers registered with the ITD.
All taxpayers who wish to receive such SMS alerts are advised to register their mobile numbers in the Aaykar Setu module. “The app reduces the physical interface between assessing officer (AO) and assessees. Physical interface has many unintended consequences – it is time consuming and can lead to improprieties,” Jaitley said.
The tax department, he said, has endeavoured to reduce interface and a lot of it has already happened. “It has become far more convenient. Secondly, it also makes compliance far more easy.”
“It also helps us in improving the image of the department. For the reason that one of the not so acceptable alibis given by those who don’t comply is we don’t comply because the harassment that compliance involves. Not that this reason has much reason in it, but today this reason gets eliminated more the interface is reduced,” he said. Jaitley said an external audit must be done to see how much of the interface has been reduced and which are the other areas where it can be done.