NEW DELHI: Now, you may get your PAN card in four hours with the tax department planning a string of reform measures such as pre-filled returns which would need to be endorsed by an assessee and faster processing of returns, a tax official said on Tuesday.
Addressing an industry conference, Sushil Chandra, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the department has taken recourse to technology and automation in several areas such as pre-payment of taxes, filing of returns, refunds, case selection and finalisation of cases for scrutiny, among others. The allotment of PAN in four hours is expected to start within a year.
He said the returns form has also been simplified and processing of refunds has been frontloaded to facilitate ease of doing business. Chandra said assesses no longer need to be in fear of scrutiny as the process has been made non-discretionary based on technology and e-assessment. “Less than 0.5% of cases have been brought under scrutiny which should provide comfort to assesses,” he said.
CBDT chairman exuded confidence that the revenue department would achieve direct tax collection target of Rs 11.5 lakh cr for current financial year ending March, 2019. “Demonetisation has been very good for increasing the tax base of the country. This year, we have already got around 6.08 cr income tax returns, which is 50% higher than last year,” he said.
The number of people filing income tax returns has increased by 50% to 6.08 crore so far in the assessment year 2018-19 compared to the year-ago period, Chandra said. However, he did not mention the exact date when the filings touched 6.08 crore.
The CBDT chief came out strongly in favour of strict enforcement of tax laws and said the government would consider reducing tax rates in case there is better tax compliance. Elaborating on the issue, he said that at a time when industry desired lower tax rates in line with global practices, the mentality should be comparable with international standards when it comes to payment of taxes.
Chandra was confident about meeting the direct target of Rs 11.5 lakh crore set for the current fiscal year and said demonetisation had hel-ped in widening and deepening the tax base. “Our gross direct tax growth rate is 16.5% and net direct tax growth rate is 14.5%, which itself shows that demonetisation has really helped in widening and deepening of tax base,” he said.
Chandra said there are about 70 countries from whom there is automatic exchange of information. “And we have started acting on it. If any person has not given detail about any foreign assets or foreign bank account in his income tax return, the department is taking action on this,” he said.