Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two more process centres coming to improve taxpayer services

The Central Board of Direct Taxes plans to set up two more central processing centres (CPC) — one each in Ahmedabad and Faridabad (National Capital Region) — to improve taxpayer service, the CBDT Chairman, Mr S. S. N. Moorthy, said here today.

The Income-Tax Department has already set up a CPC in Bangalore. This CPC is being used to process all electronic returns filed from across the country and all those paper returns filed throughout Karnataka. It is also processing TDS returns besides other returns of income.

Instances of delay in refunds would be reduced once the Bangalore CPC becomes fully functional, Mr Moorthy told media persons on the sidelines of an Assocham seminar on tax deduction at source (TDS) here on Wednesday.

Last year, there had been mismatches of TDS credits, which have now been taken care of, according to Mr Moorthy. “We have given instructions for rectifications of these cases and also speedy processing of returns,” he said.

TDS tutorial

The Income-Tax Department hopes to become much more efficient this year to meet the service expectations of the taxpayers and citizens, Mr Durgesh Shankar, CBDT Member (Revenue), said.

As part of taxpayer education on the TDS provisions, the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had on May 8 uploaded a TDS tutorial on to the Web site of the Income-Tax Department. “I am not saying it is absolutely exhaustive, but the dos and don'ts, what is the law, how do you apply for TAN …We hope that this will be made good use of,” Mr Shankar said.

Meanwhile, the CBDT Chairman made it clear that there was “no legal lacuna” in stipulating a higher TDS rate of 20 per cent on payments made to non-residents who do not have or furnish PAN numbers to the deductor.

With most tax treaties providing for withholding at 5 per cent or ten per cent, there were doubts on whether the new requirement of TDS at 20 per cent are tantamount to overriding of Treaty provisions. “I don't see any legal lacuna in this,” Mr Moorthy told Business Line.

TDS 40 pc of total direct tax proceeds

TDS has become an important component of the Centre's revenue mop-up efforts. In 2009-10, the total TDS collections stood at Rs 1.53 lakh crore, accounting for close to 40 per cent of the total direct tax collections of Rs 3.78 lakh crore (provisional) for that year. In 2004-05, the TDS component was 33 per cent of the total direct tax collections.

Mr Moorthy said the Income-Tax Department was yet to arrive at final figure of direct tax collections for 2009-10. “The final figures will be available in mid-May when all the transactions are compiled. As on date, we are somewhere around Rs 3.78 lakh crore,” he said.