New Delhi: Every district of the country will soon have at least one trained personnel to assist small taxpayers in filing ITRs, with the Income Tax Department proposing to appoint 7,600 additional experts whose services will also be available on mobile application.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making body of the tax department, has decided to enlarge the ambit of the 2006 Tax Return Preparer Scheme (TRPS) by making the service "digital" and covering all the 708 districts of the country.
"It is proposed to provide sufficient number of Tax Return Preparers (TRPs) in every district by scaling up of number of TRPs from a total 5,400 to 13,000 in the country," according to an I-T department blueprint, accessed by PTI. "It is proposed that every district in the country should have at least three TRPs," it added.
A senior official working on the project said the aim was to ensure hassle-free and 'from home' tax filing service to assessees without they taking pains to go to a Chartered Accountant or a person who has expertise in filing tax returns.
“Filing an ITR is still not easy for many people. The TRP Scheme was launched about a decade ago with this fact in mind and the view that such services should be available at a low cost to tax payers,” an officer said.
"At present, not every district in the country has a TRP. With the expansion of the tax base over the years and government's directive to enhance tax payer services, the new plan has been envisaged," the officer added. He said, "7,600 new TRPs will be trained and appointed by the tax department."
Under the new digital plan for the scheme, he said, a taxpayer will be able to find his nearest TRP by logging on to the soon-to-be-launched 'Aaykar Mitra' mobile app, much like the prevalent cab rental apps offered for commuters by taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola.
“The taxpayers will be able to send their documents to the TRP in an online mode and even rate the services of the preparer, much like what is available to commuters to rate their service providing drivers in the rental cab apps,” he said.
As per official data, there are 5,400 TRPs in the country at present who have been trained and appointed by the I-T department over the years. A TRP, as per official rates, can charge a maximum of Rs 250 for filing one ITR.
The TRP scheme was launched in 2006 with the objective to provide small taxpayers an alternative and easy channel to file their annual Income Tax Returns (ITRs). It has undergone three phases of expansion and the latest would be the fourth and the largest addition to the TRP scheme, the officer said.