Kolkata, Jul 1: In this age of technological advancement and the convenient mode of e-governance gradually replacing the backdated and tedious paperwork, the Income Tax (IT) department has not remained far behind and introduced the innovative form of filing IT returns through the e-payment mode.
Addressing a workshop here on e-filing and e-payment of IT, organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce (BCC), IT Additional Commissioner B S Biswas said, ''The increasing popularity of e-governance can be testified by the fact that whereas during the fiscal 2006-07, only about 3.7 lakh IT returns were filed through the electronic mode in West Bengal, this number jumped to 21.93 lakh during the fiscal 2007-08.
''He informed that West Bengal was fast catching up with the technological advancement as presently it ranked fourth in the country in terms of the number of IT returns filed through the e-mode, with Maharashtra leading the states, followed by Delhi and Gujarat securing the second and third positions respectively.
However, he cautioned that the 'e' prefix in e-return did not quite mean that the entire process had become paperless.
''It is felt that the e-acknowledgement becomes useless due to the communication gap between the bank and the IT department. Hence, the importance of physical copy with the symbol of governmental authority cannot be ruled out and a stamped acknowledgement of return of income is necessary for the application of loan,'' he said.
Assistant Director (Systems), IT department, elaborated, ''E-filing was first introduced in 2006 by the Union Ministry of Company Affairs for submission of annual returns by companies. This resulted in avoiding long queues for filing returns in the office of the Reistrar of Companies.'' He informed that the Central Board of Direct Taxes, responsible for administration of IT, has now enforced all corporates and those firms to whom provisions of Section 44AB are applicable to file their IT returns via electronic system for the current fiscal.
''Last year, according to IT Rules, IT returns filing through electronic mode was mandatory only for all corporate assesses,'' he added.