From this year, those who prefer to file their income tax online might be freed from the rigmarole of the offline process, where you need to take a printout of what is called the ITR-V form, sign it, and mail it to the I-T department’s centralized processing centre (CPC) in Bangalore.
According to sources, the law and information technology ministries were examining the matter, and a solution was likely to emerge soon. However, it is not quite clear though if the new system would be in place by June-July , when the bulk of individual filings happen.
In the last fiscal, 1.65 crore returns were filed online, but ITR-V forms of as many as 25 lakh people were not received by the CPC. Many forget to send the forms in the stipulated 120 days; in some cases, these get lost in the post.
The I-T authorities need to be absolutely certain about the identity of the person filing the form, which is why it currently mandates a physical signature. A digital signature is an option, but you need to pay to obtain a digital signature for yourself and that is not something everyone would want to do.
So the I-T department is looking at the option of what is called an electronic signature, where your identity is verified online through different ways, including a PIN that can be sent to one of your previously specified devices and which you can use to authenticate yourself.
Ever since CPC was established in 2009, online filing has seen a surge. The initiative is a collaboration of the I-T department with Infosys Technologies and TCS. TCS handles the frontend e-filing process, while Infosys handles the backend processing.