Have you ever made use of any online public service in your country? If yes, explain which ones and how do they work.

Among the several online public services available in India (both at National as well as State level), I would like to highlight the Online Income Tax Filing Service that has been made available to the citizens at the national level through the online portal: http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/

The portal itself declares that “[it] has been developed as a Mission Mode Project under the National E-Governance Plan of the Government. The objective behind the Portal is to provide a single window access to the information and services being provided by the Indian Government for the citizens and other stakeholders.”

As an individual taxpayer, I have been using this portal to file my income tax returns for each financial year. The portal as of today, integrates every citizen to their Unique biometric authentication entity called Aadhar (portal: https://uidai.gov.in/) so that their online filed returns can be verified electronically with ease. For the verification purpose, the facility to use Electronic Verification Codes through Banks is available.

A citizen who is identified as a resident of the country through their unique Permanent Account Number (PAN) can register himself/herself on the portal. During the registration process, the citizen is requested to link his/her email and mobile number with the account for future intimations and verifications. SMS and email notifications are delivered at crucial steps of service including notice reminders if any to ensure transparency. The filing is done for past financial year with respect to the current assessment year. For an individual the process has been significantly made hassle free. The account being linked to the PAN easily links to the tax deducted at source as well as the tax deducted through the employers. All this data is dynamically fetched to calculate the tax payable. Also the account requests information of the bank account to which money can be easily refunded in case the condition arises. This process too is done electronically once the Income Tax Return (ITR) is processed.

The portal is also linked to several associative services such as

  • Viewing of tax credit statement (Form 26AS) that contains details of tax deducted on the behalf of the citizen through the deductors, including associated banks.
  • Access to previously filed returns and their acknowledgement in digital form.
  • Access to demands, returns and rectifications.
  • Access to notifications communicated regarding pending actions and requests
  • Access to tracking services of filing status and related informatory services.

Apart from individuals, the portal also caters for similar requirements for the following entities:

The online portal has a comprehensive user manual set, help documents and FAQs to redress any issues regarding the filing process and recognized procedures. Open lines of multiple toll free numbers are also provided for distributed query redressal. The portal is also up to date regarding any new notifications and schemes the government makes available. – Aparna Khare, India.

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