02 Jul 2017 13:56 IST

Assisted filing, for a fee

TRPs are appointed by the government to help assessees prepare their tax returns

Approaching your neighbourhood Chartered Accountant is not the only option in case you need some assistance to file your returns. Tax Return Preparers or TRPs (www.trpscheme.com) can do the job for you. TRPs are graduates in fields such as commerce/economics/statistics/law, etc., and are chosen, trained and appointed by the government for the purpose of helping assessees prepare their tax returns.

You can locate the TRP closest to you in the above website by mentioning your state, city and pin code. Otherwise, you can also fill up an online form to request a TRP to visit your place at a scheduled time, to help you file your return.

For new assessees, remuneration payable to the TRP will be 3 per cent of the tax paid on the returns prepared and filed in the first year (subject to a maximum of ₹1,000), 2 per cent in the second year and 1 per cent in the third year. For old assessees, it will be ₹250.

Another option could be to use the services of e-filing intermediary websites such as ClearTax, Taxsmile, Taxspanner, myITreturn, etc. Some portals such as myITreturn offer filing facility through mobile app too.

While some offer basic self-filing of returns for free, many have different packages that not only assist you in filing returns but also provide other value-added services for a fee. The prices of these packages range anywhere from ₹250 to over ₹5,000 depending on the additional services provided.

For instance, many websites offer expert follow-up assistance to customers in case they are faced with issues such as rectification, demand notice, etc., after they e-file their returns.

Most portals offer chat facility with Chartered Accountants to clarify your queries. They also provide tax planning services. Websites such as Taxspanner and Taxsmile provide an online documentary vault for safekeeping of your tax/income related documents.

Using these portals is absolutely safe. Clear Tax, for instance, boasts 128 Bit bank grade SSL encryption and TaxSpanner, 256 bit SSL encryption.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)

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