27 March 2018 15:27:16 IST

The Income Tax department has a host of user-friendly services

The I-T department has upped its online presence to help assessees get things done quickly

When you are filing your tax returns is not the only time you connect with the tax department. Every year, you may have to interact with them outside of the tax filing exercise.

Don’t fret. Gone are the times when you had to run from pillar to post, or stand in long queues, to get your problems resolved. The department has taken several steps to create a hassle-free experience for assessees, be it in the process of resolving queries, providing other tax-related services or grievance redressal.

What’s more, the department has upped its online presence to help assessees get most things done with a click of the mouse, sitting in the comfort of their homes. Here’s what is on the menu.

Online services

What if a tax demand is raised and you want to submit your response? Or you may want to enquire about the status of your refund, which has not yet been credited to your account. In both cases, the tax department’s e-filing website is where you want to go.

What if you want to apply for a PAN card for a family member, track its status or make corrections in an existing PAN? For this, you will have to hit the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) website. If you want to view your tax credits, you can visit the TDS CPC (TRACES) website.

You don’t have to memorise where you have to go for what; just visit this page of the I-T department website. A list of services provided to all assessees, including individuals, is available, along with links to the relevant websites, helpline numbers and e-mail IDs for correspondence.

An online guide to the process for requesting and completing each of these services is given alongside. Most service requests can be completed online end-to-end, thus saving you a lot of time.

To make things even easier, the department has launched the ‘Aaykar Setu’ mobile app, which serves to address various queries that taxpayers may have or services that they may need relating to returns, PAN/TAN, TDS, refund, rectification, and more.

It hosts a bunch of calculators — be it for calculating advance tax payable, income tax dues or taxable and exempt portion of various allowances provided to salaried assessees. It also gives you access to a Tax Return Preparer if necessary and enables online payment of taxes. Linking Aadhaar with PAN can be done through this app. A live chat facility is available here as well.

Grievance redressal

Much like the service delivery, the grievance redressal procedure has also gone completely online. The tax department has introduced ‘e-Nivaran’ to address all the grievances received through various channels under a single window.

You can access e-Nivaran using your PAN and e-filing login credentials. Through it, taxpayers can submit grievances related to differences with the assessing officer and other partner institutions, such as NSDL, grievances related to e-filing, TDS, and refunds, with a detailed description of the nature of the grievance.

Copies of supporting documents such as Form 16/16A, challan, and copy of communication from the department, can be uploaded. One can also view the status of the grievance after submission. A user manual for e-Nivaran is available on the e-filing website.

If you are not able to resolve things on your own or if you are not net-savvy, the department has set up Aaykar Seva Kendra (ASK) centres in several towns and cities to provide assessee-related services.

Applications to the Centre can be filed in person as well as through a drop-box facility. You can track the progress of your case through the unique acknowledgement number issued to you.

If you don’t have access to an ASK centre or, for some reason, your grievance doesn’t get resolved either through e-Nivaran or ASK centres, you can approach the grievance cell of the I-T department. While ASK centres are mandated to display details of tax ombudsman and public grievance officer, a State-wise list of officers who can be approached for grievance redressal, along with their contact details, is available. The link also details the procedure that will be followed for redressal.