If you are paying your taxes on time and filing your returns online, there is good news from the Income-Tax Department. You can get your tax refund within a month of filing returns - if you file it electronically.
In a bid to ensure faster delivery of refunds, the central board of direct taxes (CBDT) chairman Sudhir Chandra has appealed to taxpayers to adopt to e-filing of returns.
"Filing returns electronically will expedite the refund process further and taxpayers won't have to wait longer to get their refunds from the department," Chandra said.
"Once a taxpayer files electronically, it immediately registers on our system and becomes easier for officials to clear refunds," he said.
E-returns are catching on - 92 lakh returns were filed in 2010-11, the highest till date. The I-T department's tieup with State Bank of India to introduce the refund banker scheme is meant to provide faster refunds to taxpayers, as the bank sends it directly to them.
Chandra has also gone in for a "carrot and stick" experiment with his officers to expedite the entire refund process. A large number of promotion and transfer orders in the I-T department across India were executed by March 31. At the same time, he ordered that refund requests be processed expeditiously.
The move seems to be working. The tax department issued R6183 crore in refunds to 8.23 lakh people for the assessment year (AY) 2010-11 between April 1 and 15.
"I have asked my officials to issue all refunds of the AY 2010-11 by April 20, which will be a first-of-its-kind in tax history, and ensure that taxpayers' grievances are reduced," he said.
Chandra in a circular issued to all the chief commissioners, commissioners and other officials across the country on March 31 had asked them to ensure to clear all refunds of AY 2010-11 by April 10, with a word of caution -- "no laxity or inertia would be tolerated"
However, according to sources, on the basis of a plea from a section of the I-T officers' association, the date was extended to April 20. "But, it will help the staff to do the job effectively," the source added.
The department had issued refunds to the tune of Rs 78,000 crore to 85 lakh taxpayers in FY 2010-11 - 70% more than 50 lakh refunds in FY 2009-10.