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Anytime, anywhere filing, processing of returns

To facilitate anytime, anywhere filing and processing of returns, the Income Tax Department has networked its 170 offices in 60 cities.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 21:18 IST

To facilitate anytime, anywhere filing and processing of returns, the Income Tax Department has networked its 170 offices in 60 cities, which would pave the way for kicking off a National Data Centre by June end.

The first phase of the Rs 240 crore TAXNET project to network all the 745 offices of the department in 510 cities across the country, being implemented by Airtel Enterprise Services in partnership with IBM, is now over, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) member JG Pendse told reporters.

The entire project would be completed by March-April this year, Pendse said.

Side by side, the department is in the process of setting up a National Data Centre, which would have a pool of data relating to PANs, annual income returns and TDS, he said.

The department has received bids from Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and IBM for setting up the centre, he said.

When launched by June-end this year, the centre would enable tax payers of even small towns to file their returns even from home, Pendse revealed.

It would also enable faster processing of returns and reduction in time cycles for issue of refunds, and increase in efficiency and collections, he said.

When asked whether confidentiality of income tax data would not be leaked to private companies, Director General of Income Tax (Systems) VS Mathur said Bharti and IBM are only providing technology to access the data, which would be encrypted after entering the optical fibres.

The data could be accessed only by the department at the other end where National Data Centre would be situated, he said.

"When filing of returns is no longer a tedious exercise, the tax compliance is naturally expected to improve," he said.

At present, if a person is shifted from one city to the other, filing of returns in the new city is not so hassle free.

But with the setting up of the National Data Centre, the very same person can file his returns from anywhere he likes.

At present, the department also provides internet filing of returns through intermediaries like NSDL in 60 cities.

After setting up of the national data centre, role of intermediaries would be reviewed, Pendse said.

Pendse also said that the centre would also help in preventing the issuance of more than one PAN cards to a single person.

As a first step towards consolidation of the current 36

Regional data centres to the National Data Centre, 170 locations of the Income Tax Department has been networked on Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN).

In the second phase, all the remaining 575 offices would be connected and Airtel and IBN would manage and ,in case of need, upgrade the system for 5 years.

While 322 cities would be on optic fibre, 124 on VSAT and the remaining on copper leased lines.

VSAT hub would be based in Bangalore.

Besides Delhi, National Data Centre would be set up in Mumbai and disaster recovery site in Chennai to use them in case of emergency.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 21:18 IST