The Income Tax Department has introduced a mobile app, named ‘Aaykar Setu’ which aims to facilitate taxpayers with solutions to a range of tax-related issues. The app which was formally launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday will also let people link their PAN with the 12-digit unique identification number, Aadhaar.
The app is currently available on the Android platform but the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) plans to make it available as a desktop service as well.”This is a very important step forward by the CBDT and the principal reason being technology as a very powerful tool becomes an enabler,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. With the app, assesses can discharge most of their tax work without any external help, sitting at home, Jaitley said.
Apart from Google Play Store, the app can also be downloaded by giving a missed call to 7306525252.
Since its tax filing season, the launch of the app is timely and may be a handy ‘go-to’ as it offers a slew of services like paying taxes, seeking tax refund, lodging grievances, applying for a PAN etc.
The app offers a live chat facility in the form of a ‘Chatbot’ from 10 am to 6 pm which will provide a solution to queries of taxpayers relating to PAN, TAN, TDS, return filing, refund status and tax payments.
Besides, people can also have a live chat with tax experts and provides the address of nearby tax return preparer.
It provides ease of use of all the services related to tax payment including tax payment, tax calculation. Also if a taxpayer has a problem, this app will help in lodging his grievance in the E-Nivaran module of the CBDT.
The taxpayers will also be able to receive regular updates regarding important tax dates, forms and notifications on mobile numbers registered with the ITD. All taxpayers who wish to receive such SMS alerts are advised to register their mobile numbers in the Aaykar Setu module.
“The app reduces the physical interface between assessing officer (AO) and assessees. Physical interface has many unintended consequences – it is time-consuming and can lead to improprieties,” Jaitley said.
The tax department, he said, has endeavoured to reduce interface and a lot of it has already happened. The app will make it “far more convenient” and make compliance easy.
“It also helps us in improving the image of the department. For the reason that one of the not so acceptable alibis given by those who don’t comply is we don’t comply because of the harassment that compliance involves. Not that this reason has much reason in it, but today this reason gets eliminated more the interface is reduced,” he said.
Jaitley said an external audit must be done to see how much of the interface has been reduced and which are the other areas where it can be done.
The app will also have a section as ‘tax gyaan’ which will be a multiple choice question web-based game to provide knowledge to the youth accessible from mobile as well as desktop.