Budget 2019: You may never get to see the taxman; ITR refunds in 24 hours

  • If your income tax returns is not going under scrutiny by the I-T department, you will get refund in just 24 hours
  • The government has promised in interim budget 2019 that there will be no personal interface between taxpayers and tax officers

NEW DELHI : Once the high-tech tax processing system is in place at the Income Tax department’s Central Processing Centre (CPC) in Bangalore, you may never get to see your taxman as not just the assessment and verification but even the scrutiny of income tax returns (ITRs) will be completed electronically. In his budget speech, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced that all returns will be processed in 24 hours and refunds issued simultaneously.

“Within the next two years, almost all verification and assessment of returns selected for scrutiny will be done electronically through an anonymised back office, manned by tax experts and officials, without any personal interface between taxpayers and tax officers," Goyal said.

He said the government has now approved a path-breaking and technology-intensive project to transform the Income Tax Department into a more assessee friendly one. “The income tax refund process is going to get even smoother. Assesment will be done in 24 hours and those who aren’t under scrutiny will get refunds within the day," the finance minister said at a post-budget conference.

Usually it takes a maximum of about 3-4 months for ITRs to be processed but this year it took longer. Last year, 99.54% of the income tax returns were accepted as they were filed.

Deloitte director Nitin Baijal said it is good news for taxpayers that refunds will come in quickly. “It is yet to be known as to what will happen in case of a tax dispute as some cases go to the Income Tax Apellate Tribunal," he told Livemint, adding that such super-fast processing will need a robust IT infrastructure at the back-end.

EY India’s Sudhir Kapadia said it is a far-reaching and significant announcement which, if implemented well, will lead to a radical transformation to a fully digital tax administration.

“Finally, with more money made available to large sections of the population, a consumption-led economic buoyancy is on the cards," he said.

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