The Income Tax Department introduced the Electronic Furnishing of Return of Income Scheme in 2007. The scheme’s objective is to make it easier for taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically through e-return intermediaries. In other words, on behalf of the taxpayers, the intermediary can file the tax returns of any tax-assessable individual.
To serve as an e-return intermediary, the individual needs to fulfil the eligibility criteria set forth by the tax department. Here’s everything you should know about the eligibility requirements and the benefits of using the services of an intermediary:
What are the Eligibility Requirements to Become an e-Return Intermediary?
Here are the eligibility requirements for becoming an e-return intermediary:
- Any public sector company determined in clause 36A under Section 2 of the IT Act, or any other company wherein the public are significantly interested within the meaning of clause 18 of Section 2 of the IT Act or any subsidiary of such a company
- Any company incorporated and registered in India with a net worth of Rs. 1 crore and having authentic PAN
- A firm of advocates or chartered accountants or company secretaries or cost accountants with PAN
- An advocate or chartered accountant or company secretary or cost accountant with PAN
- Any individual authorised to prepare tax returns and possessing a PAN
- A Disbursement Officer (DDO) of any government department
What are the Pre-Requisites for Becoming an e-Return Intermediary?
All the eligible entities should also possess:
- Class II or Class III Digital Signature Certificate received only through a licensed NSDL approved authority for digitally signing the returns uploaded online
- It is also mandatory for the entity to possess the required hardware and software, including:
- Dedicated storage space of at least 20GB
- UPS for power backup of at least 30 minutes
- Working printer
- CD writer or DAT drive or any other device for backups
- Windows 98 or higher OS
- Sufficient anti-virus software
- IE 6.0 or above web browser
- Internet connectivity of sufficient speed
- Computer systems used by such entities should only have programs authorised by the tax department and adequate measures for data security
- Due diligence certificate from authorised CISA or ISA professional
What are the Benefits of Filing Tax Returns Through an e-Return Intermediary?
Taxpayers can enjoy a host of benefits by availing the income tax filing services of an intermediary. Here are some of the top advantages:
- Filing returns online through an e-returns intermediary is highly convenient and saves time
- All the information shared by taxpayers with the intermediary is fully secure and confidential
- The systems used by intermediaries instantly highlight any mistakes in the returns to ensure that the taxpayer files the returns with all the correct details
- Tax refunds on returns filed through intermediaries are processed faster
Filing Tax Returns Through an e-Return Intermediary
The concept of intermediaries for e-filing tax returns has made returns filing easier for the taxpayers, especially for people not well-versed with digital technologies. Eligible entities can register to become intermediaries and play a critical role in helping people file tax returns.
For taxpayers, filing returns through an authorised e-return tax intermediary can bring in a host of valuable benefits, including faster, accurate, and convenient e-filing.