NRIs need not give account details if seeking no refund: CBDT

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) won’t be required to disclose their overseas bank accounts in the income tax return form, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said. “It is not a mandatory field in the return. It is there only for those who wish to seek refunds,” CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra told reporters on the sidelines of an Income Tax Department event on Monday.
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Chandra was responding to queries on the new return form seeking details of bank accounts held outside India by non-residents, excluding dormant accounts. ET earlier reported that some NRIs were confused by a column in the return form seeking details of bank accounts.
The CBDT received representations last year from NRIs in which they asked for an option to provide foreign account numbers as there was no provision to mention them. “A number of representations were received from non-residents that they are facing difficulties in getting refund as they do not have bank account in India and there is no column in the notified form of return of income for reporting details of foreign bank account by the non-residents for this purpose,” a CBDT statement later said.
In view of this, space has been provided in the return for reporting of details of overseas bank accounts by NRIs who don’t have accounts in India and are claiming income-tax refunds, it said. “Therefore, the non-residents who are not claiming refund or non-residents who are claiming refund but having a bank account in India are not required to furnish details of their foreign bank account in the return of income.
However, the non-residents, who are claiming income-tax refund and not having bank account in India may, at their option, furnish the details of one foreign bank account in the return of income for issuance of refund,” the statement said.

Income Tax department to launch Mobile App to make life easy for Taxpayers

The income-tax department will soon launch a mobile app that it expects will act as a portal for almost anything I-T-related that an individual might need. From payments, tax deducted, to communications from the department, everything can be managed through the My Tax app.
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"It is being developed in-house," a government official told ET. The individual's profile will be mapped to the permanent account number (PAN), allowing the collation of all tax-related information, including deductions by third parties, pertaining to that login.

Taxpayers will also be able to respond to queries from the IT department or file complaints via the app, which is being developed as part of a drive by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to make the administration non-intrusive and taxpayer friendly. It will complement similar initiatives by the board such as online scrutiny, which allows tax officials to seek details of transactions and get responses by email.

The department recently unveiled Aaykar Setu, a new taxpayer service module that will have mobile and desktop versions. The app will provide various services such as PAN, TAN (tax deduction and collection account number) and tax payments.

My Tax app will be personalised, linked to a taxpayer through the sign-in, but it's not clear whether tax-filing facilities will be immediately available.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent a clear message to the tax authorities that they need to ensure that taxpayers do not fear the department. The department is working on a number of initiatives to improve its image.

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