Chidambaram stresses timely tax returns


New Delhi : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday urged people to file their tax returns on time, saying the tax return forms in India were the "simplest" in the world.

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"IT (income tax) laws in India can be simplified but our tax return forms are among the simplest in the world," Chidambaram told the first batch of trained professionals who will help people to prepare their tax return forms.

"It is a serious document and why shouldn't a taxpayer devote five minutes to fill the forms and fill them seriously. It is simpler than the so-called Saral (effortless) forms of earlier years," the minister said.

"Tax avoidance is lawful and tax evasion is unlawful and a criminal act," the finance minister said and hoped the newly trained professionals will help the government in collecting more taxes.

Chidambaram said more than 90,000 people had applied for the training as tax return professionals, of which 47,227 were shortlisted by NIIT. Finally, 3,737 candidates scored 60 percent marks or more and qualified.

He said the government intends to forge a long-term relationship with these professionals, adding the IT Department's web site and a toll free helpline will provide necessary details on how to utilise their services.

Elaborating on the new tax return forms being computer-friendly, easily readable, and which could be filed electronically, he said: "The basic idea is to make filing tax return friendly."

The minister also felicitated the students of NIIT, one of India's leading IT trainers, who were certified as 'Tax Return Preparers' under the aegis of the Department of Revenue's Central Board of Direct Taxes.