Sanjay was sipping his coffee and enjoying the pleasant summer morning. With a happy frame of mind, he opened the letter from the tax office. Anger and confusion took over as he saw a hefty demand from the tax office.
Sanjay remembered the assurance he was given by his former employer that all tax dues had been deducted from his salary and remitted to the treasury. Then why this huge liability, wondered Sanjay!
When he approached the tax authorities, he was told that the tax credit was based on the amount reflecting in the system against his name and not what he claimed. “Haven’t you checked your 26AS?” the officer asked. The term sounded familiar. Did I miss something that I should have done — thought Sanjay recalling the advertisements and messages relating to 26AS. He decided to explore and started browsing the net.
The first question Sanjay asked was: What is this 26AS?
To his surprise, there was a plethora of information available on this. He read on to find that 26AS was the tax credit statement in a consolidated form that captured all tax deductions, collections and advance/self-assessment taxes for a taxpayer relating to a tax year. The system matched the details furnished by the deductor in the quarterly returns with that provided by the banks accepting tax payments. Once this online verification is completed, Form 26AS is generated/updated.
It was an effort by the tax authorities, designed to give tax payers a heads up on the tax credit available to them.
Having understood the basics of Form 26AS, Sanjay decided to check out his own statement but didn’t know how to proceed. The online portal of the tax office came to his rescue once again and provided him a step-by-step guide on the registration process. Sanjay entered his Permanent Account Number (PAN) and registered on the portal. After authentication of his credentials, Sanjay was able to view his own Form 26AS and was surprised that it did not show the taxes that were deducted on his salary. The page also hinted at possible corrective action.
“Now, what corrective action can I take for omissions in the tax credit statement?” thought Sanjay. He found that tax payers need to take up the case with their employers/deductors for rectification of the error/deficiency to get their share of tax credit. If the advance tax payments are not reflected, then they would need to speak to the bankers.
He realised that had he been proactive, he could have avoided the mess that he had landed himself in. He spoke to the tax officer and explained his case and was asked to file a letter capturing the details. He did so but was not sure it would alleviate the tax liability he was facing.
If only I knew what has happened to my letter, thought Sanjay and felt that the authorities would do well to put in place an online tracking mechanism wherein individuals can find out the status of their tax claims and action taken on their submissions. This will make the system transparent besides assuring individuals that their grievances are being addressed.
Sanjay decided to share his experience with his friends and colleagues and to educate them about the new system. By this, they can avoid the mental and physical stress endured by him. He told them that the first step has been taken by the authorities and now it was in their own interest to use the facility and derive maximum benefit.
‘Prevention is better than cure’ is the famous saying that fits the bill for the effective use of Form 26AS.
Source: Economic Times
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January 3, 2011