New From 26AS – Faceless hand-holding of the taxpayers

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From this assessment year, the income taxpayers will see an upgraded version of Form 26AS which will carry additional information on taxpayers’ financial transactions. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), on Saturday, said that the new Form 26AS is the faceless hand-holding of the taxpayers to e-file their income tax returns quickly and correctly.

The modified Form 26AS will specify all the transactions in the Statement of Financial Transactions (SFTs) in Part E of the new form that will be executed from the AY 2020-21, which is the ongoing financial year. This will facilitate tax accountability, voluntary compliance, and ease of filing returns electronically.

Surabhi Ahluwalia, the CBDT spokesperson, said the improved form will allow taxpayers to file Income Tax Return (ITR) by calculating the correct tax liability in a feel-good environment which will also bring in further clarity and accountability in the tax administration.

In addition to certain information like details of other taxes paid, refunds, and TDS defaults, the earlier Form 26AS, used to give information regarding tax collected at source (TCS) and tax deducted at source (TDS) relating to a PAN. In the updated Form 26AS, the Statement of Financial transactions (SFTs) aid the taxpayers to recollect all the essential transactions they have made during the period so that they can file the ITR smoothly.

Under Section 285BA of Income-tax Act, 1961, the IT department used to collect data regarding cash deposit/withdrawal from saving bank accounts, time deposits,  sale/purchase of immovable property, credit card payments, purchase of financial products, foreign currency, mutual funds, buyback of shares, etc. from “specified persons” like banks, mutual funds, institutions issuing bonds and registrars or sub-registrars, etc. Now all such information under different SFTs will be shown in the new Form 26AS.

From now onwards, the Form 26AS for any taxpayer will display in part E of the Forum different fields like name of SFT filer, type of transaction, date of transaction, no.of parties involved, amount, method of remittance and comments if any, etc..

Moreover, an honest taxpayer would be benefited from the updated financial transactions while filing the returns whereas it’ll refrain taxpayers from accidentally concealing financial transactions in their returns. The Form would also contain particulars on transactions received up to FY 2015-16 in the annual information returns.

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