The Indian government is currently trying its best to modernize the country through the launch of digital solutions for the populace. Apart from releasing various digital apps, government executives are driving the ‘Digital India’ initiative at a liquid speed. In response to the steps taken by the government, Indian citizens are also becoming more accustomed to e-platforms for conducting day to day activities.

After the successful rollout of government’s digital payments app BHIM, the Income Tax department is now engaged in developing an app focussed at digitizing Income Tax returns and PAN related tasks.

This app will allow assessees (people who are assessed under an Act) to file tax returns from their smartphones. Users would most likely also be able to apply for a PAN card from the comfort of their homes —  right through their smartphones. The app is in line with the department’s efforts of issuing PAN to assessees by way of e-KYC authentication via Aadhaar. The release of the app will lead to a wider PAN population as well as expand the tax net.

An official familiar with the app development commented,

The app concept is at a preliminary stage. The app will enable assessees to pay taxes online, apply for PAN or track tax returns. Pilot project will be undertaken after getting approval from the finance ministry.

The mentioned app is certainly the need of the hour as according to a recent census more than 2.5 crore people across the country apply for PAN cards every year. Presently, out of 130 crores of country’s population, only 25 crore citizens hold a PAN card. The PAN card is essential for cash withdrawals of Rs. 50,000 along with cash purchase of above Rs 2 lakh. It also helps the government keep account of the tax-paying population of the country.

Apart from working on the app, the Income Tax Department recently redesigned the PAN card. The new PAN cards (issued from January 1, 2017) includes added security features with contents written in both Hindi and English.

The app is expected to roll out by the end of 2017 and will assist both users and the department in keeping records of Income Tax virtually. Moreover, the app will be functional through a unique identification number (UIN). The UIN is currently being used for SIM issuance, opening bank accounts, transfer of subsidies and also for biometric-based digital payments under Aadhaar Enabled Payment System.

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