Income-tax portal 2.0 likely to allow payments by UPI, credit cards

Topics Income-tax | tax filing | E-Filing

Currently, taxpayers have the option to make payments through net-banking of large private and public sector banks, making it difficult for those whose banks are not part of the portal
The new income-tax (I-T) portal is likely to add more private banks to collect taxes and any other amount, such as fees, penalty, and refunds payable under the I-T Act. The portal will also provide multiple payment options, including through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and credit cards.

Currently, taxpayers have the option to make payments through net-banking of large private and public sector banks, making it difficult for those whose banks are not part of the portal. Transactions via debit cards are allowed but not widely used.

The new e-filing portal 2.0, launched on June 7, is developing many such features to ease the tax-filing process and give options to taxpayers. “We are in the process of adding more payment gateways, which will provide taxpayers choices in doing banking transactions and also enhance customer convenience,” said an official privy to the plan.

According to him, banks intended to provide services will have to seek approval from the Reserve Bank of India, subject to fulfilment of the conditions. "It will take a month to have more payment gateways with the existing banks, '' he added.

It is learnt that some private banks recently applied to get authorisation for doing government business, including providing services to the tax portal. This was after the RBI’s modified guidelines in April that allowed "sound" private banks to undertake government businesses.

One of the conditions under the modified norms said that scheduled private sector banks -- which are not under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of the RBI -- can undertake government business after executing an agreement with the central bank.

Currently, 17 banks have been authorised to collect direct taxes, a majority of which are PSU banks. They include State Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank, Punjab National Bank, and HDFC Bank. Of which, some of the state-run lenders, which are under the PCA framework, could be reviewed, if need be, said a source citing RBI new norms.

“It may be noted that performance of the agency banks, on a matrix of various government initiatives and schemes, may be reviewed from time to time by the government in consultation with the RBI, based on which the permission given to the concerned bank to undertake government business could be potentially withdrawn," the RBI said in its latest guidelines.

The RBI's latest rules are in line with the finance ministry's February circular, which lifted the embargo imposed in September 2012 on the further allocation of government business to private sector banks. In 2012, the ministry had not allowed private banks, barring some, to undertake government business for three years.

In 2015, the government continued with the embargo, and also allowed those private banks with existing government agency business to continue.

For undertaking government agency business, the RBI pays a commission to banks. The central bank carries out the general banking business of the central and state governments through agency banks appointed under Section 45 of the RBI Act, 1934.

The government transactions eligible to commissions are revenue receipts, payments on behalf of the central and state governments, pension payments, and any other item specified by the RBI. The current directive relates to the central government’s business.

Meanwhile, the new portal has been facing glitches since its launch and users are finding it difficult to carry out transactions and also facing difficulties in uploading important tax forms ahead of the deadline. A day after launch, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took cognizance of the matter and even asked the portal’s service provider Infosys to fix it.

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