The Income Tax Department March 22 unveiled a mobile app to help taxpayers view their tax-related Information in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) or Taxpayer Information Summary (TIS).
The new ‘AIS for Taxpayer’ app becomes essential and helpful because starting from the upcoming new financial year on April 1, Form 26AS will only display data related to tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS).
For other details such as installments of advance tax paid, self-assessment tax, income-tax refund, Statement of Financial Transactions (SFT), and turnover as per Goods and Service Tax (GST) returns, taxpayers need to refer to the AIS.
Let’s examine the AIS, its purpose, and how the new app will help taxpayers.
What is an Annual Information Statement?
The Annual Information Statement (AIS) provides taxpayers with a comprehensive overview of their Information as in Form 26AS. In addition, a facility to share feedback on the displayed Information is also available to the taxpayer. Each section, including TDS, SFT, and other Information, shows reported and modified values (i.e., values adjusted based on taxpayer feedback).
The objectives of the AIS include providing taxpayers with complete Information and an opportunity to provide online feedback, promoting voluntary compliance, and enabling easy prefilling of tax returns.
According to tax experts, the AIS facilitates ease of compliance for taxpayers. Vivek Jalan, the partner of Tax Connect Advisory Services LLP, says that the AIS acts as an interface between the taxpayer and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and has become an integral part of the income taxpayer’s ITR filing process.
“Earlier taxpayers used to provide the details of their incomes once a year, and after that, the government used to check on a selective basis whether there was any mismatch between the declared values and values reported by other authorities for the taxpayer, like their employers, banks, investment companies, etc.,” said Jalan.
AIS is aimed at making tax compliance easier for individual taxpayers. “Now, taxpayers need to keep track of this during the year rather than only after the year’s end, as was the case in the past. Hence, the new AIS App will tremendously help taxpayers so tax compliance can be done promptly,” added Jalan.
Using the AIS App
The AIS app is available free of cost to download on Google Play or the App Store. To use the app, taxpayers must register by providing their PAN number, authenticate with the OTP sent to their registered mobile number, and email on the e-filing portal. After authentication, they can set a 4-digit PIN to access the app.
Sandeep Sehgal, Partner, Tax, AKM Global, a tax and consulting firm, believes that the app will enable convenience for taxpayers as they can periodically review the AIS as and when they want to without logging in through their laptops or computer.
“This app can be used to view the Information related to TDS, interest, dividends, share transactions, tax payments, Income Tax refunds, and other Information, including GST Data and foreign Remittances as available in the AIS / TIS. Taxpayers can share their feedback on the Information uploaded in the AIS, which means applying for corrections in the AIS. This will help reduce unnecessary notices from the tax department based on incorrect/ duplicate Information uploaded in the AIS,” added Sehgal.
Our take on the app
We attempted to download and use the AIS app to share our hands-on experience. The app can be easily downloaded from the Play Store and is 12 MB. As of March 23, over 100,000 people have already downloaded the app. To begin using the app, you must provide your PAN and date of birth. Once these details are entered, an OTP is sent to your registered mobile number and email address to generate an MPIN.
Despite having an accurate mobile number and email address registered with the tax department, we are still waiting to receive the OTP. Upon reading through user reviews on the Play Store, we discovered that we are not alone in encountering this problem. Many others have either not received the OTP or have been unable to log in to the app.
Some users received the OTP after waiting for three to four hours. Some users reported that they could not log back into the app using their MPIN and were instructed to start the process again.