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Tax Return Preparer Scheme by Income Tax Department of India

With the July 31 deadline for filing tax returns just a week away, the Income-Tax Department has launched two friendly initiatives – ‘Register for home visit’ and ‘Online tax help’ for the convenience of taxpayers who find the annual mandatory exercise an irksome procedure.

Announcing the initiatives here on Tuesday, a Finance Ministry statement said that to avail of the services of a Tax Return Preparer (TRP) through these facilities, a taxpayer will have to visit the website ( and seek the help of trained professionals either online or at their homes by choosing between ‘Online help’ or ‘Home visit.’

If the taxpayer chooses the ‘Online help’ option, the taxpayer can fill in the tax-related query and provide the contact details, following which the online query would be resolved by tax experts either through email or on phone within 24 hours.

In case the ‘Home visit’ option is chosen, the taxpayer will be asked to briefly indicate the assistance that is required, as also a convenient date and time when the TRP can pay a visit at residence to help out. Accordingly, the help desk will forward the taxpayer’s query to the nearest available TRP and fix the appointment telephonically. “The TRP will then visit the taxpayer and render assistance. The facility is aimed to facilitate taxpayers in filing their return and thereby reducing their cost of compliance,” the statement said.

For providing their expertise and assistance, the TRPs have been permitted to collect from taxpayers a fee up to a maximum of Rs. 250 per return preparation, as per the TRP notification. For the present, the facility for home visit by TRPs has been made available in a few cities; Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi and Patna. The facility would be extended to more cities in the next phase.

More information on these initiatives can be obtained from the TRP scheme call centre (1800-10-23738). An initiative of the I-T Department, the TRP scheme has been devised to help small and marginal taxpayers in filing their tax returns and is applicable to both individuals and HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) taxpayers.

Service Tax on Foreign Currency Remittance is Exempted

Central Board of Excise and Customer (CBEC), on July 10, 2012, clarified that remittances of Foreign Currency from abroad would not attract Service Tax of 12% . The CBEC explained that in the Service Tax Negative List regime, ‘service’ has been defined in Clause (44) of Section 65B o the Finance Act, 1994, as amended, which excludes transaction in money, “As the amount of remittance comprises money, the activity does not comprise a ‘service’ and thus not subjected to service tax,” it said.

The circular further noted that in case any fee or conversion charges are levied for sending such money, they are also not liable to service tax as the person sending the money and the company conducting the remittance are located outside India.

The CBEC also clarified that even the Indian counterpart bank or financial institution, which charges the foreign bank or any other entity for the services provided at the receiving end, is not liable to service tax as the place of provision of such service shall be the location of the recipient of the service, that is, outside India.