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Circular No. 797/2000-Income Tax Dated 10-10-2000

Circular No. 797-Income Tax The Finance Act, 1997 has made provision w.e.f. 1-4-1997 for filing of a return on floppy diskette, magnetic cartridge tape, CD-ROM or any other computer readable Media. Pursuant to this, rule 37B was inserted in the Income-tax Rules, 1962 which, inter alia, states that the Computer Media must conform to the specifications given therein.

1188. Filing of returns regarding tax deduction at source/tax collection at source on Computer Media

1. The Finance Act, 1997 has made provision w.e.f. 1-4-1997 for filing of a return on  floppy diskette, magnetic cartridge tape, CD-ROM or any other computer readable Media. Pursuant to this, rule 37B was inserted in the Income-tax Rules, 1962 which, inter alia, states that the Computer Media must conform to the specifications given therein. Therefore, the Board hereby lays down the following guidelines for the persons responsible for deducting the tax under Chapter XVII-B and desirous of filing any return or statement referred to in rule 37 or 37A on a Computer Media.

Background

2.1 Under sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 206 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, read with rule 37B of the Income-tax Rules, 1962, a person responsible for deduction of tax at source, may file his TDS return on Computer Media in lieu of a paper return [as prescribed under section 206(1), read with rule 37 of the Income-tax Rules, 1962], subject to the conditions, limitations, rules and guidelines prescribed for the preparation, execution, filing and corrections thereof.

Computer Media Test Return

3.1 With a view to ensure that the TDS return intended to be filed on Computer Media conforms to the specifications of the Income-tax Department, a person responsible for deduction of tax at source, who desires to file his TDS return(s) on Computer Media for the first time, should submit a Test Return, to the concerned Chief Commissioner of Income-tax/Commissioner of Income-tax, three months prior to the relevant due date for filing of the TDS Return.

3.2 While submitting the Test Return, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source should ensure the following :

    (a)       ( i)   Form No. 27A, duly filled, in respect of the Test Return is enclosed;

   (ii)   Computer Media containing the Test Return is enclosed;

  (iii)   A certificate regarding clean and virus free Computer Media containing the Test Return is enclosed.

    (b)   The Computer Media containing the Test Return should be clearly marked as under :

           “For Test purposes only.”

    (c)   The Test Return should be submitted on a separate Computer Media for each type of TDS Return.

    (d)   The person responsible for deduction of tax at source shall, to the extent possible, ensure that no data compression/backup software utility is used to copy the test data on Computer Media. In case data compression/backup software utility is used to copy the Test Return data on Computer Media, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source shall ensure that the corresponding software utility and procedure for its decompression/restoration is also submitted alongwith the Test Return.

3.3 The concerned Chief Commissioner of Income-tax/Commissioner of Income-tax, after ascertaining from his Computer Centre whether the Test Return submitted by the person responsible for deduction of tax at source on Computer Media conforms to the data structure specifications of the Income-tax Department, will inform the person responsible for deduction of tax at source, within 30 days of receiving the Test Return, whether there were any problems in processing the Test Return.

3.4 The Test Return on Computer Media, which can be read on the computer system of the Income-tax Department without a ‘Job Abort’ and which has no errors, would generally constitute an acceptance to enable the person responsible for deduction of tax at source to file his TDS return(s) on Computer Media. If, however, a person responsible for deduction of tax at source submits a bad Computer Media, the concerned Chief Commissioner of Income-tax/Commissioner of Income-tax will inform the person responsible for deduction of tax at source of the fact. In such an eventuality, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source must supply a new Computer Media containing the complete Test Return within thirty (30) days of such intimation. If a person responsible for deduction of tax at source does not receive a communication for filing the TDS return on Computer Media within 45 days of receipt of Test Return on Computer Media by the Income-tax Department, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source must submit his return on paper media under section 206(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 read with rules 37 and 37A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962, to the authority as provided in rule 36A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962. Any delay in submission of the TDS return will not be condoned under any circumstances, in any case.

3.5 A fresh Test Return based on the amendments/changes in the Income-tax Laws/Rules/Procedures or in the Hardware/Software specifications as notified by the Income-tax Department shall be submitted by the person responsible for deduction of tax at source as per the procedure laid down in paras 3.1 to 3.4 above.

3.6 The submission of a Test Return or filing of a TDS Return for any year on Computer Media, does not in any way, prevent the person responsible for deduction of tax at source from filing his TDS Return for the same or any subsequent year on paper media.

Guidelines for filing of TDS return on Computer Media

4.1 The TDS return on Computer Media, referred to in sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 206 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, should be furnished to the income-tax authority prescribed under rule 36A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.

4.2 The TDS return filed on Computer Media should comprise Form No. 27A prescribed under rule 37B of the Income-tax Rules, 1962 and the attachment or attachments of specified Computer Media containing the data relating to the relevant TDS Return alongwith a certificate regarding clean and virus free Computer Media.

4.3 A TDS return, filed on Computer Media, shall contain all the information that is required to be furnished in a TDS return under section 206(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, read with rules 37 and 37A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962 on paper media.

4.4 As prescribed under rule 37B(4), while filing the TDS Return(s) on Computer Media, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source should ensure the following :

     (i)   The TDS return on Computer Media conforms to the specifications laid down in rule 37B(3) of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.

   (ii)   Form No. 27A, duly filled in, is enclosed.

  (iii)   In no case, more than one return is included on one unit of Computer Media. However, a single return, may spawn multiple units of the same Computer Media. If more than one unit of Computer Media is used in the case of a particular type of return, then each Computer Media should be serially numbered. For example, if a particular return spawns to 5 units of the same type of Computer Media, then the units should be numbered as 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and so on. Further, the package consisting of one or more units of Computer Media should be labelled as “TDS Return on Computer Media for Form No. ………..”.

   (iv)   If the data relating to a TDS return, submitted by the person responsible for deduction of tax at source, is copied using a data compression or backup software utility, the corresponding software utility and/or procedure for its decompression/restoration should also be supplied along with the Computer Media return.

    (v)   A certificate regarding clean and virus free Computer Media containing the data for TDS return should be submitted alongwith each TDS Return filed on Computer Media.

   (vi)   The Computer Media should be properly labelled clearly indicating the following :

    (a)   TAN

    (b)   Financial year

    (c)   The TDS Return Form No. e.g. Form 24, Form 25 etc.;

    (d)   The periodicity of Return i.e. Annual or 1st Half-Year or 2nd Half-year or 1st Quarter or 2nd Quarter or 3rd Quarter or 4th Quarter;

    (e)   Name of the person responsible for deduction of tax at source;

     (f)   Serial No. of each unit of Computer Media submitted e.g. 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and so on.

           Note : The person responsible for deduction of tax at source is advised to have a separate set of sequence of numbers for each type of Return Form to avoid any confusion;

    (g)   The Directory Structure as per the Instructions for Creating Data File (Refer to para 9.1);

    (h)   Name of the Ward/Circle/Range of the Assessing Officer with whom the TDS Return on Computer Media is filed.

           A Sample label for Computer Media is given in Annex XI.

  (vii)   The nomenclature of the TDS Return data file and the Directory Structure under which it will be stored on the Computer Media, should be in accordance with the Instructions for Creation of TDS Return on Computer Media.

 (viii)   The different types of records should be arranged according to hierarchy in the data file on Computer Media. The return record type, namely, RTN is highest in the hierarchy.

   (ix)   Each return record type, namely, RTN should be followed by return detail records depending upon the type of TDS Return Form.

    (x)   The record layout of each type of record should be in conformity with the respective record layouts as stated in the Instructions for Creation of TDS Return on Computer Media (Refer to para 9). The layouts of different records are given in Annexures I to X.

Important Notice

4.5 If the TDS return submitted by the person responsible for deduction of tax at source on Computer Media does not conform to the specifications, as specified in para 9 of these Guidelines, of the Income-tax Department, and the person responsible for deduction of tax at source cannot produce a satisfactory replacement thereof, the person responsible for deduction of tax at source shall submit the paper copies of return.

Date of filing of TDS Return on Computer Media

5. Any person filing the TDS return on Computer Media should deliver the return by the end of the month falling in the financial year immediately following the previous year, as specified in rules 37 and 37A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962, to the income-tax authority as provided in rule 36A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.

Receipt of the TDS Return on Computer Media

6. An acknowledgement of having received the TDS Return on Computer Media shall be issued by the income-tax authority prescribed under rule 36A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962 to receive such return.

While issuing the acknowledgement, the income-tax authority will allot the RRR No. and put on the magnetic media for further recognition.

Revision of TDS Return filed on Computer Media

7. A person responsible for deduction of tax at source desirous of revising the original TDS Return filed on Computer Media, may file a revised TDS Return either on Computer Media, following the aforesaid procedure, or on paper media.

Returning of Computer Media

8. The Computer Media on which the TDS Return(s) is/are filed, shall become the property of the Income-tax Department and will not be returned under any circumstances to the person filing such a return.

Creation of TDS return on Computer Media

9. The necessary requirements for creation of TDS Return on Computer Media are given below :—

9.1 The TDS Return data file should be created as a flat file using US 7 ASCII Mode.

9.2 Nomenclature of the Data File and the Directory Structure under which it will be stored.

The data file in the Computer Media should be stored under a Directory having the following directory structure :

NNNNXXXXNNXXXXXXX.DAT

where

NNNN
is the return year to which the TDS Return relates;
XXXX
is the return form number for which the return has been filed by the deductor;
NN
is the periodicity of the return i.e.,
In case of annual return
00;
In case of half yearly return
1st half yearly return
01
2nd half yearly return
02
In case of quarterly return
1st quarterly return
03
2nd quarterly return
04
3rd quarterly return
05
4th quarterly return
06;
and
XXXXXXX.DAT
is the data file name, where the first 7 characters i.e., XXXXXXX indicate the TAN without the location code and DAT is the file name extension.

For example, if the TAN is DELR00002C, return financial year is 1996-97, form number is 24, periodicity is 00 i.e, annual return, then the return year will be 1996, the name of the data file will be R00002C.DAT and the directory structure alongwith data file name will be.

199624

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