The government has decided to shelve the introduction of the unique transaction number, which tax payers need to quote along with permanent account number when tax is deducted/collected at source.The scheme was to have come into force from the new year. However, the finance ministry has not ruled out the possibility of introducing a new identity number like UTN from the next fiscal, in addition to the permanent account number to ensure prompt verification and granting of tax credits to tax payers.

“The introduction of UTN, which was scheduled to be implemented from January 2010, has been shelved in all probability. The process of filing tax returns remains the same as earlier,” a senior finance ministry official said.

A similar arrangement of having a new identity number is ‘under contemplation’ but it would only happen from the next fiscal, the official said.

The government had earlier said the system of allotting UTN is ‘expected’ to become operational by January 1, 2010.

The move to introduce UTN had invited concerns from tax payers as it would have brought in a slew of formalities for the tax payers, through their respective collectors and deductors, to avail the new number and file their returns on time.

The decision to shelve the UTN has been taken keeping in mind the approaching end of the fiscal year.

Moreover, the exercise to have a new identity number like PAN is huge and it would have brought a lot of complications for tax payers, the finance ministry official said.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes had deferred UTN’s introduction on June 30 this year saying, “taxpayers filing their income tax returns for assessment year 2009-10 or any other earlier AY, may continue to file their returns without mentioning the unique transaction number.”

The CBDT in a circular earlier said the new number is mandatory for filing tax returns due to certain lacunae like individuals having more than one PAN.

The Income Tax department was also in touch with the National Securities Depository Limited regarding future steps to be taken for ‘putting in place’ a new system for UTN.

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