Taxpayers should check their annual information statement every quarter and flag any discrepancies to help curb instances of wrongful HRA deductions, a senior finance ministry official said on Monday.
The income tax department had in November last year rolled out a new Annual Information Statement (AIS) on its portal that provides a comprehensive view of taxpayer information and an option to submit feedback.
It includes additional information related to interest, dividend, securities transactions, mutual fund transactions and foreign remittance information.
“You must keep on checking your AIS not only at the time of return filing, but quarterly. You should check your AIS and (report) if anything wrong is reported so that the other person who is wrongly claiming some kind of benefit should be caught,” Joint Secretary in the finance ministry Kamlesh Varshney said at an event here.
He said AIS has played an important role in ensuring voluntary compliance as it provides details of all financial transactions to assessees while filing their income tax returns (ITR).
“We all know how people have started showing saving bank interest (in ITR) after AIS. There is another big leakage which happens in House Rent Allowance (HRA),” Varshney said.
Giving example, the tax officer said many people give false declaration to their employer regarding house rent paid to claim HRA deductions. These declarations would also be visible on the AIS of the person in whose account the rent amount has been credited.
He advised people to check their AIS every quarter and in case of any discrepancy in income shown, the feedback should be uploaded immediately so that the other person who is wrongly claiming some kind of benefit can be caught.
“This is a very important system that we have developed that without actually scrutinising a taxpayer we promote voluntary compliance,” Varshney said.
The objectives of AIS are to display complete information to a taxpayer with a facility to capture online feedback, promote voluntary compliance and enable seamless pre-filing of return. Another objective is to”deter non-compliance”, as per the I-T website.