Introduction to TIN
The Income Tax Department of India has evolved over the last few years, incorporating technology to aid them in performing their duties. One such evolution is the TIN, or Tax Information Network, which was designed with the purpose of processing, collecting, monitoring and accounting of direct taxes, modernizing the current system to keep pace with trends. It is essentially a repository which contains tax related information from across the country. The Income Tax Department has enlisted the help of NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited to maintain and handle TIN.
Composition of Tax Information Network
A TIN system is made of up three main components, an Electronic Return Acceptance and Consolidation System (ERACS), a Central System and an Online Tax Accounting System (OLTAS). TIN has been designed to minimize human involvement when it comes to certain services, offering taxpayers and other citizens a simple, interactive platform to perform tax related tasks.
ERACS is primarily designed to aid in Annual Information Report, TDS and TCS, with information passed by a taxpayer processed by ERACS and fed to the Central System.
OLTAS, on the other hand is primarily used by the department to get details related to tax deposited across the country. The tax collected by multiple tax collection branches in India is processed by OLTAS and passed to the Central System for authorities to view.
Primary Online Services offered by TIN-NSDL
TIN-NSDL offers a number of services, with the primary ones listed below.
TAN – A Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number, or TAN is a prerequisite when an individual files his/her TDS or TCS returns, certificates or payment challans. The TIN-NSDL website offers multiple TAN related services to people, including online application, checking of status updates, reprint of TAN letter, duplicate TAN, etc.
PAN – A Permanent Account Number is mandatory for all taxpayers, with the government making it compulsory to quote it in a number of transactions. Individuals and entities can apply for a PAN through the TIN-NSDL website, with the entire process available to them at the click of a button. Apart from applying for a PAN, one can also check the application status, make changes or corrections to an existing PAN, apply for cancellation of PAN and find all necessary information on the portal.
E-TDS/E-TCS – Payments made by organizations or individuals to third parties attract TDS or tax deducted at source and this tax should be deposited to authorized tax collection agencies. The TIN-NSDL website saves time and effort of such entities, providing them an online platform to upload their returns. Similarly, entities can also upload their TCS returns online.
Annual Information Return (AIR) – As per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, all high value transactions should be supported by an Annual Information Return. Entities who need to file their AIR can do so through the TIN-NSDL website, which offers other solutions like registration, status tracking, changing or renewing the Digital Signature Certificate, etc.
AIN Registration – Certain Account Offices are expected to have an Account office identification number or AIN . Such entities can apply for an AIN online, through the official website of TIN-NSDL. The portal also allows them to view or download the Book Identification Number (BIN), update their information and upload Form 24G online.
Secondary Online Services offered by TIN-NSDL
E-payment of taxes – The TIN-NSDL website provides taxpayers a platform to pay their direct taxes online, by using relevant forms. Entities can pay TDS on property, Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Wealth Tax, Excise Duty and other direct taxes through this website. A safe mode of payment is permitted, ensuring that taxpayers can pay their dues without worry.
Status of tax refunds – Taxpayers can check the status of their tax returns through this website. One needs to enter their PAN details and the assessment year in order to view the refund status for that year, thereby helping them gauge how much refund they need to get.
Online PAN verification – Certain entities like banks, insurance companies, NBFCs, credit organizations, etc. would have to verify PANs of individuals, which can be done through this portal. Entities who wish to verify PAN can register themselves and follow a few simple steps to verify it online.
E-Return intermediary – Intermediaries who file income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers can do so electronically, thanks to the E-Return Intermediary facility offered by TIN-NSDL. Authorized entities can use this provision to simplify the task of filing tax returns for those involved.
Offline services offered by TIN Facilitation Centers
Apart from the online services offered by TIN-NSDL, the website also helps individuals find a TIN Facilitation Centre in their locality. These Facilitation Centers (FC) are located across the country and help people file physical TDS/TCS returns, process PAN and TAN applications (both new and applications for changes), accept Annual Information Returns and Form 24G on behalf of people. One can search for a FC by entering their state and city on the official website of TIN-NSDL, which then directs them to centers in their city.
TIN and NSDL e-Governance
The internet has provided an excellent platform for government agencies to simplify existing processes, bringing in transparency and speed at the same time. The Tax Information Network of the Income Tax Department is managed by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited, which aims to increase productivity by harnessing available resources. NSDL e-Governance was established in the year 1995 and has managed to display its acumen over the years, earning the trust of multiple entities during its journey. Promoted by IDBI Bank Limited, National Stock Exchange Strategic Investment Corporation Limited and Unit Trust of India. NSDL e-Governance has 10 additional shareholders, including SBI, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, HSBC, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Deutsche Bank, Union Bank of India, Dena Bank, Canara Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
Working with multiple government agencies, NSDL designs, implements and manages e-Governance projects with them, helping governments overcome hurdles and streamline projects for the common man.
Services offered by NSDL e-Governance
NSDL offers a host of services to its clients, including E-governance solutions designed primarily to improve efficiency and highlight transparency. Apart from this some of the other popular offerings are IT consulting, System Integration Solutions, Business Process reengineering, datacenter co-location, solution architecture, etc.
Major projects implemented by NSDL e-Governance
NSDL has implemented a number of key projects since its inception, with the major ones being the Tax Information Network (TIN), Unique Identification/Aadhaar Registration, Aadhaar Authentication, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Central Recordkeeping Agency, National Judicial Reference System (NJRS) and Electronic Accounting System for Excise and Service Tax. The NSDL-TIN project has helped the government formulate a system to perform multiple tasks, connecting shareholders and common taxpayers from different parts of the country.