OLTAS - Online Tax Accounting System

OLTAS stands for Online Tax Accounting System. It is a system mainly used in the collection of direct taxes from relevant individuals, companies, or organisations. It is the Income Tax Department’s strategy to acquire information as well as to keep a record of all the tax that has been paid via banks through the uploading of the details of the challan online.

OLTAS was launched in June 2004 with the following objectives:

  • Collection of online direct taxes
  • Accounting of online direct taxes
  • Reporting of payments as well as receipts of online direct taxes

All these objectives are to be carried out through banks and their respective network of branches.

OLTAS Challan Status Enquiry

The Tax Information Network (TIN) assists taxpayers by providing them with a facility through which they can make inquiries regarding the status of their challans. The procedure can be completed online. This facility ensures that all tax payments are consolidated under the name of the taxpayer and can also be used by banks collecting tax to make inquiries about the status of challans that were uploaded by them.

Taxpayers can check the status of their challans online by using the following search tools:

  1. CIN Based View: After the taxpayer enters the CIN and the tax amount, he or she will gain access to the following information:
    • The Bank BSR Code
    • The date the deposit was made
    • The serial number of the challan
    • The major head code along with a description
    • The TAN and PAN of the taxpayer
    • The Taxpayer’s name
    • The date the challan was received by TIN
    • If the taxpayer has entered the tax amount, then he or she can also view a confirmation of said amount and check whether the amount that has been entered is accurate
  2. TAN Based View: If the taxpayer provides the TAN as well as the date range during which the challan was given out by the bank, then he or she will have access to the following information:
    • The Challan Identification Number (CIN)
    • The major head code along with a description
    • The minor head code
    • Details regarding the payment and how it was made

Branches that collect tax as well as nodal branches can also check on the status of challans that have been deposited in banks via the following procedure

  • Branches of Collecting Banks: Branches collecting tax can view the following information by providing the major head code as well as the branch scroll date:
    • The total amount
    • The total number of challans for each major head code
    • The serial number of the challan
    • The date the challan was tendered
    • The TAN and PAN of the taxpayer
    • The Taxpayer’s name
    • The date the challan was received by TIN
  • Nodal Bank Branches: Nodal bank branches can access the following information by using the major head code-description and the nodal scroll date
    • The scroll number of the nodal branch
    • The date of the scroll
    • The major head code along with the description
    • The total tax amount
    • The number of bank branches
    • The number of challans deposited
  • The following data can also be viewed for every Nodal Branch Scroll Number:

    • The Bank BSR Code
    • The scroll number of the branch
    • The scroll date of the branch
    • The total tax amount
    • The total number of challans
    • The date the challan was received by TIN

Benefits of OLTAS

The OLTAS scheme comes with a number of benefits that are advantageous to taxpayers from all across the country:

  • OLTAS has replaced the old model, wherein taxpayers were required to fill in four challans. With the introduction of OLTAS, only a single challan must be filled.
  • OLTAS has made it easier for taxpayers to acquire their tax payment acknowledgements from their bank branches.
  • Evidence of payment of tax can be verified at once with the help of the Challan Identification Number (CIN)
  • All information and details regarding the taxpayer’s tax payments can be checked online. The taxpayer has to log in to TIN-NSDL (https://www.tin-nsdl.com/) and enter the CIN he has received from the bank in order to check his tax details.
  • After the introduction of OLTAS, taxpayers do not have to send in copies of the challan or the acknowledgement along with their tax returns. Only the CIN is required to be mentioned with the tax returns.

Why Was OLTAS Introduced?

Previously, all government tax collection was carried out manually via banks, which proved to be an extremely long process that was littered with mistakes and errors. In order to do away with the constraints that hindered the manual method of tax collection, a recommendation was put forth by Dr. Vijay Kelkar (Chairman of the Advisory Group on Tax Reforms) to ensure that the Income Tax Department and the Reserve Bank of India worked in tandem to facilitate the transfer and collection of tax collections and refunds through online means.

To make sure that this process was carried out smoothly the following bodies were tasked with working together to take the procedure to its logical conclusion:

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes
  • The Indian Banks Association
  • The Controller of Accounts
  • The Reserve Bank of India

OLTAS arose out of this collaboration, while its implementation was carried out in three distinct phases initially. While OLTAS was originally set up to cover only corporate taxpayers, it eventually extended its scope to include both corporate as well as individual taxpayers before finally covering all branches of the 32 member banks all across India.

In it’s original phase, data relating to tax information was the only component included under the scope of the OLTAS Project, but post April 1st 2005, the project was shifted on-line and banks were required to reconcile all tax funds that were collected daily with the data and information that was electronically sent to TIN by the banks.

How Does OLTAS Work?

The Income Tax Department has come up with a specific file format with regards to the uploading of tax payment data. This format is required to be used by all participating banks and their branches when it comes to the generation and transfer of any information or data relating to tax. Following the preparation of the file in the format outlined, the File Validation Utility (FVU) that is provided by the NSDL, can be used to ensure that the structure of the file is correct and proper.

As per OLTAS, the taxpayer will use only a common single copy challan for the following:

  • Challan Number ITNS 280 for corporate taxes as well as regular income tax
  • Challan Number ITNS 281 which is required for depositing all TDS and TCS
  • Challan Number ITNS 282 required for paying the following taxes:
  • Challan Number ITNS 283, which is required for any taxes relating to fringe benefits or banking cash transactions

The taxpayer will then receive the tear-off section of the challan after the bank has stamped it, which will contain a unique Challan Identification Number (CIN). The CIN contains the below mentioned data:

  • The bank BSR Code, which is a 7 digit number. This code relates to the bank where the taxpayer has made the tax deposit
  • The date the challan was presented
  • The 5 digit serial number of the challan that was presented to the taxpayer by the bank on that particular day

The CIN is required to be entered by the taxpayer in his or her Income Tax Return as evidence of payment of tax, is also required to be cited in case of any future enquiries. The taxpayer can acquire the challans from the official website of the Income Tax Department as well as any of the Tax Offices in his or her locality.

OLTAS Payments Online

Online Tax Accounting System or OLTAS was launched with the aim to collect, report, and account different types of direct taxes under one platform. For making an online tax payment through the OLTAS portal, you will be required to follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Visit the official website at https://www.tin-nsdl.com/.
  • Step 2: From the drop-down box under the ‘Services’ tab of the top menu, select the ‘e-payment: Pay Taxes Online’ option.
  • Step 3: Clicking on this option will open up the payment portal wherein you will have to choose the relevant Challan number for your payment.
  • Step 4: Under the ‘Taxes applicable’ head, choose the major head code.
  • Step 5: Enter the Assessment Year and PAN in the designated fields on the form.
  • Step 6: The data in respect to the PAN provided by you will be displayed on the screen.
  • Step 7: Enter your contact details such as your registered email ID, mobile phone number, and address in the fields provided on the online form.
  • Step 8: Select the applicable minor head code under the ‘Type of Payment’ sub-head.
  • Step 9: Select your preferred mode of payment from ‘Net Banking’ and ‘Debit Card’ and choose the name of your bank from the drop-down box.
  • Step 10: Enter the Captcha code and click on the ‘Proceed’ button.
  • Step 11: After the submission of the form, the details in regard to the PAN will be displayed on the confirmation screen. Verify the data and click on the ‘Submit’ button.
  • Step 12: You will be redirected to the bank’s payment portal after this wherein you have to make the payment.

OLTAS Refund

Once you have successfully filed your income tax returns, the same goes to the income tax authorities at the Centralised Processing Centre or CPC. The details of the filed taxes are checked for accuracy. After the details in regard to the tax paid or deducted are cross checked along with the details which are recorded at the income tax department, an intimation is forwarded to the taxpayer informing him or her about the tax payable or tax refund.

In the case of a tax refund payable to the taxpayer, a refund order is generated and sent forward to the income tax refund banker, i.e. State Bank of India (SBI), CMP Branch, Mumbai.

OLTAS Online Refund Status

You can also check the refund status using the OLTAS portal. You will be required to follow the steps mentioned below to check the status of your refund online:

  • Step 1: Visit the official website at https://www.tin-nsdl.com/.
  • Step 2: From the drop-down box under the ‘Services’ tab of the top menu, select the ‘Status of Tax Refunds’ option.
  • Step 3: Enter your PAN in the designated field and fill up the captcha code.
  • Step 4: Click on the ‘Submit’ button.
  • Step 5: The details in regard to your refund status will be displayed on the next screen

FAQs on OLTAS

  1. What is an OLTAS transaction?
  2. A system that was introduced to collect, account, and report Direct Tax payments from different taxpayers is OLTAS. OLTAS transactions are completed online via one of the network bank branches.

  3. What is OLTAS Challan correction?
  4. A functionality that has been provided by the TDSCPC in order to make any corrections to challans is the OLTAS Correction Challan.

  5. What is the process to download the OLTAS Challan?
  6. You can visit https://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Pages/default.aspx to download the challan. Private vendors and local Income Tax offices also provide the challan.

  7. What are the features of OLTAS?
  8. Some of the main features of OLTAS are:

    • The details of the tax that has been paid are available online.
    • A unique serial number and an acknowledgement number will be provided.
    • Taxes can be paid online or at any of the bank branches that come under OLTAS.
    • A single copy challan has been introduced.
  9. What are the advantages of OLTAS?
  10. Some of the main advantages of OLTAS are:

    • Copies of the challan need not be attached to the Income Tax Returns (ITR).
    • Tax payment details will be available online.
    • Since the acknowledgement counterfoil comes with a rubber stamp that has the CIN, all payments will be accounted for.
    • An acknowledgment will be provided for any taxes that have been paid.
    • Payment of taxes can be completed online.
    • A single copy of the challan will contain all the details. Earlier, four challans were available.

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