The automation drive by the country’s excise and service tax department took another step forward Wednesday with the access to online registration and filing of returns made available in the national capital and surrounding regions. ‘The main objective of the automation drive is to provide an electronic interface with the department that aims to reduce costs, the paperwork, visits to our offices,’ said Sreela Ghosh, chief commissioner of excise and service tax in the capital.

‘From the government’s point of view, it increases accountability, the responsiveness, efficiency and also transparency in the indirect tax system,’ Ghosh added at an event here to launch the automation project in the Delhi circle.

Officials said the automation had become all the more necessary in the wake of revenues shooting up from Rs.1,000 crore for the Delhi Commissionerate five years ago to more than Rs.10,000 now, with the assessed base also rising at the same rate to 140,000.

They said the automation will also help when the Goods and Services Tax is introduced from April next year, to make the system simpler by replacing a plethora of levies by the central and state governments.

We feel that the assesses base will increase multi-fold to around 4-5 million with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax. And our automation system will come in handy then as well as only some tweaking will be required,’ said Ghosh.

Others participating at the event included S.K. Goel, member of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, D.P. Dash, additional director general, and R.D. Negi, commissioner for service tax.

They also introduced a website for the Delhi region – www.servicetaxdelhi

In the automation drive, several Indian information technologies and telecom majors have been roped in as partners, including Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Bharat Sanchar Nigam and National Informatics Centre.

They have helped in establishing a wide area network to inter-connect 582 locations. It also offers e-payment option over a network of 21 banks.

‘We have ensured a new, modern system in which problems such as delays in registration, non-processing of refunds, shall be complaints of a bygone era,’ said Goel. ‘The system will also help in collecting and assessing data – which remains the main tool for any tax administration.

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