The Income Tax Department has been sending emails to all the tax payers with subject as “e-Filing Vault Options” and additionally to NRIs with subject as “Kind Attention of Non-Resident Taxpayer”. These emails have unnecessarily created confusion among tax payers, especially NRIs. This blog explains the emails, what it means, reasons, and whether, why, how and if anything to be done.
“e-Filing Vault Options” Email:
With IT (Information Technology), the IT (Income Tax) e-filing account is being used for multiple purposes and is not only limited to accessing 26AS (TDS statement) but is expected to become a communication link between a tax payer and the income tax department for everything – tax return filing, submitting various forms, certificates, submitting replies, answering notices, and many more. Any transaction done online would have legal implications so security of the e-filing account is of critically important. The email is part of the initiatives taken by the Income Tax department to protect tax payer’s information and to restrict the access to the Income Tax e-filing account through “e-filing vault options”.
- Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
- Aadhar One Time Password (OTP)
- Bank Account Electronic Verification Code (EVC)
- Demat Account EVC
For Net Banking, login to e-filing portal through Net Banking would be required; the DSC needs to be registered on the Income Tax portal; Aadhaar Card needs to be linked; the Bank and Demat account details should be updated and pre-validated with OTP.
A taxpayer may select multiple options for login. After activating the e-filing vault option, if the taxpayer does not want to continue, he/she may de-activate the same (after logging in using e-filing vault option).
Activating one or more of e-filing Vault options restrict unauthorized access and ensure higher security of taxpayer’s income tax e-filing account.
The increased security is also available for resetting the password of the e-filing account. The password resetting system by answering secret question may be deactivated and the password could only be reset by one of the 5 ways mentioned above ensuring higher security.
Applicability for NRIs:
Generally, NRIs would not have DSC and are not allowed to have an Aadhaar card. They may also not have Demat account. In such case, NRIs would need to login to the e-filing website only by using the registered bank account or net banking.
Whether to do:
This is only for those who want to increase the security and restrict the login to the income tax e-filing website. If anyone is satisfied with the current operating of e-filing login, there is nothing to be done.
“Kind Attention of Non-Resident Taxpayer” Email:
The email explains that NRIs can also e-verify the return (no need to sign and submit the acknowledgement “ITR-V” after income tax return is filed) using net-banking. Also, if an NRI does not have the net-banking facility, e-verification can also be done through a resident representative.
An NRI who does not have net banking facility may “Add/Register as Representative” under “My Account” in his e-filing account and would authorize an Indian Resident having PAN to perform tasks on his/her behalf. The representative would be able to e-verify the return as well as perform other tasks on behalf of the NRI.
The email was sent just for information purposes to inform the NRIs that such a facility exists and has been enabled for last 7-8 months. Only if you would like to authorize someone to manage your income tax account officially, you may add the person as Representative and authorize him to do or perform tasks on your behalf. If an NRI has net-banking and wants to manage the e-filing account on his/her own, there is nothing to be done.