New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) Paying income tax, applying for PAN and seeking redressal of grievances have become easier as the tax department today launched an app allowing taxpayers perform basic functions through their smartphone.

The mobile app will also help people link their 12- digit biometric identifier Aadhaar with Permanent Account Number (PAN) card as well as track the TDS deduction details.

The mobile app ‘Aaykar Setu’, launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, literally means bridge for taxpayers and will be available in Android phones.

“This is a very important step forward by the CBDT and the principle reason being technology as a very powerful tool becomes an enabler. (With the app) most of the work the assessee can discharge without any external help sitting at home,” the minister said.

This is the first mobile app by the CBDT and can be downloaded by giving missed calls to 7306525252.

The app will have a live chat facility named ‘Chatbot’ from 10 am to 6 pm which will provide solution to queries of taxpayers relating to PAN, TAN, TDS, return filing, refund status and tax payments.

Besides, people can also have a live chat with tax experts and provides address of nearby tax return preparer.

It provides ease of use of all the services related to tax payment including tax payment, tax calculation. Also if a taxpayer has a problem, this app will help in lodging his grievance in the e-Nivaran module of the CBDT.

The taxpayers will also be able to receive regular updates regarding important tax dates, forms and notifications on mobile numbers registered with the ITD.

All taxpayers who wish to receive such SMS alerts are advised to register their mobile numbers in the Aaykar Setu module.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will also activate the option of filing tax returns using the mobile app in the coming months.

“The app reduces the physical interface between assessing officer (AO) and assessees. Physical interface has many unintended consequences – it is time consuming and can lead to improprieties,” Jaitley said.

The tax department, he said, has endeavoured to reduce interface and a lot of it has already happened. The app will make it “far more convenient” and make compliance easy.

“It also helps us in improving the image of the department. For the reason that one of the not so acceptable alibis given by those who don’t comply is we don’t comply because the harassment that compliance involves. Not that this reason has much reason in it, but today this reason gets eliminated more the interface is reduced,” he said.

Jaitley said an external audit must be done to see how much of the interface has been reduced and which are the other areas where it can be done.

The app will also have a section as ‘tax gyaan’ which will be a multiple choice question web-based game to provide knowledge to the youth accessible from mobile as well as desktop.

The mobile app is in the series of actions taken by the CBDT to provide better taxpayer services and reduce grievances.

The new initiative is a step by the I-T department to directly communicate with the taxpayers on a range of multiple informative and useful tax services aimed at providing tax information at their fingertips.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.