Thursday, July 30, 2009

To be or not to be: Form 16

I am sure this entry adds to the zillion other blog entries on ‘taxing’ worries!
I fail to fathom the complexities of the Indian Income Tax Department (actually, of all the Government departments, but then this one currently happens to be no.1 on my s**t list).

Though most financial terms are Greek and Latin to me, and do not interest me a wee bit, I made the horrendous blunder of reading a news snippet about Form 16s no longer mandated for filing of returns. This was sometime in May 2007. Read the news piece here.
Being the extra chilled out (read lazy) bum that I am, I coolly stopped keeping a record of my Form 16s.

So, when last week my FIL called the CA to get all our tax records cleared, I announced that I did not have any of my Form 16s. (Having been in the US for the last two financial years, I have the mammoth task of filing IT return for three years this time.)
Obviously, everybody was livid, but I dutifully quoted the news item and succeeded in dissipating some heat, whew!

However, the CA told us that the new forms require detailed information, which is provided in the Form 16. If we do not have that, all calculations need to be done manually based on the salary slips received each month. I wonder what gave him the impression that I look the kind to store my salary slips for 36 months in some locker, dimwit!
I tried arguing, explaining – nothing helped…I actually realized Form 16 makes everybody’s lives easier as it gives you line by line information that the tax return form asks for.

Fine, will somebody tell me then what is the use of shouting from the roof top that we are moving towards more user-friendly government machineries and mechanisms and are eliminating the need for useless paper work, when in reality we are just moving on to just another arduous way of doing things?

As if not having the Form 16s was not bad enough, I had meanwhile quit my organization a week before this crazy CA landed up at our place. Being in an organization and getting the Finance Department to listen to you sounds quite impossible, imagine trying to get them to reply to your mails after you are no longer an employee!

But, never say die, I did try mailing the corporate finance team and was thrilled to bits when they sent all my Form 16s within a week.
There is mercy and hope for salvation, always!

Lessons Learnt:

  1. Avoid reading news bulletins concerning the Indian Government way of functioning. If you happen to come across any such information, ignore it.
  2. Form 16 is mandatory; forget what everybody else tells you.
  3. You can file your current financial returns only if all your previous returns have been filed, else you have the option of filing them altogether.
  4. Save all your salary slips and bank statements for easy retrieval.
  5. Actually, forget point 4.
  6. On second thoughts, points 1 to 5 are not required, if you just remember this simple cardinal rule – Let your dad/ hubby/ FIL take charge of your tax details, empower them completely and just sign where they ask you to!

1 comment:

  1. the last bit about empowering the man with the taxing responsibilty(pun intended) of tax details is truly ingenious ;)


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