Online Tax Accounting System is a system initiated by Income Tax Department, launched in 2004 for collecting information and maintaining records of taxes paid online through a network of bank branches.
Before the launch of OLTAS, the government collected taxes only through banks manually, but this process was time-consuming, prone to error and tiresome. To avoid the glitches and imperfection related with manual tax collection, The Advisory Group on Tax Reforms recommended a system. This system is a network which connects Income Tax Department, various banks and Reserve Bank of India for smooth online transmissions, regarding tax collections or refunds between the banks and Income Tax Department, including the settlement of funds with RBI.
The initial trial on OLTAS was restricted within the corporate taxpayers, but since 15th February 2004, the project was upgraded, covering both corporate and individual taxpayers. On 1st June 2004, the OLTAS pilot was launched all over India, covering all the participating banks and their authorized branches in India.
To check that the procedures involved in Online Tax Accounting System have proceeded smoothly, a selection of authoritative bodies were assigned to co-operate as a network.
The bodies include:
The government initiated Online Tax Accounting System in India for the following reasons:
OLTAS has been highly beneficial for the common taxpayers, as it has simplified things where one needs to fill just a single Challan (official receipt or invoice) instead of the four-part Challan filling system. OLTAS has also made it possible for taxpayers to obtain verifications at one’s own branch of a bank within the very instant, upon the payment of tax.
The taxpayer can also be assured if the payment made has been accounted for, once they receive the acknowledgment counterfoil, stamped with a Challan Identification Number (CIN). Through OLTAS one can also view all the details of taxes paid, by simply visiting http://tin-nsdl.com and entering the unique CIN assigned by the bank. Taxpayers are no longer required to attach copies/acknowledgment of challan with the Income Tax Return as he/she will simply be required to produce the CIN details.
The Income Tax Department of India has introduced a specific file format, regarding the uploading of tax payment data. It is mandatory for every participating bank and their branches to utilize this specified format while generating and transferring any information or data related to tax.
As per the directives of OLTAS, a taxpayer will use only a single copy of a common challan for the following:
After the bank has stamped the challan, the taxpayer will receive its counterfoil containing a unique Challan Identification Number (CIN).
The elements that make up CIN are:
The taxpayer must provide his/her CIN with the Income Tax Return as proof of the payment of tax.
Taxpayers are provided with a facility through which they can easily check online for details regarding the status of their challan with the assistance of the Tax Information Network (TIN). This facility offers secured tax payments with a confirmation that all tax payments are verified under the name of the taxpayer.
On entering a unique Challan Identification Number (BSR Code of Collecting Branch, Challan Tender Date and Challan Serial Number) and amount (which is optional),
A taxpayer can view the following details:
If a taxpayer can produce a TAN along with the date of which the challan was given out by the bank, then he/she can access the following information: