Selfreturnsfileophobia

Noun: Selfretursnfileophobia , self-ri’turns-fI(-u)lo-fow-bee-u

1. A fear of filing the tax returns by oneself.

This is one situation which i have seen in a huge number of people. Irrespective of what level they are educated to or what work they do many people have this phobia of filling the tax returns by themselves. So they will wait till the company they work for gets someone to prepare the returns for them and do the filing or they will approach some CA to do the filing for them.

Fine, earlier there used to be a time when the filing of returns used to be a tedious job and required accountants. And after all that you will also have to stand in a queue in the Income Tax Office to submit the same and get a copy of it stamped to act as an acknowledgement. I understand some of them who knew how to prepare the returns too used to go to the accountants just so that they need not do the operational work of standing in the queue and submitting the returns.

Then came the SARAL forms which were very simple to fill in. So out goes the tedious part. But still the sweaty part of standing in the queue (mainly because everyone used to wait till the last date to file their returns) wasn’t out.

But now, after the e-filing of tax returns has come up, even that part of the work is simplified. You file the returns online and if you do not have a digital signature, then just send a copy of the acknowledgement you receive to the address which is mentioned in the acknowledgement by ordinary post. So all you spend is Rs 5 on the postage.

But no… Bulk of the people are still are very much apprehensive to fill in their own returns. Working in a Financial software company myself, I was shocked to see that almost everyone in my office thronging to the representative who had come to file returns. I was amazed when even the people in finance department were standing in the queue there. And yeah the queue also included a couple of people who calls themselves independent and self made … Yeah … Independent and Self made just in the same way I am Michael Schumacher 😛

And the funnier part is the person who had come collects a copy of the Form 16 and pan card and Rs 150. He goes to the office, files the returns online and sends them the same acknowledgement copy which they get when they file online. So basically the people are willing to spend 30 times more just to avoid the phobia.

I literally had to drag a couple of my cubicle neighbours away from the queue to show them that they can fill the same online in time lesser than the time they spend in that queue and for a lesser amount.

Next time may be I should charge 100 bucks for the same :P.

For ppl who want to fill their own returns, this is the site to visit: https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in . It won’t take more than half an hour of your time.

Edit: One thing I came to know from interacting with many people in office regarding this is that not many people either don’t know that you can do this or think it is very complex to do it.  And once I explain the process to them, each and every one asked “Is that it???” . Looks like lack of awareness is one of the main reason for this feature not being used by individuals.  Time for IT department to do something regarding this ???

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