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This refers to the Service Tax Return for the period 1st July 2012 to 30th September 2012 which I have filed for some of my clients the last date of filing of which is 30th April 2013. I found that none of the returns filed by me has been reflected in the system as uploaded. Subsequently on checking the XML status option I discovered that the filed returns have been rejected for certain reasons. I am now filing these returns again after making the required corrections. Moreover the uploaded return never appears in the system for us to see whether the same has been filed or not. The only way to find out whether the return has been filed is to go to the option – RET-Efiling-View XML Status and check if the status is “FILED”.  The Department does not give any intimation to the assessee regarding anomalies if any in the return.

The point I would like to make is that when a return is filed by an assessee under the electronic media the assessee needs to get an acknowledgement by email and proper advise should be given to him to make him aware that the return filed by him is defective and that he needs to file it again after making necessary corrections. The department is not giving any such acknowledgement to the assessee. The only acknowledgement which the assessee gets is an acknowledgement stating that the XML file has been uploaded. To find out whether the return has been accepted by the system or not the assessee has to log in and view the XML status by going to options RET-EFiling- View XML Status, and if the Return is rejected then it would be construed that no return was filed for the period.

Most of the assessees would not be aware of this and would be under the impression that the return has been filed successfully especially after receiving an acknowledgement stating that the XML file has been loaded successfully.

As stated earlier, the assessee has to take the pains of finding out whether the return filed by him has been accepted or rejected by the system and if the return is rejected he has to find out the reasons for the rejection and then make the corrections and upload the corrected XML file again.

The Department does not send any acknowledgement whatsoever to the assessees email id stating the status of the return and also reasons for rejection if any.

As such, if the return is rejected by the system it would be construed that no return was filed at all and all fines and penalties associated with it would be applicable.

This is grossly unfair on the assessee especially given the fact that there have been sweeping changes in the law and several notifications need to be mentioned especially under works contract, reverse charge mechanism etc. The problem would be faced more by assessees who file their own returns without any professional help.

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