Computer takes on CAs job at least for filing returns

Aisha (Finance Professional) (7667 Points)

18 May 2008  

ew Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Can the computer replace your chartered accountant? Yes, says a software firm, which is aiming its only product at the small-time taxpayer who can’t afford the hassles of finding a person to help file tax returns. TaxSpanner - an online income tax preparation and filing tool for India at - offers to help you “e-file” your income tax return in three easy steps.

Delhi-based SpanAcross IT Solutions Private Ltd. director Manoj Yadav said the product was gearing up to work with some big players and was expecting to extend its reach.

Someone visiting the site has to provide information, entering income details and claimable deductions. Income tax returns can be then prepared and filed. Filing of tax retruns can be done either through the e-filing route (online) or at an income tax office.

Located in Delhi’s Mall Road, the company says it wants to scale up from some thousands using its product, to a much bigger number. In India, tax returns are usually filed mid year.

“It makes sense. It’s a hard job to find a chartered account, reach him or her, get the paperwork done. All this is time-consuming and painful, especially for individuals who don’t have existing contacts,” Yadav told IANS.

“There is also a problem of trust and confidence. We are strong on the privacy of our clients,” said he. “Our tool is menu-driven and very easy to operate. We also offer mail-based support to our customers, replied to within 24 hours.”

Yadav said the company’s founders were chartered accountants, and others well versed in the field of accounting and tax. is based on Free/Libre and Open Source Software tools. It runs on the general purpose, very high-level programming language Python and the web application framework Django.

“We have not spent a penny (on buying proprietary software besides developing it),” he said.

Yadav said this was a “new concept”, though it had three or four more players competing in the same space, including one company recently acquired by ICICI Infotech.

“We’re in talks with some banks and companies that could extend the reach (of our online tool),” Yadav told IANS. “The government is moving towards the e-filing of income tax returns. We are providing e-filing support too.”

Currently, TaxSpanner allows you to work out your ‘advanced’ returns for Rs.449, ‘quick’ returns for Rs.249, and you can also “try it for free, and pay only when you file” at

TaxSpanner, launched in July 2007, provides customers with an interface for preparing personal income tax returns, and reduces their “pain of preparing taxes manually”.

SpanAcross, the firm, says it aims at being India’s leading solution provider for online income tax preparation and filing, under the brand name TaxSpanner (

India, a country of 1,100-plus million, is said to have some 31.5 million tax payers. This number grew by nearly 11 percent between March 2002 and March 2006, official figures reveal.

With the government tightening income tax leakages and ensuring more citizens file their returns, the demand for help in filing returns is growing too.

The Directorate of Income Tax (Systems) at New Delhi has also said there was a total of 54 million PAN or Permanent Account Numbers allotted to taxpayers by July 5, 2007.

The Income Tax Department’s website has also been allowing for the electronic filing of returns.