Tax Savings Proof
by Raj Shekhar
Growing up, the budget on Doordarshan was the most irritating thing on Television. No control over the remote, long monotonous narration/s, numbers which did not make sense and worst of all – for something which was related to finance, it did not result in a pocket money hike. Similar was the case when taxation and investment proofs were talked about.
Fast forward more than a decade and it was time to do everything mentioned above. The company yours truly finds himself working for involves a) accounting – taxation and everything finance and b) software. So logic says your taxation part would be again, a) simplified and b) filed w/out any hassle – we are in the IT business, afterall. The company, on its part has tried to make things simpler and employee friendly but ultimately the burden of proving your investments lie entirely upon you. And worse still, if you’re doing everything on the last day.
Compunding everything was that the declarations were made way back in April-May and up until October, things were pretty much like the declarations by the majority of our politicos – all words and very little action. So, when accounts in the co. sent out a mail to TSPL (the cos’ abbreviated name) and the “last date” of submitting the proofs was intimated, and having done nothing of the sort that would produce any proof of investment, it was time to act as also the fact that motivation to do so itself rose by 25 percent on reading “last day” – the two words made infamous during the post-grad days.
As a first step, Anthony was summoned to the apartment. Readers unfamiliar with Anthony would be interested to know that the round guy always seen dressed shabbily – with the top three buttons of his shirt unbuttoned and wearing the same very old pair of sneakers since July last year, is the caretaker of our flat and who after taking large sums of money as deposits pays the tenant on the expiry of their agreement with money got from the next tenant. It is a mini-Ponzi scheme and someday somebody is going to pay. For the time being, keeping my fingers crossed.
So Anthony was explained the concept of rent receipts and after ensuring that all the furniture in the house was Ok and the things provided by the owner were not misused or tampered-with beyond a particular point, the necessary documents were furnished.
Next up was to tackle the issue of opening up an xyz a/c in a Canara Bank branch for abc scheme. Now, I have only once had an experience with Canara before – Dwarka Sector 12’s Canara bank ATM which did not return my money or the ATM card post usage in the year 2010. It was a mini heart-attack and I remember being angry at the bank for obvious reasons and telling it to somebody and then having to backtrack when after years of knowing each other found out at that particular moment that her father worked in the same bank. Never have had much luck in these matters as it is.
So hoping for much better this time around, and having taken a break between working hours to do the needful, went and sat in the Branch Manager’s cabin – the guy a relative of my current flat-mate. After having had two cups of coffee, was directed to Mr. P who would complete the formalities except that 5 minutes into the conversation, got to know it was the first xyz a/c being opened in the branch. It wasnt the most assuring thing had heard the entire day, simply because a) was working on a deadline – had 6.5 hours to furnish the proofs and b) it was almost 5:30 in the evening and Mr. P then needed to call the nodal brach in Nagpur and follow the steps over the telephone to get things working.
In what was to eventually become the most irritating hour and a half spent in 2013, Mr. P could not get the user ID – password combination to work, had connectivity issues with Nagpur, had no idea how to give a proof of something which he had not dealt with before and ultimately ended up reducing the planned investment figure to one-tenth its original value so that in case of failure, the reversal would involve a watered-down figure as also that the proof for the remaining amount could be submitted during March. Sensing no point arguing, agreed to everything Mr. P said and a simple counter-foil was signed and the a/c number noted. It was the most kachcha of kachcha proofs you would ever see.
From Chembur to Malad takes the better part of an hour. It took two and a half hours on the day because of too-many people wanting to return home post work at the same time and so by the time workplace was reached to get the documents scanned, there wasn’t a single person to be seen except the guard. The peculiarity with the scanner at ours is that only a particular guy’s computer can access it and it does not help when the said PC is the finance and document hub of the place. No access to the scanner meant i now had 3.5 hours to upload the documents. The mobile phone was then commissioned into action. The nearest photocopy/scan/cyber-cafe was 2.5 kilometers away and the phone number mentioned did not work. Should one take the risk or travel >5 kilometers for the next option indicated. The cyber-cafe 2.5 kilometers away did exist but would require a wait of 30 minutes to sort out the net accessibilty issues faced.
An hour later and with everything done, it was time to log in to the company’s intranet and upload the documents. At 10:30 in the night and with dinner now skipped for the day, it took 20 minutes to read the how-to notes and another 20 minutes to upload the documents successfully – 40 minutes before the option to upload freezed.
Apart from the rent receipts for the months of April-May-June (Bangalore bureaucracy to be blame for the exclusion) and the toned down figure of xyz, it was a process which was simple and easily done. Almost a year into starting work, it is yet another thing which when growing up had thought would not do and yet, here many years later, find myself conforming to the system after a better undertanding of the processes involved.
And yes, will keep a keen eye on the numbers mentioned in the budget later this year.