OLTAS: The Easy Way To Pay Direct Taxes

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  • 02 Feb 2023

OLTAS helps the department to not only acquire information about taxpayers, but also maintain records of the taxes that are paid through banks, when the taxpayer uploads the challan online.

Before OLTAS came into existence, the process of paying tax was manual, long and prone to error. Therefore, after much groundwork, the Reserve Bank of India, Indian Bank Association, the Central Board of Direct Taxes Department and the Controller of Accounts came together to create OLTAS. The system was introduced in April 2004 and it had three main objectives:

  • Online collection of direct taxes
  • Accounting of direct taxes online
  • Online reporting of receipts and payments of direct taxes

Banks and their respective network of branches ensure the smooth functioning of this system. It is important to note that direct taxes cannot be paid at any bank; only bank branches that have access to the OLTAS software can collect taxes. However, the number of bank branches offering this facility has increased over time. In fact, many banks offer the link to OLTAS through their net banking site.

The On-Line Taxing Accounting System originally came into being for corporate taxpayers only. However, looking at its efficiency, the system was opened to individual taxpayers as well.

After you, as a taxpayer, go to an authorized bank or to its website and pays your direct taxes, your information is sent to the Tax Information Network (TIN). TIN, which was established by the National Securities and Depository Limited, acts as the connecting link between the banks and the Income Tax Department.

Direct taxes are accepted by authorized bank branches through cash, cheque or demand draft. A single challan, as against four challans before OLTAS, is then issued in the name of the taxpayer by the bank. If you pay in cash, then the tear-off portion of the NSDL challan, which is stamped with a unique Challan Identification Number (CIN) and immediately handed back to you. However, if you pay through cheque or demand draft drawn on any other bank or branch, then you will receive the tear-off portion of the challan only after the payment is realized. However, the tax payment date will be the same as the date of tender.

Currently, there are four types of Single Copy Challan in use:

  • Challan ITNS No 280: To pay Corporation Tax (for companies) and Income Tax (other than Companies).
  • Challan ITNS 281: To deposit the taxes you have deducted or collected at source (TDS/TCS). The challan has two major heads -- company deductees (0020) and non-company deductees (0021)
  • Challan ITNS 282: To pay Hotel Receipts Tax, Gift Tax, Estate Duty, Expenditure Tax, Wealth Tax, Securities Transaction Tax and other miscellaneous direct taxes
  • Challan ITNS 283: To pay tax on fringe benefits and cash transactions at banks
  • Challan ITNS 284: Tax on undisclosed foreign income and assets

CIN is a unique number that holds the following information:

  • Seven-digit BSR Code of the bank branch where tax is deposited
  • Date of presentation of the challan (in DD/MM/YY format)
  • Five-digit serial number of the challan given to the taxpayer in that bank branch on that day

The CIN should be saved as a proof of payment, as it has to be mentioned while filing your Income Tax Return. This unique number can also be of use in case there are any further enquiries.

The NSDL Challans are available on the website Income Tax India.

They are also available at the local Income Tax Offices and with private authorized vendors.

The Tax Information Network (TIN) is the link between the banks and the tax department, and between the tax department and the taxpayer. It provides an online facility where taxpayers can enquire about their NSDL challan status. TIN records and maintains all tax payments made by each taxpayer, which helps both, the banks and the taxpayers.

There are two different methods to make an NSDL challan status enquiry:

When you visit OLTAS Application, you will have two options CIN-based view and the TAN-based view.

CIN-Based View: When you enter the CIN and the tax amount, you will get access to:

  • The BSR Code of your bank
  • Date of making the deposit
  • Challan serial number
  • Your TAN and PAN
  • Your name
  • The date the challan was received by TIN
  • If you enter the tax amount, you can view confirmation of the same & check whether the amount entered is accurate

TAN-Based View: This is basically for businesses that collect taxes like TDS, etc. If the Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN) and the date range during which the challan was issued by the bank is entered, then you will be able to access:

  • Challan Identification Number (CIN)
  • Major head code along with a description
  • Minor head code
  • Details about payment and its mode

Authorized bank branches and nodal branches too can check the status of challans online through the following process:

Collecting bank branches: Bank branches that collect tax need to enter the major head code and the branch scroll date to check the following:

  • Total amount
  • All challans for each of the major head codes
  • Serial number of the challan
  • Date the challan was tendered
  • TAN and PAN of the taxpayer
  • Taxpayer’s name
  • Date the challan was received by TIN

Nodal Bank Branches: Nodal bank branches need to provide the major head code-description and the nodal scroll date to gain access to:

  • Scroll number of the nodal branch
  • Date of the scroll
  • Major head code along with the description
  • Total tax amount
  • Number of bank branches
  • Number of challans deposited

For each Nodal Branch Scroll Number, the following information can also be accessed:

  • Bank BSR Code
  • Scroll number of the branch
  • Scroll date of the branch
  • Total tax amount
  • Total number of challans
  • Date the challan was received by TIN

OLTAS is a time-saving, hassle-free and mostly error-free arrangement to pay and collect taxes. It is not only convenient, but also comes with a number of benefits for the taxpayer.

  • It is now easier & quicker for taxpayers to obtain acknowledgements of their tax payments from bank branches
  • A taxpayer can verify the payment of tax and easily access other details of the payment, thanks to CIN.
  • Taxpayers do not have to send copies of the challan or acknowledgements while filing tax returns. The CIN is enough!
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