Tax : I-T E-filing Appeal System Activated

Income-tax (I-T) department activated the Aadhaar and netbanking-based e-filing verification system for taxpayers to file their first appeal before a tax officer, on the lines of online ITR filing. To reduce the interface between tax officials and the taxpayer, the department has operationalised the facility on its official e-filing portal. “One EVC can be used to validate one form of the assessee irrespective of the assessment year. The EVC will be stored against the assessee PAN along with other verification details. The EVC will be valid for 72 hours or as otherwise specified,” a notification said.

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Vehicle Insurance : Long-term Two-wheeler Insurance Policy Launched

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has launched a long-term two-wheeler package policy. Two-wheelers can be insured for up to three consecutive years under this policy. The insured do not have to renew the contract every year as they get one policy certificate for a maximum of three years of cover. The policy allows refund of premium with cancellation of policy, even if a claim for partial loss is filed during the policy period. Under the policy terms, there is 24x7 roadside assistance service. This service will be offered complimentary to women customers during the first year. The insured can save on paying higher premia due to annual third-party motor premium hikes.

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Retirement : Government Backtracks on EPF Issue
The government once again, flip-flopped on its policies, relating to retirement and pension products. There is a clear disconnect between the government’s policies and the concerns of savers. Similar was the flip-flop seen after the budget on the proposal to tax the employees’ provident fund (EPF) corpus on withdrawal. The government faced another backlash for the restrictions on the withdrawal of the EPF corpus before retirement.
 
The ministry of labour and employment introduced four changes to the EPF withdrawal process effective 10 February 2016. These included, retirement age increased from the current 55 years to 58 years, withdrawal of EPF balance only when you reach the age of 57 years and restriction on withdrawal of employer’s contribution to EPF before 58 years. However, after the backlash of trade unions, the labour secretary, Shankar Agarwal, announced the withdrawal of the 10th February notification.
 
This withdrawal was announced just hours after labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya had announced the 10th February notification will be deferred to 1st August. Mr Dattatreya had also relaxed the withdrawal norms; now a subscriber can withdraw his or her entire savings for the purpose of housing, treatment of himself/herself or family members suffering from certain illnessess, marriage of children as well as professional education of children. When the finance minister announced the Budget for FY16-17, he stated the need to bring parity among pension products, and proposed taxation of the EPF corpus on withdrawal, similar to the National Pension System. However, this led to a huge backlash and the government had to roll-back the proposal. Will the government take the opinion of financial consumers before introducing policies which affect the life-savings of a person?

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