Digitalisation plays a very major role in today’s world. Recently some glitches in the tax portal raised eyebrows all over. Ever since the process of digitalisation began, people in the world have started to depend more on it, as it saves a lot of time in today’s busy world. People do not have much time now, as they have already scheduled everything and digitalisation plays a very major part in this.
We are now witnessing a great shift towards digitalisation in the country with a lot of government services making their online portals to help people save time. The same process which once consumed a lot of time of the people can now be done easily with people sitting at their homes.
Talking about this reminds me of the recent online portal that the Income Tax Department has recently launched which was developed by the very famous Infosys. This revamped portal, however, is facing several glitches making it inaccessible for the people. In this article, we will discuss everything about this online portal.
What is the portal, what is its use, how is it beneficial and what are the recent issues that the government is facing, all these questions will be answered in this article.
What is this online tax portal?
In the month of May, the Income Tax department announced the launch of their online e-filling portal or online tax portal on June 7 and would be operational after that. The department said that the new taxpayer-friendly portal will be integrated with the immediate processing of Income Tax Returns in order to provide quick returns to the taxpayers.
All the interactions and uploads or pending actions will be displayed on a single dashboard, thereby providing seamless action to the taxpayers. The portal also provides free ITR preparation software available along with interactive questions in order to help the taxpayers for some categories, along with providing a new call centre to solve the queries of people.
The responsibility was given to Infosys in the year 2019 to develop an online portal for the income taxpayers in order to reduce the processing time for returns from a long period of 63 days to just one day and expedite refunds. This was a very big responsibility given to Infosys to make the process simpler.
After the online portal was developed, everything seemed great. It was believed that it will make the process of returns simpler. However, the online tax portal has been facing a lot of glitches ever since it was launched in June. In the three months, the portal has been facing a lot of glitches and is resulting to be a problem for people instead of helping them.
After two and a half months of facing glitches in the revamped online tax portal, the Finance Minister of the country, Nirmala Sitharaman held a meeting with the MD and CEO of Infosys Salil Parekh on 23rd August.
The meeting included the officials of the finance ministry too. In the meeting, the CEO was asked to explain the reasons why these glitches were happening and are given a deadline of 15 September to resolve the issue.
What are the glitches faced by the tax portal?
Soon after the online tax portal was launched, people started facing many issues. These glitches started as soon as the portal was launched on June 7. The first glitch that people faced was the inability of the portal to generate OTP for Aadhar verification.
People were not receiving OTP as the portal failed to generate the one time password for verification. Another significant glitch that people were facing was the failure of generating the password. The portal failed to link old data for the past returns, as well as in filling returns.
After some time, the glitches expanded to lot more issues. These glitches included an error in the calculation of interest, incorrectly capturing of details from Form 16. Moreover, the portal failed to add details for tax exemption for trusts.
From the complaints of individual users of the portal, it revealed that the portal failed to accept the ITR-1 even after few days of submission. People were moreover unable to e-verify the ITR after filling. People further complained that the portal failed to maintain a secure connection and took a lot of time to load.
What is the result of these glitches?
These glitches in the tax portal have created a lot of issues for the chartered accountants and individual taxpayers leading to them requesting a further extension of filing deadlines. The due date of filing ITR by taxpayers not covered under audit was extended to September 30 from the previous deadline of July 31.
For tax audit, the due date was extended till November 30. 15th of August was the deadline for issuing quarterly deadlines. All the deadlines had to be extended only because of the prevailing glitches in the online portal.
These glitches have created a mess in the system and are constantly leading to the portal failing to perform the basic task it was designed for, which is making the process simpler and quicker for the taxpayers.
How has the government reacted to this?
In June, the morning after the tax portal was launched, the government showed its strong support to the portal as it was expected to solve the previous problems of the taxpayers. The government further praised Infosys to develop the tax portal.
However, it was no soon that the portal started to show various glitches and therefore problems started to spread. It created much tension among the individual taxpayers as they had to go through all these glitches in order to use the portal.
Recently, the finance minister of our country Nirmala Sitharaman called a meeting with some of the officials of Infosys including the MD and CEO of the company. In the meeting, all the issues were addressed and the company was ordered to improve the services of the tax portal without further loss of time.
Last week, the finance minister claimed that the issues will be resolved very soon, and are expected to resolve as soon as in the upcoming week and all the glitches will be solved. This will definitely benefit the individual taxpayers using the tax portal to file returns and reports
However, these glitches are not new to the people of the country. Infosys was earlier given other projects of the government too, which included the $50 million project of the government to implement the Ministry of Corporate Affairs portal.
Another portal was developed to strengthen the backbone of the GST network. In all of these projects, Infosys’ projects witnessed performance issues.
The GSTN portal faced several issues after its launch with laws and procedures being changed regularly. Most of the glitches, however, were solved soon after-tax officials were appointed to explain the frequent changes to the project vendors.
However, it should be kept in mind that India has a very vast population and creating an online portal for this huge network is not a piece of cake. We often witness glitches in the IT-led platforms majorly because of the dynamic environment.
However, these glitches can be beneficial in a way that they provide a clear image to the developers of what is needed and what is not, which can be used to make the portal even stronger.
The development of the Income Tax Department portal was a big achievement in itself and it is expected that these glitches will be solved real soon, thereby providing a seamless network to the individual taxpayers.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.