Glitches in Income Tax Return Portal Stoke Confusion & Complaints
Infy at work to resolve the hurdles, experts fear delay in filing may derail ITR filing deadlines
The finance ministry was flooded by complaints since Wednesday after the new portal for filing income-tax returns malfunctioned, setting Infosys trouble-shooters on a war footing.
The site, www.incometax.gov.in, aims to make the compliance experience more taxpayer-friendly, according to a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday. The government had in 2019 asked Infosys to develop the next-generation income tax filing system to reduce processing time for returns from 63 days to one day and expedite refunds.
“The new portal is pretty young and most of the content and services are pooled and consolidated from earlier portals,” says Sujit Bangar, Founder of Taxbuddy.com. It’s a one-window option for everything related to income tax filing.
The glitches are related mostly to speed and functioning of some services under various icons on the portal. “Due to the glitch, the clients and companies are unable to use multiple compulsory services,” said Amit Gupta, MD, SAG Infotech. To give an idea of delay, the services are even taking 15-20 minutes to load or at least for the log-in. “Sometimes it is showing errors while in log-in. It is very hard to use the portal services until these are fixed.”
While the Twitter blue ticks have been ticking like a time bomb in a standoff between the government and the microblogging site, the technical snag in the portal drove the finance ministry to face a spate of angry tweets over the last 24 hours.
“Ease in compliance for the taxpayer should be our priority,” Sitharaman said while quoting a tweet from a user who was unable to log in to the new e-filing portal.
In a late evening reply to Sitharaman’s tweet, Infosys Co-founder Nandan Nilekani said that the company “regrets these initial glitches” and assured that the system will stabilise in a few days. “The new e-filing portal will ease the filing process and enhance end-user experience. Sitharamanji, we have observed some technical issues on day one, and are working to resolve them,” Nilekani tweeted.
But the timeframe is a cause for concern. “The glitch has affected tax filing as June 30 is the last day, and hence, significant difficulty in filing is being experienced at the moment with glitches adding to the online traffic,” says Raghuvir Gakhar, CEO of CashBean.
“Moreover, even those who are able to log in after many failures, the functional options/tabs are not displayed/visible on the screen,” said Suresh Surana, Founder, RSM India. For instance, for someone who wants to file a return, the option for the same is missing in the display.
“Some taxpayers may need to file their tax return or need the ITR -V for loan processing which is not possible to download, taxpayers are also not able to do e-verification of ITRs filed for FY2019-20,” said Abhishek Soni, Co-founder and CEO, Tax2win.in.
Also, in the line of fire were other services and ancillaries from the IT site. A notification to link Adhaar and PAN was issued by the authorities which are also facing challenges.
“Considering that the portal has been facing a blackout period since June 1, those intending to make remittances outside India have not been able to do so without the necessary compliance of filing Forms 15CA/15CB and are facing tremendous hardships in carrying out their daily business operations,” Surana pointed out.
Taking into consideration the current status of the portal, it is recommendable that the taxpayers may prefer to wait till the issues are resolved, said Surana when asked whether taxpayers should file or wait.
“I was in the process of filing my taxes, but my filing got delayed, due to the glitches,” complained Aishwarya J Badan, a Bangalore resident trying to file her taxes. “But I don’t want to file my taxes in a hurry. I would wait till the glitches are sorted out.”
Even if the ITR filing is enabled by the income tax department, Form 26AS (statement of TDS) will get updated only in the second week of July. Experts believe that it is better that the taxpayers should wait for updating Form 26AS since this year the tax department would do immediate processing and any discrepancies within the data will result in you getting the notice.
“The CBDT had provided directions to fix hearing of cases or compliances only from June 10, 2021 onwards which is due to expire Thursday, and in the absence of any further official relaxations, if any taxpayer/assessee fails to comply with necessary requirements within the due dates due to the poor functioning of the Income Tax portal, they may consider raising the query with income tax customer care or Help desk, preferably in writing, to avoid any unnecessary hardships or delays in future,” said Surana.
Experts also hope that the authorities will keep the taxpayers posted about developments on the tax filing portal through updates in the media and social media. In case of any delay in submissions of assessment proceedings, the taxpayer may at the future date when such submissions are made, add the reason for such delay in the ‘Remarks’ tab.