The new portal has a several user-friendly options for one to file their own tax returns with ease
On June 07, 2021, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) launched the new income tax e-filing portal. The focus driving this change is to have a taxpayer-friendly portal that provides a modern, seamless experience to taxpayers and faster processing of income tax returns. Let us see how individual taxpayers could benefit with the user-friendly options in the new portal.
Easy and secure access:
The new portal has a completely new look and design, with a dashboard providing direct access to related important links such as Aadhaar linking and e-Verify of tax returns etc., without requiring the taxpayer to login into the portal. Login is permitted using Aadhaar number as against the login via PAN in the old portal. Taxpayers can even choose to log into the portal using the Aadhaar number and a one-time password (OTP). The captcha code has been replaced with a ‘secure access message’ that enables additional security. The taxpayer can set a secure message which needs to be provided when logging in, which would stop them from inadvertently logging into phishing websites. Login activity provides details on last logout, login and last update.
The new portal has a special option for the taxpayer to select a specific window visible to their chartered accountant (CA), in case the password is shared with the latter.
Additional useful features:
The site map provides an insight of the various facilities available under each tab in a single window, which would save taxpayer’s time in searching for options.
On login, a popup appears with details of the percentage of completion of the taxpayer’s profile, services that can be availed and those that are disabled due to non-completion of the profile. This would remind the taxpayer to complete his profile by filling in missing details. The profile section also includes options to update details such as bank accounts (and tag the bank account where the refund is to be credited), demat accounts, sources of income, which will be used in pre-filling ITR, after necessary returns are filed by other stakeholders such as employers, banks etc. This would save a lot of the taxpayer’s time when filing returns.
The dashboard provides a snapshot of pending actions, status of grievances filed, year-wise tax returns, taxes deposited etc. in a single screen, as compared to multiple tabs earlier.
The new portal has an option of comparing the database as per IT portal, PAN and Aadhaar, which will enable the taxpayer to look for mismatches, and make necessary corrections. They can now update their citizenship (Indian or others) and passport details, which could be useful for non-Indian taxpayers without Aadhaar to file returns in India in case they qualify as residents.
The tax return would be prefilled with the information provided by the taxpayer in the profile. The return can be filled online as well as offline. For offline filing, the JSON utility has to be downloaded, since excel/java utility has been discontinued. One of the objectives of the new portal is to ensure faster processing of tax returns and quicker refunds. Taxpayers have an option of adding their CAs, who would be able to view the details and take necessary action on behalf of the taxpayer, such as filing grievances, filing Form 15CB etc., after access is provided to them by the taxpayer. More than one CA can be added.
It may be noted that request for all kinds of condonation of delays has been brought into single tab.
Guidance and tutorials:
The new income tax portal is issuing detailed frequently asked questions (FAQ), tutorial videos and a new AI (artificial intelligence) live agent named Tax Genie, to help taxpayers understand features of the new portal, and also various tax regulations. The Tax Genie is expected to aid taxpayers in resolving queries and clarifying doubts. A mobile application with all essential functions of the new portal will be launched subsequently.
Currently, taxpayers are facing technical glitches as many features of the new portal are not yet operational. Some of these are — accessing past returns, issuance of online Form 15CA/CB for remitting funds abroad, access to outstanding demand and filing of rectifications, and responses on the portal against notices/order received, which is currently not possible as the migration is still on. Digital signature, which was registered by the taxpayer previously, needs to be re-registered as its migration is not possible due to security reasons. Existing grievances registered on the old portal, along with a trail of interactions on the same is not yet enabled. Resolution of these issues is underway, and streamlining is expected shortly.
While teething issues are expected for a migration of this size, the efforts of the tax department in addressing the needs of taxpayers is worthy of applause.
Aarti Raote is a Partner, Deloitte India; Sudeep Kumar is Manager, Deloitte Haskins, and sells LLP
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