The finance ministry had called Infosys -- the vendor which developed the site -- for a meeting to hear out stakeholder concerns and suggest remedial measures for fixing the issues.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday asked Infosys to fix all issues on the new Income Tax portal immediately, while the software major said at least five technical glitches, including viewing past ITRs and e-proceedings, are expected to be resolved within a week. As numerous glitches have continued to mar the functioning of the new Income Tax efiling portal for two weeks since its launch on June 7, the finance ministry had called Infosys — the vendor which developed the site — for a meeting to hear out stakeholder concerns and suggest remedial measures for fixing the issues.
The ministry had received more than 700 emails from stakeholders detailing over 2,000 issues, including 90 unique issues/problems with the new portal. During the online meeting on Tuesday, which was also attended by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj, CBDT Chairman Jagannath Mohapatra and other senior officials, Sitharaman exhorted Infosys to work on the tax portal to make it more humane and user-friendly.
The Finance Minister expressed her deep concern on the various problems being faced by the stakeholders in the new portal, which was expected to provide a seamless experience to taxpayers. “The FM asked Infosys to address all issues without further loss of time, improve their services, redress grievances on priority as it was impacting taxpayers adversely,” an official statement issued after the meeting said.
During the meeting, Infosys CEO Salil Parekh and COO Pravin Rao, along with other company officials took note of the issues highlighted by the stakeholders. They also acknowledged the technical issues in the functioning of the portal and shared the status of the resolution concerning the issues highlighted by the stakeholders.
“They informed that Infosys has been working to fix the technical issues noticed in the functioning of the portal and that they have augmented the resources for execution of the project on the hardware as well as the application side and that some of the issues have already been identified and fixed,” the statement added.
For the other remaining technical issues, Infosys has assured the government that their teams were working on them and gave the expected timelines within which the issues would be resolved. “…Issues such as e-proceedings, Form 15CA/15CB (used for remittances), TDS statements, DSC (Digital Signature Certificate), viewing of past ITRs etc. are expected to be resolved in about a week. It was also decided that the timelines mentioned by Infosys to redress the issues would also be placed in the public domain in due course,” the statement issued by the Income Tax department said.
During the meeting, Sitharaman emphasised that enhanced taxpayer service is an important priority for the government and every effort should be made to amplify the same, it added. She also hoped that the positive engagement between taxpayers, tax professionals and the government would continue in the future and assured them that the government is responsive to their problems and is proactively committed to enhance taxpayer service and experience, the statement said.
The meeting was also attended by 10 tax professionals, including representatives of ICAI and the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners (AIFTP). The efiling portal, www.incometax.gov.in, was launched on June 7, which the tax department as well as the government said was aimed at making compliance more taxpayer-friendly. However, the portal faced glitches, including longer logging in time, inability to generate OTP for Aadhaar validation, non-availability of ITRs for past years. Stakeholders have also highlighted weak user interface, inability to view old demand, grievances and intimation orders as the issues that need to be fixed.
This is the portal that common income taxpayers will also use to file their annual returns for the assessment year 2021-22 for income earned in the financial year 2020-21. The last date for filing such returns by individual taxpayers is September 30. Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Infosys, the finance ministry had on June 16 invited written representations from stakeholders regarding glitches or issues faced on the new income tax efiling portal. Tax consultants have submitted their representations on technical and performance issues, issues of missing data, modules which are not working and suggested that the new portal be launched after adequate beta testing.
Infosys was in 2019 awarded a contract to develop the next-generation income tax filing system to reduce processing time for returns from 63 days to one day and expedite refunds. Answering a shareholder’s question at the Infosys AGM last week, Infosys COO had informed that close to one lakh income tax returns have been filed so far on the portal. A day after the launch of the Income Tax Department’s new tax filing portal, social media users had flagged glitches in the portal to the finance minister.
Following that, Sitharaman took to Twitter on June 8 and asked Infosys and its Chairman Nandan Nilekani to fix the technical glitches. Replying to the tweet, Nilekani had said Infosys is working to fix the glitches.