Glitches linger on the IT site as the Finance Minister's deadline approaches

Finance Minister

Finance Minister

The Income Tax Portal continues to be a source of concern for taxpayers rushing to file their forms before the September 15 deadline set by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the portal's software provider, Infosys, to fix bugs.According to tax professionals, the portal's return filing modules still have a host of issues.

Even simple processes like requesting an adjournment in ongoing assessments, adhering to the Vivad Se Vishwas plan, and providing a digital signature are proving difficult.Despite the fact that the government has extended the deadline for individual taxpayers to file income tax returns (ITRs) until December 31, it is charging a 1% interest rate for each month that they are late past the original July 31 deadline, raising concerns about the exchequer penalising them for administrative errors.“

The government has indicated it is aware of the portal’s persistent challenges when it extended the return filing deadlines,” said Shailesh Kumar, Partner at Nangia & Co LLP. “However, there is a genuine hardship for taxpayers, who have paid self-assessment tax, but are not able to file ITR due to portal issues. They are still required to pay interest at 1% per month for delay in filing the ITR,” he mentioned.“The government should waive the interest for those taxpayers, who have already paid their entire tax liability, if they file their ITR within the extended time limit,”

Mr Kumar said, emphasising that individuals are eager to complete their returns because no one wants to pay interest.Even while there has been some ‘gradual progress' in the portal's interface, several faults persist, according to Suresh Surana, founder of RSM India, who listed various difficulties.“Taxpayers are having problems with auto-population of data from Form 26AS because imported data is either erroneously populated or not populated at all. ITR correction, tax credit mismatch, challan corrections, and a few other features have still to be activated,” he said, adding that concerns registered on the site, which used to be resolved in a week, now take 30 to 45 days to receive a response.After summoning Infosys CEO Salil Parekh on August 23,

Ms. Sitharaman expressed the government's "great displeasure" with the company's handling of the IT site, which has been ineffectual and plagued by issues since its inception on June 7. She had ‘demanded' that flaws with the portal's "present functionalities" be fixed by September 15 so that taxpayers and professionals can use it without interruption.Mr Kumar stated that the portal is still evolving due to modifications in ITR form e-filing modules.“On some days, it works fine, on other days, there are technical glitches in some modules.

Even through the functioning has improved over past few weeks, but still problems persist making it difficult for some taxpayers while filing the ITR,” he added.Despite significant improvements since the portal's introduction, the new e-filing portal's processing time remains slower than the previous version, and ITR forms for businesses, partnership firms, and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) are still unavailable for filing, according to Mr Surana.Individual taxpayers with various income sources are facing varying challenges, prompting some CAs to charge higher fees for a successful return filing.

While corporations have until November-December to file their returns, individual taxpayers with various income sources are facing varying challenges, prompting some CAs to charge higher fees for a successful return filing.“There are categories that need to submit one or more forms before filing the return and include their date of submission and acknowledgement in the ITR, but the field for those details haven’t been activated in the ITR,” said a Mumbai-based accountant.Given the flaws in various features, the new portal's user interface is especially difficult to use because it takes a step-by-step approach.

“We may fill in details on separate tabs of the return form and populate them gradually till the time of filing in the previous site. Now, until all of the fields in an earlier phase are filled, you won't be able to fill in the details you have immediate access to,” he explained.“Certain orders uploaded recently on the portal by the tax authorities are not downloadable due to its server issues. There are troubles in registering the digital signature certificate. We are not being able to file for adjournment in ongoing assessment cases. There are still a lot of problems,” said another accountant.

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