Government has created mess: Shashi Tharoor on new I-T portal
(Sourced from PTI)
Attacking the central government over the glitches in the new Income Tax portal, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor alleged that even after spending Rs. 4,200 crore on the new I-T portal, the government had "failed" to make it user-friendly and created a "mess" instead. The new portal, which launched on June 7, was aimed at making compliance more taxpayer-friendly. Here are more details.
Tharoor, who is the Chairman of the All India Professionals' Congress, said that chartered accountants in the Congress unit have informed him that the change of the Income Tax portal has been disastrous, with glitches including longer than usual logging time.
In a series of tweets, Tharoor said, "Not clear why the government chose to change the income tax portal in June." "Would have been wiser just before the end of the Financial Year or the start of the next one, so that taxpayers eligible for income-tax refund could have received help in these difficult times," he opined.
"Almost all features of the new portal are non-operational, so ITR (income tax return) filing, 15 CA/CB forms, data preparation for appeals has ground to a halt," the former Union minister said.
Hitting out at the government, Tharoor asked what was the need for a new income tax portal when the old portal was running smoothly for years and why was the portal switched at the peak time when income taxpayers usually file their returns and claim refunds. "Why was no testing of the new portal done before its launch?" Tharoor asked.
"This is a replay of the chaos with the GST portal," Tharoor said. Noting that India has very few taxpayers per capita and a "culture of tax evasion and black money," Tharoor said that this must be the first time in history that Indian taxpayers who want to pay their taxes are not able to pay because the income tax portal is not working.
India has very few taxpayers per capita a culture of tax evasion black money. This must be the first time in history that Indian taxpayers who want to pay their taxes are not able to pay because the IncomeTax portal is not working! Penalties should be imposed heads roll.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 6, 2021
Tharoor's remarks come a day after the Income Tax Department extended the deadline till July 15 for manual filing of forms related to foreign remittances. Notably, last month as the new I-T portal faced technical issues after its launch and users complained of glitches, the I-T Department had allowed manual filings of Form 15CA/15CB (required for foreign remittances) with banks till June 30.
As the I-T portal continued to face glitches, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had asked Infosys—the vendor who developed the site—to fix the issues on priority. In a meeting with top officials of Infosys on June 15, Sitharaman had asked Infosys to address all issues without further loss of time, improve their services, and redress grievances on priority as it was impacting taxpayers adversely.
Infosys officials had said that they were working to fix the technical issues and that they have augmented the resources for execution of the project on the hardware as well as the application side and that some issues have already been identified and fixed.
For the other remaining technical issues, Infosys had assured the government that their teams were working on them and gave the expected timelines within which the issues would be resolved. 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.