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Govt's time to Infy irks tax professionals

FM’s latest timeline of Sep 15 for Infy against deadline of Sept 30 for filing tax returns puts taxpayers in a tight spot as it’s difficult to comply with; Infosys urges FM for extension of ITR filing until the fiscal-end

Govt’s time to Infy irks tax professionals
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Govt’s time to Infy irks tax professionals 

The tax professionals are not happy the way the Infosys is working on the development of I-T portal and the fresh deadline, September 15, given by the Union Finance Ministry to the IT major to fix the gaps in e-filing tax portal.

They feel that as of now, the deadline of September 30 for filing of tax returns by the taxpayers will be difficult to comply with.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed 'deep disappointment' over the glitches that continue to bedevil the income-tax e-filing portal and ordered software provider Infosys to fix all issues by September 15. She issued the deadline at a meeting with Infosys chief executive Salil Parekh on Monday. The tech company hasn't been able to sort out problems with the site even two months after the delayed launch of the portal.

Talking to Bizz Buzz, M Srinivasa Rao, President of All India Federation Tax Practitioners (AIFTP), said: "The Government had decided in the current fiscal's Budget on February 01 itself the I-T return filing will take place under the new system. Infosys has been paid Rs4,242 crore for the job, but they have never responded for the glitches in the portal which has been developed by them."

The IT services provider said it would resolve all issues within a few weeks. Sitharaman said the company needed to devote more resources and step up efforts so the much-delayed delivery of agreed services is ensured, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry.

Meetings with FinMin, CBDT, "the finance minister demanded that the issues faced by taxpayers on current functionalities of the portal should be resolved by the team by September 15 so taxpayers and professionals can work seamlessly on the portal," the ministry said. Parekh was told about the difficulties that taxpayers were facing and the problems arising from the delays caused. The Infosys chief executive said he and his team were doing everything to ensure the smooth functioning of the portal.

"Over 750 team members are working on this project and Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer of Infosys, is personally overseeing this project. Parekh also assured that Infosys is working expeditiously to ensure a glitch-free experience to taxpayers on the portal," said the finance ministry.

"We are waiting for 'Schema' (the adjustable software) to become functional which is possible only when Infosys clears the glitches from the portal, Rao said.

Private sector software firms aspiring to develop Schema include Tata, Reliance, Wipro, and Genius. But these firms will take a minimum of a week's time post the portal's getting glitch-free.

"So, we will be having merely a week's time to file 1,500 I-T returns which is practically impossible," he said sharing his own experience.

Following the meeting, senior company executives held discussions with officials in the finance ministry and the Central Board of Direct Taxes to iron out problems being faced by taxpayers on the portal, said people aware of the matter. The Infosys CEO had been summoned by Sitharaman after the income tax returns e-filing portal built by the Bengaluru-based company was inaccessible since Saturday. It came back online only late on Sunday. Dogged by glitches since the portal went live on June 8, taxpayers have faced technical glitches, errors and challenges in accessing the portal or several functions within the website, drawing their ire as well as that of the finance ministry. On Sunday evening, Infosys tweeted that the portal - down for maintenance over the weekend- was operational again for users.

"The emergency maintenance of the @IncomeTaxIndia portal has concluded and the portal is live. We regret any inconvenience caused to taxpayers," Infosys said. On Saturday, Infosys tweeted that the portal was inaccessible due to 'planned maintenance', which it changed to

'emergency maintenance' on Sunday morning.

The meeting, which included tax practitioners, highlighted several glitches with regard to services on the e-filing portal's 2.0 version. These included its slow loading speed, absence of previously saved forms of earlier assessment years, digital signature certificates not getting updated, tedious filing of tax deducted at source (TDS) returns, slow downloading of ITR forms and issues with information on the TDS that had been deducted. Filing of income tax forms for deducting tax on payments made to non-residents was also problematic. Rao has demanded for extension of ITR filing until the fiscal-end.

Kumud Das

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