By Dr. Suresh Surana, Founder – RSM India
The Income Tax portal is a crucial interface between the Income Tax Department and the taxpayers of the country. Apart from enabling the users with e-filing of income tax returns, the portal is also used for the purpose of performing other work pertaining to tax assessments such as tracking the notices served by the department, providing appropriate responses to Notices, checking refund status queries, rectification, grievance redressal, filing of CIT appeal etc.
The new Income Tax portal was launched by the income tax department on June 7, 2021 with the intention to provide the taxpayers with a more convenient and modern seamless experience on the portal. It aimed at introducing modernization in the taxpayer’s experience and to make it more interactive. For the purpose of migrating and transitioning from the old income tax portal to the new e-filing portal, a blackout period was announced from June 1, 2021 to June 6, 2021 whereby none of the functions of the website would be available to the taxpayers.
The new e-filing portal 2.0 (incometax.gov.in) has also many new features to make the e-filing experience more convenient and user-friendly. Some of the new features include, immediate processing of income tax return, introduction of new dashboard, free and interactive income tax return preparation software, setting up of new call center, new mobile application, new online tax payment system, etc.
As compared to the old income tax website which was simple yet efficient in facilitating all the required tasks, the new Income Tax portal has been facing certain technical glitches in the functioning due to it being in its initial phase and is expected to be streamlined soon.
Although temporary in nature, such glitches has been challenging for all the stakeholders as they are unable to perform some of the compliance functions within the specified timeline. The Service provider – Infosys in a meeting with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 22 June 2021, ensured that the issues popping out on the e-filing portal 2.0 will be resolved in the near future and the portal will be made functional as planned.
Some of the issues faced by the stakeholders include:
- The speed of the new e-filing portal 2.0 is considerably slow and needs to be addressed soon, as the filing season for the income tax returns for Financial Year 2020-21 is expected soon and would witness significantly increased traffic.
- Presently the e-filing portal 2.0 allows File ITR 1, 2, 3 & 4 only, whereas ITR 5, 6 & 7 cannot be filled.
- Assessees are required to Re-register their Digital Signatures on the new portal. Also, many assesses could not find an option to register their Digital Signatures on the portal.
- There has been a problem in auto-population of data of the assessee. The data either is populated incorrectly or is not at all populated.
- The option of “Forget Password” is not enabled. So if an assessee enters incorrect password multiple times, his/her account gets blocked.
- Assessees are facing difficulties in uploading their submissions against tax notices online.
- There are also glitches in filing of other forms such as Form 1 – for Equalisation Levy (EL).
Many other issues such as non-availability of “Vivad se Vishwas” compliance window, unavailability of Forms 15CA/CB, difficulties in filing income tax appeals, etc. are also proving to be a hurdle for the stakeholders.
Many tax associations have already pointed out these issues to the Ministry of Finance seeking redressal. It is expected that these technical glitches being temporary in nature, would be addressed at the earliest and the new e-filing portal 2.0 would provide enhanced user-friendly experience in time to come.
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