Sitharaman, along with Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj, CBDT Chairman Jagannath Mohapatra and other senior ministry officials discussed the issues facing the new portal with officials of Infosys – the vendor which developed the site.
The meeting was also attended by 10 tax professionals from across the country, including representatives of ICAI and All India Federation of Tax Practitioners (AIFTP).
The portal launched on June 7 continued to face glitches, including longer logging in time, inability to generate OTP for Aadhaar validation, non-availability of ITRs for past years.
Several stakeholders have submitted written inputs highlighting the issues facing the portal as well as areas that need to be fixed. More than 700 emails detailing over 2000 issues including 90 unique issues or problems in the portal were received in response to the same.
During the meeting, Sitharaman emphasized that enhanced taxpayer service is an important priority for the present Government and every effort should be made to amplify the same. While appreciating the role of ICAI and its President, Jambusaria and the ICAI’s positive contribution in giving shape to today’s meeting, she complimented them for providing specific nuanced inputs lying between the intersection of technology and taxation.
She further expressed her gratitude to the people who sent inputs through email and assured them that their suggestions would be taken up in all earnestness and would be addressed on priority.
The Finance Minister exhorted Infosys to work on the tax portal to make it more humane and user-friendly, further expressing 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. She also asked Infosys to address all issues without further loss of time, improve their services, redress grievances on priority as it was impacting taxpayers adversely.
Addressing shareholders’ questions on the matter, Infosys said it is deeply concerned with the inconvenience caused by the technical glitches in the new income tax e-filing portal, and that it is working to resolve all the issues at the earliest.
“Infosys is working to resolve the concerns in the new income tax e-filing portal. For the last week, several of the technology glitches, which impacted the performance and stability, have been addressed. And as a result, we have observed lakhs of unique daily users in the portal,” said Infosys Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao while responding to queries during the AGM.
Answering a shareholder’s question, Rao informed that close to one lakh income tax returns have been filed so far on the portal.
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 e-filing portal.
Tax consultants have submitted their representations pertaining to technical and performance issues, issues of missing data, modules which are not working.
Some consultants have also suggested that the old e-filing portal should remain active till the time the new portal stabilises and in the meantime beta testing be carried out to resolve the issues faced by users.
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.