FinMin summons Infosys chief Salil Parekh over bugs in income tax portal

The ministry of finance is inundated by complaints relating to the malfunctioning of the new e-filing income tax portal, which was launched two-and-a-half months ago


Infosys  | Finance Ministry

Dilasha Seth  |  New Delhi 

The finance ministry has summoned Infosys chief Salil Parekh to explain to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, the reasons for persisting glitches on the new e-filing portal. In fact, the new e-filing portal became unavailable from August 21, the ministry of finance said in a statement.

The ministry of finance has been inundated by complaints relating to the malfunctioning of the new e-filing income tax portal, which was launched two-and-a-half months ago.

The e-filing portal ‘www.incometax.gov.in’ had a rocky start, with technical glitches right from the first day of its launch on June 7.

“The ministry of finance has summoned… Salil Parekh, MD & CEO Infosys on August 23 to explain to hon’ble FM as to why even after two and a half months since launch of the new e-filing portal, glitches in the portal have not been resolved,” the ministry of finance tweeted on Sunday.

A senior tax official pointed out that even basic returns aren’t getting filed on the portal due to the glitches. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also sought an update from Sitharaman over the glitches on the portal.

The finance minister is expected to meet tax officers in New Delhi to get their feedback on the new portal.

“The entire assessment process is on hold at the moment. Hence, the time limits of reopening income tax cases need to get extended beyond September,” said the official.

Infosys had done trial runs before the June 7 launch, but users faced technical issues in accessing the portal.

This is the second time when the top brass of the IT company will be in the North Block over the issue. The previous meeting took place on June 21. That time Infosys assured the finance ministry to remove all glitches in a time bound manner.

“I wish it hadn’t happened this way. But we are correcting the course and soon the portal will be as planned ,” Sitharaman had said in June itself.

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.

The government has so far paid Rs 164.5 crore to Infosys between January 2019 to June 2021 for developing the portal.

Rajat Mohan senior partner, AMRG Associates said that the income tax portal is far from functional.

“The taxpayers and tax professionals are facing a hard time doing simple operations which include filing of returns , filing of rectification and online checking of tax credit. Besides, the government is under immense pressure to meet the revenue target. The dysfunctional income tax portal is delaying not only the tax compliance, but also the tax collections,” said Mohan.

Amit Maheshwari, Partner, AKM Global said that the service provider was given two years to develop a new portal and yet there are glitches. “Two years were enough especially as the old portal was already running smoothly,” said Maheshwari.

The new portal has issues like late fees even getting levied for the income tax returns (ITRs) filed after July 31 while the last date of return filing has already been extended by the government.

“Another issue is of form 15CA CB and the hardships faced by taxpayers and the list goes on for similar glitches. The Finance Minister has been pushing Infosys to resolve these issues at the earliest. Therefore, summoning Infosys chief was expected as the expectation from the new portal was to ease compliances, whereas it has made it all the more cumbersome for the taxpayers at large,” said Maheshwari.

This is the second time when the top brass of a tech major will be in North Block to work on removing glitches. The last meeting took place on June 21 when Infosys gave an assurance that it would remove all glitches in a time bound manner. However, the problem persists prompting the Ministry to summon the top brass again.

Infosys was awarded the contract for the income tax portal in 2019 after a bidding process with an outlay of Rs 4241.97 crore. The project was expected to be completed in 18 months and was to be launched after three months of testing. However, it was launched after a delay.

Earlier, even the GST portal, also developed by Infosys, suffered from glitches. Nandan Nilekani, non-executive Chairman of Infosys, had made a detailed presentation before the GST Council and a timeline for improved services.

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