Income Tax Portal Controversy

With the new Income Tax filing portal becoming completely inaccessible over the weekend, and yet to become fully functional 77 days after its launch, a furious Finance Ministry summoned Infosys Managing Director and CEO Salil Parekh to explain the mess to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in person on August 23.

 Important Points:

  • Hours after the ‘summons’, the Income Tax portal became accessible again on August 22 evening. “The emergency maintenance of the @IncomeTaxIndia portal has concluded and the portal is live. We regret any inconvenience caused to taxpayers,” Infosys said.
  • On AugusJust t 21 afternoon, Infosys said the I-T portal is ‘currently inaccessible due to planned maintenance’. On August 22, the company switched from the ‘planned maintenance’ argument to say that the portal ‘continues to be under emergency maintenance’.
  • Since the portal started it has been under the radar as the taxpayers complain of glitches and its slow functioning.
  • Between January 2019 to June 2021, the government has paid ₹164.5 crore to Infosys for developing the portal.

 Why was the New Portal Launched? 

  • The Ministry had launched the ‘taxpayer friendly’ portal developed by Infosys on June 7, promising immediate processing of I-T returns to issue quick refunds to taxpayers, and a host of other features. But many critical functionalities were non-starters from Day One and problems continued to fester despite a claimed course correction.
  • The new tax payment system will provide more payment methods such as Net banking, UPI, Credit card and RTGS/ NEFT.
  • The new e-filing portal is aimed at providing convenience and a modern, seamless experience to taxpayers.
  • The new portal, launched by the tax department, can be seen as a bid to compete with private income tax filing websites and also make it easier for taxpayers for filing their income tax return (ITR), checking TDS etc.