In 2019, Infosys was granted a contract of Rs 4,200 crore to design a new portal to replace the old one and reduce processing time from 63 days to one day. The portal went live on June 7, 2021, right in the middle of tax season, and things quickly went downhill. According to Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, about 5.8 crore income tax returns were filed as of December 31, the last day to file returns, with 46 lakh being filed on the last day alone on the new e-filing system. On January 12, during a conference call with reporters, Parekh said that the software giant is currently working with the department on the next set of modules that need to be put together.
Infosys was awarded a Rs 4,200-crore contract in 2019 to develop the portal to replace the old, with the aim to reduce the processing time from 63 days to one day. The idea was to have a taxpayer-friendly portal that was simple to use and expedited refunds but the portal has been more in the news for being inaccessible than making the process smooth. The portal was launched on June 7, 2021, amid peak tax season, and things started going downhill from the word go. Infosys officials met Finance Minister Sitharaman twice, in June and August, regarding the glitches. The company was given a deadline of September 15 to resolve the matter. In response, the company said that it has a team of over 750 people working on the project. Later in September, the government extended the deadline for filing returns till December 31. However, according to tax professionals, while the portal has been running well over the last month, the glitches continued and there have been delays in the process.
This comes even as the government had extended the deadline to March 2022, for certain sections for filing returns. The deadline for filing individual tax returns was not extended. While major glitches in the new e-filing portal have been rectified, completing the process has not been smooth. Issues such as the inability to complete the One Time Password (OTP) verification process in a timely manner, and unknown errors that continue to crop up are delaying the return filing. Before the announcement of the extension, ‘#Extend_Due_Date_Immediately’ has been trending on Twitter recently. Some organizations such as the Chamber of Tax Consultants have written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), seeking an extension till March 31, 2022.
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