On 31St August, all the professionals were just sitting helplessly infront of the Income Tax E-filing site that was moving with the speed of “Three toed sloths” and the last date of filing of return was ending with the speed of “Cheetah”. All were just praying that either the site runs or date gets extended. In this, audit/return filing season one always feel that tax sites/Govt portal need speed boosters.
New Professional fees structure that we professionals should now charge, should be as under:-
Preparation of Returns- Rs XXXXX
Return Filing Fees – Rs XXXXX
Total – Rs XXXXX
We should charge separately for filing/uploading of returns/reports/replies and other documents on various government sites. A lot of man hours daily is getting wasted of the professionals because of the present condition of the various sites i.e Income Tax Site, GSTN, MCA, PF, ESI, ITAT, High Court etc. The working of these sites just adds frustration in professionals. Numerous unproductive hours/energy gets wasted because of improper functioning of sites which goes unnoticed by the government authorities as well as by the clients.
Though we are moving towards digitalization, Green initiative (paperless), ease of doing business, tax/law reforms etc but the major obstacle in all these visions is the present tax sites/government portals.
With the availability of 4G and very soon 5G, rest of the internet sites function at the speed of bullet train and the government/tax sites runs at the speed of passenger train, which keeps on getting derail (crash) every day or two.
We all know that one of the major reason for failure in GST implementation is the failure of GSTN site and the dates extensions are themselves the alibi of it.
The Income Tax site crashes with the load of tax audit reports itself. We are heading towards e-assessment, wherein the usage of the site would increase tremendously. The size of the replies/documents/files that can be uploaded in the income tax site while replying in the e-assessment proceedings is too less, compared to the replies sought from the assessee’s. It is necessary to make the sites robust, not only in respect of speed and the capacity to handle load/traffic but also security and safety wise also. The Cyber -Attacks and the stealing and misusing of information from various sites are well known to all and our country is too prone to them. In the past there have been instances atleast twice or more when the official website of income tax officers i.e irsofficersonline itself was hacked. The tax sites/government portals would always be a delight and matter of pride for any hacker/malicious intruder.
In order to widen tax base and to check tax evasion a lot of tax/law compliance has been brought in various statues. Neither the individuals nor businessman nor professionals oppose to do tax/law compliance but for it, it is necessary that a proper working site is given. It is necessary for government to understand that taxes/law are our filed and area of expertise and not JAVA versions/technical crunches that we have to encounter every day. We have technical knowledge about taxes/law but not about the errors that crop up in the sites.
On one side we are being proposed to have E-Courts and reality is that in most of the places, the staff is not so well equipped to upload all the orders pronounced. The retrieving of the orders from the official site takes a lot of time than it takes to google them up.
If the government needs to do ease of doing business than the first step is to upgrade, revamp, build, secure the various sites so that we as professionals can utilise our time in studying law and not JAVA language.
While amending tax/other laws and while allocating budget for various projects the development of tax sites/government portals should also be given priority and we as professionals can assure our government that if sites function properly than we won’t ask for any extension of dates.