How long does it take to file your income tax? Just a few minutes now, if you don’t have any issues with the income and deductions captured by the income tax portal. The taxman now, with more and more transactions linked to PAN, has a good handle on how much you earn, save and spend. That makes him difficult to dodge, especially if you are in the formal sector. The informal sector is another story altogether, but we aren’t going there.
The Ease of Filing
The new e-filing portal is a boon to ordinary taxpayers, especially the salaried, as much of your income and other details on savings and deposits, including interested earned on them, gets captured. And it is simple to fill your forms online and file your returns.
All you need to do, is to check all your personal details and make any corrections. Also, run through the income and deductions captured and tally them with your Form 16 and real savings and investment numbers. Make any changes required by adding or modifying the required fields.
Once you’ve run through these, the next step is to validate all your entries and submit your returns. If you have paid less tax than required, you will be asked to make the payment. If your are entitled to a refund, the sum will be displayed for your benefit.
Once done, all you need to do is press submit and then validate your return by, among other options, keying in the OTP you receive if you opt for the Aadhaar e-verify option.
Voila! It is as simple as that.
The Glitchy Portal
Actually, not quite. It should have been that simple. Actually it was for many in my family whom I helped with their filings. Alas, I wasn’t so lucky. My return filed online before the due date, I thought, was complete after pressing the submit button. It wasn’t. When I logged in again, a few days later, to e-verify my return--I needed to update the phone number linked to my Aadhaar to receive the OTP, again surprisingly not a very cumbersome process--I found to my dismay that my return was not submitted. In fact, now the computation showed I needed to pay some nominal tax.
Alright, you think. Why quibble over computation and pay the tax. Now you proceed to submit. But the portal doesn’t allow you to proceed. It throws up a message saying you have missed the return filing deadline and now need to file as “after due date”. You feel a little upset, as this puts a blemish on your record of being a diligent “on time” filer. Still, you resign yourself to your fate and proceed to change the option from a section indicating “before due date” to one that indicates “after due date”. Guess what? The cursor goes there, you can hover the finger of the cursor hand tantalisingly over the option to click, but you can’t click on it to revise the option. That’s a basic issue for a website that shouldn’t take much to fix, you think. Yet it is.
A couple of tickets raised later, you still remain helpless, waiting eagerly to submit your return, but some IT wizard at the back-end seems to be revelling in your misery. Don’t do that kiddo! Have a heart, fix the damn bug. Nothing.
You do get responses to tickets raised, you can’t fault the system on being responsive. They respond. The first time it was to stay the issue has been resolved. But it wasn’t. The second time, the response was more guarded. It suggested the issue had been resolved, but if still not done, email a particular address with the screenshot et al. I did. And now I wait.
The Unease of Not Filing
Being a regular and honest taxpayer, not being able to file your returns is not a good feeling. You feel something important is incomplete. It worries you. But you have to wait.
In fact, I hope the Government will extend the deadline to file tax to anytime beyond today so that I can file my returns without changing the return filing option. I know that’s kind of a selfish request, but Finance Minister, if you can please.