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Income-tax portal glitches and errors haunt last-minute tax filers
January, 15th 2022

Thousands of tax assessees and several chartered accountant associations in the country have complained of discrepancies in filed returns for the assessment year 2021-22.

This has led to furious responses from income tax professionals, who struggled to meet the deadline despite the errors cropping up in the new income tax portal. They would have to work hard again to resolve the problems faced by tax assessees.

 No acknowledgement

Many people were surprised to log into the income tax website to find the ‘not filed’ status.

“The tax-filing due date was not extended even though there were so many court cases that were filed against the CBDT. The returns that were filed on the last couple of days faced several glitches. When we are raising issues, they aren’t resolved and there is no response in any form,” says Ameet Patel, tax partner at Manohar Chowdhry and Associates.

Chartered accountants say that they didn’t receive the acknowledgement for the returns that were filed on December 30 and 31, 2021. “We were forced to file the returns and preserve a screenshot of the return-filed status as proof. About 105 such returns filed by my team didn’t receive any acknowledgement,” says chartered accountant Mehul Sheth.

Others who checked the website early in January 2022 were surprised to find that income tax returns that were not filed, reflected as ‘ filed’. They couldn’t file their returns.

Verification snags

Verification of tax returns also was ridden with errors. It is worth noting here that the entire process of filing a tax return is complete only when one verifies the tax return.

“I filed my returns before the due date of December 31, 2021, but haven’t been able to verify my returns as the OTP wasn’t received. But on Jan 3, 2022, when I logged in to the tax-filing website to verify my returns, a message popped up that I had already verified my returns,” says Dinesh Ahuja of New Delhi, a tax-payer who spoke to Moneycontrol.com.

The glitches prevalent in the tax portal have also resulted in some unusual queries to tax-payers that point to errors they never committed, in the first place. Take for instance, the case of an IT professional, who filed his return and logged in to e-verify on January 6, 2021. He  got an erroneous message during the process, stating, “Since you have not verified the return within the due date, file a condonation application.” According to law, however, you can verify the return within 120 days after filing the tax return.

Digital signature mismatches

Other complaints are that of mismatches in digital signature certificates (DSC). Sheth says that one of his clients’ DSC has been registered under another name. “The other person has never applied for a DSC. Despite of raising a complaint the issue has not been resolved and there is no solution in sight. All we can do is re-raise a complaint,” says Sheth.

Wait and watch

Tax professionals already have a looming deadline for audit-based taxation returns and hence haven’t been able to concentrate on the post-filing issues linked to individual returns.

“We would let about 15 days pass before ironing out the issues linked to the acknowledgment. This would also make sure that the tax portal glitches are resolved as we have wasted many man hours on resolving issues linked to it,” says Sheth.

“There are some people who have connections with officials in CPC and they are getting the matters resolved on a one-on-one basis. But not everybody has connections,” says a tax professional not willing to be named.

“We have maintained a proof of filing the return. So, if a penalty is slapped for delay in filing returns then we would have to disclose those and get the issue resolved. But many hours are wasted and there aren’t additional fees that can be charged for the additional work due to the glitches,” he adds.

File belated returns

If you filed a tax return before December 31, 2021 but did not get an acknowledgement, one other option experts point out is file your returns again before March 31, 2022, by paying a penalty. You can request for waiver of penalty by showing the proof of filing the return before the due date. But if you do not file the return, then you would be liable to pay double the TDS for various payments.

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