Infosys urged to work on ways to access taxpayers’ data accurately

The finance ministry (FinMin) has asked Infosys to work on ways to extract and access taxpayers’ real-time data faster and accurately as it is crucial for taking decisions on policy changes.

While reviewing progress of the income tax portal 2.0, which had faced glitches, the officials also told the Infosys team to increase the scope of pre-filled data in the ITR forms.

Senior officials in the ministry held a review meeting last month with the Infosys team and officials of the Central Processing Centre (CPC).

They took up a host of key issues concerning the new portal and other tax return-related matters, said people in the know.

Tax return filing is processed by the CPC.

The ministry is learnt to have also inquired about the availability of data of interest on deposit with companies, government securities, gold bonds, insurance, equity/intraday trading data, EPF and also GST data for use in pre-fill.

The new portal would be integrating data from all the concerned departments so that all transactions by the assessee would get pre-filled.

The integrated system will look at discrepancies between the data disclosed by an assessee and match it with the data fetched from stock exchanges, using artificial intelligence, said officials in the know.

The ministry also asked the technology firm to expedite the new payment system of the portal and roll it out in the current financial year.

This would allow payment of taxes via multiple options, including credit cards and Unified Payment Interface (UPI).

During the meeting, Infosys had said that it may submit the roadmap and timelines by end of this month.

An email sent to Infosys and the finance ministry remained unanswered.

Sources in the ministry said that the new portal is likely to add more private banks to collect taxes and other charges such as fees, penalty and refunds payable under the I-T Act.

The portal will also provide multiple payment options, including through UPI and credit cards.

Currently, taxpayers have the option to make payments through net banking of large private and public sector banks.

But those whose banks are not a part of the portal, find it difficult to pay taxes.

Transactions via debit cards are allowed but not widely used.

Officials also discussed the challenges in the speed of processing the returns.

Infosys told the ministry that of the total 54.6 million returns, 48.8 million have been processed till March.

Infosys further said that tax calculation, matching receipts, data quality check, prima facie adjustments under Section 143, insight risk score and defective returns are among the key reasons for delay.

Finmin officials also raised concerns over physical filing of returns.

About 10 million people still file tax returns physically and the department keeps copies of those.

They said keeping such a huge volume of documents is not required.

They also felt efforts should be made to communicate with taxpayers for e-verification so that 100 per cent of the filing can be done digitally.

The ministry also suggested that Infosys and others be well prepared in advance to avoid any crisis and also keep a note on the learnings from the portal failure in the past.

Source: Read Full Article