RTI (Right to Information) Revelation on New Income Tax Portal 2.0


New Income Tax Portal 2.0 has been a hot topic of discussion since it went live on 7th June, 2021. Taxpayers and tax professionals have been struggling with the new website to view their filed returns, importers are unable to file form 15CA & 15CB online for making foreign remittances and many other issues have been reported since then. Keeping in view the hassle faced by the stakeholders, Income Tax department has extended a series of deadline due to non-functioning of the New Income Tax Portal. 

The prominent question among all has been regarding the need of the new portal and spending of ₹4,242 Crore of tax-payers’ money for a system that could not function properly or rectify the major issues even after 1.5 months of its launch. It seemed to the public eye as a puzzling and equally unnecessary action to put down a well-functioning portal and replace it with a faulty one which involves spending thousands of crores of tax-payers’ money.

In the light of this, CA. Manu Katare (Partner, RRGA) filed an application under Right to Information Act, 2005 seeking information from Income Tax Department on the new Portal and has received the reply dated 19th July, 2021 which are reproduced as under:

Q 1. What is the cost of development of the e-filing portal 2.0 and how many vendors have filed their expression of Interest for redevelopment of the portal along with their quote of development?
Ans The total expenditure sanction for the project as approved by the Union Cabinet is Rs. 4,241.97 Cr for a total period of 8.5 years including payout to the Managed Service Provider (MSP), GST, rent, postage and project management cost.
Q 2. Why was the contract for development of e-filling Portal 2.0 allotted to “Infosys” knowing the fact that there has been a huge dissatisfaction earlier with them in relation to GST portal and several issues pertaining to GST are still pending with them? Was it due to the least quote bid by Infosys or due to some other reason?
Ans The Integrated E-filing and CPC 2.0 project cost was determined through an open tender based on the L1 criteria. The tender was published on Central Public Procurement Portal (CPPP) and after detailed examination by Project Consultants, technical evaluation by the Technical Evaluation Committee, and subsequent opening of qualified commercial bids, M/s Infosys Ltd was selected as the Managed Services Provider (MSP) for the implementation of the project on the lowest cost basis (L-1).
Q 3. What is the turnaround time (i.e. the time to fix an error) given to Infosys (Developer) for correction of bugs that are being noticed over a period of time?
Ans The turnaround time depends on the complexity of the issue at hand. All issues including those highlighted by taxpayers/CAs are being resolved in a time-bound manner.
Q 4. When can we expect the portal fully functional with all the functionality working as before?
Ans All issues including those highlighted by taxpayers or CAs are being resolved in a time-bound manner and the portal is expected to be fully functional at the earliest.

One question asked by our Partner was “Why has the earlier e-filing portal not run parallelly along with the new portal till all the bugs are resolved and the functionality would have started to run properly”. Interestingly,the department refrained from answering this question and informed that this information is not covered within the ambit of RTI Act, 2005.

The hardship faced by the users and the tax professionals through the new Income Tax Portal is something which cannot be denied and all the stakeholders resolve the issues at the earliest and provide its citizens a portal better than ever. 

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