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Indian tax authorities summon Infosys to explain glitchy tax portal’s obvious shortcomings

Services giant given a week’s notice of interrogation as e-tax service continues to splutter

Infosys has been hauled in by India’s Ministry of Finance to explain the glitchy e-tax system it developed for the nation.

The portal was launched on June 8th, with much ministerial fanfare about how it would benefit India.

The next day government figures stopping smiling, because the portal proved significantly sub-optimal. India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called out Infosys in tweets.

The portal has remained glitchy ever since. So glitchy, in fact, that on Monday the Central Board of Taxes was forced to permit the resumption of manual filing of some tax forms.

Now the Ministry has revealed it’s summoned Infosys to a two-hour meeting on June 22nd, at which senior officials and stakeholders will line up to ask Infosys to “answer queries, clarify issues, and receive inputs on the working of the portal, to remove glitches and sort out issues faced by the taxpayers.”

The Ministry’s announcement of the meeting precedes the event by a week but offers no detail on remediation work or deadlines for its delivery.

Electronic tax filings matter to India, because its tax base remains under-developed, especially for personal income tax. The nation has previously attempted to make filing for taxes easier and less susceptible to corruption and tried education schemes that position paying taxes as a patriotic act.

With the nation now in deep economic strife thanks to a certain pandemic, Infosys’s glitchy portal is therefore not just an embarrassment, but potentially also a bigger problem.

Infosys has not responded to previous inquiries on the matter from The Register, other than to direct us to tweets from its executives. No such missives relevant to the portal have appeared in recent days. ®

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