ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has enhanced the capacity of the IRIS system enabling 0.5-0.6 million taxpayers to simultaneously file their income tax returns on a daily basis.
Sources dispelled the impression that there are issues or errors in the income tax return filing during current days. The technical and legal issues raised by the tax experts from time to time have been resolved. At the same time, the FBR has considerably improved the capacity of the return filing for taxpayers. Now, around 0.5 million to 0.6 million taxpayers can collectively access the system without facing any problem.
To a query on the disappearance of returns filed with the “IRIS”, sources said the issue was related to the wealth statements when the module of section 7E was introduced in the “IRIS “system. The data of old wealth statements was not uploaded automatically. This issue of data of old wealth statements has been resolved a few weeks back and there is no issue of disappearance of income tax returns filed with the “IRIS”, they added.
When contacted, Karachi Tax Bar Association (KTBA) President Syed Zafar Ahmed informed that it is a strange kind of issue in the system where the filed returns/statements disappeared from the system. The FBR’s experts are trying to remove this error in the system. Unfortunately, if some errors are rectified in the new return, new issues emerge in the IRS system.
The extension in date for filing of income tax returns is not the solution to deal with the technical and legal issues in the IRIS. If the FBR gives an extension of 15 days or 30 days but does not remove the system glitches, it will not resolve the issue. The date extension is absolutely meaningless if the software does not work properly.
Till the software runs smoothly, the return cannot be filed through the FBR’s upgraded system. There is a need to reduce the trust deficit between the taxpayers and the FBR, Syed Zafar Ahmed said.
Faraz Fazal Sheikh, a leading tax expert said the FBR has resolved the issue of disappearance of filed wealth statements in the IRIS system. The error has been rectified by the FBR, he added.
The KTBA had informed the FBR that it is disheartening to note that numerous issues continue to plague the tax return filing process. These ongoing challenges clearly have spelt out that the tax return forms are not error-free and realistically speaking, not ready.
The expectation, from the launch of any software, however, especially, which is meant to be used by the public at large and that too by a class of individuals and corporates called taxpayers and their counsels, cannot be called erroneous if it is to be sound and perfect without any IT glitches and problems, let alone the expectation of being user friendly.
It is reluctantly submitted that with the solitary exception of higher speed than the previous IRIS, the 2.0 version is so far found to be full of hiccups and difficult to cope with and even lacks security of taxpayer’s confidential data. The launch of a new software, therefore, which should have been a celebrated occasion otherwise, narrowed down to a picture of confusion and frustration instead, it added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023