The new tax filing tool on the incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in site is so, so cool, I just can’t believe it.
Like all people, I hate tax filing work. I used to have immensely complex tax payment calculations (don’t even ask) and I used to want to trust it to a taxman, but I found (repeatedly) that they messed it up one way or another. One year, the guy entered my name wrong in the tax return. What good is a tax return if it has somebody else’s name on it?
There were also other little issues here and there. A couple of zeros in the wrong place (!!!) and a wrong date entered somewhere.
Plus, those fellows delight in pushing things to the last date and anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE that. I want to get my taxes done a month before the date. I aim for that, and I settle for two weeks before. It’s called buffer, you know?
So after various taxmans (taxmen? whatever) had driven me nuts over the years, and after I’d gone further nuts double and triple checking their calculations in Excel and then double and triple checking their data entry skills in the tax filing tool, I decided, what the hell, I’m so good at this I might as well do it myself.
So, gritting my teeth and hating it, I started doing it myself.
Last year, I was just back from a trip to the UK and I had very little time to get my taxes filed. I thought it would take me several weekends to get through it, but hey! It took just two half-Saturdays!
This year, I was all cool and blase about it. Two half-Saturdays, and they already pushed the date out to end of August. Ok, no problemo.
And it took me less than two hours!
I used the Quick File ITR option, which, I don’t know if it’s new, but it’s new to me. It pulled all the data from various sources and filled in my tax return for me. It calculated my tax, told me how much I should pay, and all but cooked up lunch for me. There were only one or two little bits of information that it hadn’t managed to get hold of, which I entered in about half an hour. For old times’ sake, I still went ahead and entered everything into an Excel file offline, verified the tool’s calculations and all, but, unlike the taxmen of yore, this guy had done a great job. What’s more, there was one bit of information that I was missing, so I had to close the tool without submitting it right away. I thought I’d have to come back and redo whatever changes I’d done, but no, it saved everything for me and in fact frequently reminded me to save so I wouldn’t lose my changes. I logged back in a couple of days later, entered the last bits of information and I was done.
But, wait a moment, wait a moment. Filing the whole thing online? Was that a smart thing to do? Where was my copy of the damn thing? What if it came back and bit me in the behind ten months later, what would I have to refer to then? I’ve always filled out the tool offline and then uploaded it, ensuring that I have a local copy of whatever I submit. What now?
Ah, they’ve thought of that. I dug around and found not only the PDF of the return I’d just filed, but returns for all the last several years. Sweet!
So now all I’ve got to do is to print out the acknowledgement and drop it in the mail box. Ok, that’s simple enough and I’ve got 120 days in which to get to it, so that’s ok. Amit’s been telling me to get a digital signature, but I don’t think it’s worth it, it’s not such a big deal to take a printout and drop it in a mailbox. I have to buy stamps, of course, can’t do that online yet (can you?) but it’s ok. I’ll make it to a post office some Saturday morning. Hopefully.
But, no. Wait. What’s this EVC thing? I click here and then go here and log in to my netbanking account and before I quite understand what’s happening, voila! The site tells me I’m done and I’ve apparently completed the Electronic Verification process and so now I don’t have to even go and buy stamps and drop that form in the letter box.
Ok, so now this piece reads a lot like marketing drivel. I promise you, it’s not. I’m just happy that such a painful job became so easy and I’m impressed that our (expletives deleted) administration could come up with such a fabulous tool that works!
Next year, who knows, I might even look forward to tax filing day.
Has anyone else been using this tool? What did you think of it?