Public Services Snafus

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UlanBatori
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Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 09 Jul 2018 08:11

Treading on very thin ice here, but I looked through the whole forum to find a better place, where the issue will not be buried. Need a dhaga to understand some strange problems and their resolution in intelligent discussion. I considered "Know ur India", but no, I don't want to be that negative. "IT industry"? no, I don't want to destroy it. "GST"? Some GST SNAFUs might be good to post here but again, I think GST is a good thing. There is no thread specifically on Income Tax, but I have a few things other than that on my mind. Anyway, as we say:
Bostors only Brobose
Adminullahs Disbose!

ISSUE #1 WHY IS THE INCOME TAX E-FILING SOFTWARE SO %$#&* BADLY MANAGED??
Note my question carefully. I have hajaar-hajaar saal experience onlee on filing tax returns from different corners of the dunia, and have watched with growing admiration as every year the Income Tax Portal improved its system. It used to be a paper system, then a very long and convoluted form that could be opened in MS EXCEL on PCs with the most important question being "Do U own Race Horses? R U SURE they aren't Donkeys?" "R U under Portuguese guvrmand or Indian guvrmand?"
Then they gave us the TDS A-26 online at a different portal.
Then the EXCEL sheet grew Macros and could calculate!
Then they brought the JAVA-based form.
Then they actually started putting accurate info into the TDS A-26.
Then one year the TDS site was inaccessible from outside India until June or July. No explanation.
They the A-26 site actually started working, though with a 24-48 hour delay to generate the PDF or text file (???)
Last 2 years they set up the system to download the prior year's data and pre-fill your form!

All of the above are [color=#0000FF]as viewed through rose-tinted glasses by diehard supporter of desh and its wonderful guvrmand[/color]. Reality was a lot harsher, but that's Water Under Da Bridge.

This year they have *&^%$(ed up the whole thing - AGAIN. Site seems to be run by Paki "IT exparts" and supervised on guvrmand side by anti-Modi Baboon or what? I have changed font color to red on the things I find strange.

Here is the experience:
1. JAVA system for ITR-2 (they no longer call it "Saral"). Instructions for Off-Line Utilities (if there is a way to fill directly on-line I have not found it)

Instructions: (as of right now, Mongolian time)

Select the Assessment Year
Download and extract the zip file containing the utilities to the folder and open the utility
System Requirements
Excel Utilities: Macro enabled MS-Office Excel version 2007/2010/2013 on Microsoft Windows 7 / 8 /10 with .Net Framework (3.5 & above)
Java Utilities : Microsoft Windows 7/8/10, Linux and Mac OS 10.x with JRE (Java Runtime Environment) Version 8 with latest updates.
JRE can be downloaded from http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/ ... index.html


So if u read carefully (after many hours spent wondering WTF etc), the EXCEL utility does not work with Mac OS. (true, but u won't realize that.) What happens is that the utility works fine until you are all done and generated the XML. When you go to the actual e-filing and upload the XML, you get a cryptic message:

Pls kindly use current version of utility and generate XML again onlee!

U wonder WTF, I just downloaded the latest today maarning onlee!

Solution was to copy the filled-out EXCEL to Windows PC, shut off all virus protection, allow all Paki ITs to invade machine by Enabling All Macros under "Trust Center" and then re-generate XML after a few crashes of the system, and then voila! XML uploads just fine.

But I am jumping ahead of myself by several weeks of struggle.

What I tried initially was the wonderful JAVA, which
Mac OS 10.x with JRE (Java Runtime Environment) Version 8 with latest updates. Utility was updated May 15, 2018.
JRE can be downloaded from http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/ ... index.html


OK! You start by downloading the pre-filled data as XML. That had its own issues: Naam (last naam, first naam) backwards, TDS sources incomplete (they left out the Asst Commishunner, Income Tax who withheld TDS on Refund: why? Is it so rare?)

That was because I downloaded the info back in early June, wanting to file early. NOW in July when I try to download, the XML has zero bytes!!! Tried several times, multiple Users/taxpayers/PANs. Same result.

Back to June. I went to the Oracle site mentioned above and made sure I had the latest JAVA.
Pls see this warning at the Oracle site about changing to older versions of JAVA:
Java Archive
The Java Archive offers access to some of our historical Java releases.
WARNING: These older versions of the JRE and JDK are provided to help developers debug issues in older systems. They are not updated with the latest security patches and are not recommended for use in production.

Much more dire warnings are issued when one tries to install JAVA, about ppl even permitting older versions to be on computer.

So I updated JAVA as instructed by Oracle, and went merrily about my way of filling ITR-2. Wonderfully easy to use the Utility.
Saved the Draft, no problem: Zero Errors Zero Warnings. A panel turned green on the right side of the screen.

I hit "SAVE". Zero errors, zero warnings, but the panel stays white. No problem. I hit "Submit". Nothing happens, no errors no warnings.

You cannot submit the Draft saved, (I tried). Fortunately you could PRINT the saved draft and it was in human language.
I checked all the Forums etc on the web. Usual breezy answers from "Just hire me!" accountants. "Oh, sure we have filed ITR-2, 2018-19!"

So I tried going to a Windows machine. Downloaded JAVA. Downloaded ITR-2 package. Filled the whole thing again from scratch. Saved Draft. Tried to SAVE: nothing happens. Exactly same as on Mac.

So I filled in the Customer Sarbhij form asking if there would be an update to the Utility. They actually CALLED on the phone!!!!
"What version of JAVA are u using?
"Oh, ONLY the LATEST, saar!"
"No. What version is it?"
"er... whatever I downloaded from the site specified".
"Pls find out what version your JAVA is, and I will call back".

So I found it, Either I called them or they called me. "10.1.something, the latest!"
"You need to install Java 8 onlee. Remove all JAVA from your machine, install Java 8, then re-download all the forms, utilities from the site and fill it all again." Actually they specified JAVA8.152 See below how old that is....

So the Government of India in its Digital Wisdom, is asking taxpayers to ignore all security precautions and common sense, remove the latest version of Java and install a version 2 versions older, ignore the security warnings....

I am smart. I reasoned that they would eventually figure out these things. So I waited. July 7, ITR-2 is updated!!! Yippee! I downloaded the stuff again. Filled again. Same thing happened again. THEY DID NOT FIX THIS IN THEIR LATEST RELEASE OF THE SOFTWARE!!!!!!!

BTW, here is a JAVA release history:
Information on this page is based on Oracle Critical Patch Updates (CPU) and Security Alerts which also has instructions on how to subscribe to CPU Alert e-mails.
Java Releases Release Date
Java 8 Update 171 CPU
Java 8 Update 172 PSU (OTN) April 17, 2018
Java 8 Update 161 CPU
Java 8 Update 162 PSU (OTN) January 16, 2018
Java 8 Update 151 CPU
Java 8 Update 152 PSU (OTN) October 17, 2017

Java 8 Update 144 Limited Update
July 26, 2017


I see from Wikipedia that JAVA releases 9 and 10 were short-term, and JAVA8.172 stays until July 2018. OK, but why not make the tax software compatible with latest JAVA release? People don't update their software for joy, they do it to keep out security vulnerabilities. So this means that the Indian govt. tax sites are not updated to fix security vulnerabilities either???? Don't worry, Be Happy!!!

Back to the EXCEL utility. I downloaded the latest. To the Mac. Enabled Macros (I am well trained..) The pre-fill no longer works (see above, it generates an XML of 0 bytes from the tax site!) But I filled all the stuff, got the data entered again, validated computed tax, computed set-off on CYLA, computed tax, validated, then generated XML.
Went to upload. "
Pls kindly use current version of utility and generate XML again onlee!

U wonder WTF, I just downloaded the latest today maarning onlee!

So this time I became smart. Copied the EXCEL utility to Windows. Went to Trust Center (as instructed) and removed all cautions. As Kabir ke Dohe (modified version) went:

Jisko jitna chahiye
kaat-kaat le jayiye!

Hu needs security after all? We are like that onlee!

Uploaded no problem.

A few recommendations:
1) MAKE THE JAVA UTILITY COMPATIBLE WITH LATEST JAVA!!!!!!! Or at least provide a message saying: Go and remove latest versions of software, pls download old versions so that hackers can get into ur computer easily and when you log into govt. site hackers can get into govt. site if there is any room given all the hackers already there!
2) Make the EXCEL UTILITY with calculations that DO NOT REQUIRE user to shut off computer protections.
3) Hire Baboon who will refuse to pay TCS or whatever other fly-by-nite Con-sultants they hire to do India's national software until there is some minimal attention to quality control.

More on Govt. Prestigious Pradhan Mantri Scheme Implementations next if this post does not disappear. Thanks onlee.

If any TCS/ other postors happen to see this, could you pls kindly post the name and Twitter Handle of the TCS Manager in Charge of the Indian Govt. Income Tax Dept. portfolio?

Also, the name and pata of the Indian govt. IAS aphsar and Mantri responsible for implementing the website and tax software systems?

As I see it, the govt and taxpayers are trying their hardest to set up the most user-friendly and convenient system I can imagine. FREE tax-computing software, automated data fill-in, automated records of TDS...

But when it comes to implementation and maintenance, it's the old story of Michael Crichton's CONGO. A great tecnhological civilization, set up by immensely thoughtful people, now run by (never mind).



As the old story goes:

"Have you ever worked in a Responsible Position?"

"Sure! In all my previous jobs, whenever something got totally messed up, the Boss told me I was Responsible!"

"Congratulations! You are Hired to be Chief Baboo oph Income Tax Software System Contract onlee!!"
Last edited by Rahul M on 09 Jul 2018 08:46, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: title edited

UlanBatori
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Posts: 9754
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: V R Like That Onlee!

Postby UlanBatori » 09 Jul 2018 08:37

2018 Technology and 1800s reality:
Recent experience of Ungli Bharat (Digital India):
Bank ATM card activation for EnnArrEye: PIN goes to wherever you are not, so card cannot be activated within 3 months. Long experience. So brought card to local branch. Very helpful ppl, showed how to go to ATM, ask for OTP to reset ATM PIN.

Waited. Nothing happened. Twice. Thrice. First the bank aphsar. Then the Deputy Mgr. Then the Mgr. The Manager then spent 1/2 hour on phone with Customer Service. Got a dozen emails, SMS saying "probem resolved", Eventually a call saying that there was nothing wrong, just turn off and restart phone.

Went back to Branch, tried again. Same result.

Then was sitting there wondering what to do next, when I saw that an SMS had come.
20 minutes after it was requested.
Of course, that was too late to use it on the ATM, which waits only 30 seconds....

Same experience repeated over and over: Ask for OTP, OTP comes in 20 minutes. "BSNL".
V r like that onlee!

UlanBatori
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Posts: 9754
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 09 Jul 2018 09:24

Thanks. Very good title. Captures my sentiments. Amazingly forward-looking govt, brilliant use of technology. Biss-boor follow-up and attention by aphsars in charge, and still poorer work ethic at the contractors entrusted with getting the job done.

UlanBatori
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Posts: 9754
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 09 Jul 2018 09:28

Next up: Realities of GST/tax paying/Online Tenders system. So the obvious riposte to my post at the top is:
Experienced tax accountants and bijnej all over desh are filing ITR with no problem onlee!!!
I wondered about that too.
YESS!! How?
"We keep a separate laptop/desktop where we make sure we don't update the software or Java. Yes, that is very dangerous but it's the only way we can respond to govt. Request For Tenders or pay taxes online."


Apparently the management of the Acquisition system (Tenders) is equally bad. Must be also TCS contract with similarly compliant/404 Baboon overseeing performance?

This is why the Experienced Accountants stay unaware of the problems. Checking the Web, I see that my main resource of past years does not work anymore: No current-year experience reported on the Web by the Accountants community. They are all using insecure computers with outdated software.

Because the government is getting gypped by the software providers and those charged with ensuring delivered quality to the taxpayer.

V r like that onlee!

UlanBatori
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Posts: 9754
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Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 14 Jul 2018 14:51

PhD programs in India
Some of this seems blatantly abusive behavior but I wonder how much is true. From what I have seen of recent PhDs from India, there are extremely good ones (the usual ratio) but quite a scattering of extremely bad ones, esp. those who are 'faculty" in social sciences even in Prestigious Universities such as JNU and Delhi U.

csaurabh
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Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby csaurabh » 18 Jul 2018 16:31

I don't understand. Why would you need to download Java?

I filled out ITR online without needing to download anything. You just need to fill in the form online and submit. The process has got smoother over the last few years, as you even don't need to take a printout and sign and send anymore. Everything is handled really smoothly!

Maybe the so called 'offline' utilities don't work at all and the folks are not bothered to update it..

Edit: My experience only in filling personal income tax (ITR-1). Just had a look and it seems like ITR-2 doesn't support online mode. Most people just fill ITR-1 and that process works very well..

Anyway my suggestion would be to go through reputed chartered accountant (CA) companies who manage this stuff quite well, for only a small fee.

Indian govt is a machine with parts from different centuries. Some systems may be 2018 standard, some may be 1800s standard..

csaurabh
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Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby csaurabh » 18 Jul 2018 17:22

UlanBatori wrote:PhD programs in India
Some of this seems blatantly abusive behavior but I wonder how much is true. From what I have seen of recent PhDs from India, there are extremely good ones (the usual ratio) but quite a scattering of extremely bad ones, esp. those who are 'faculty" in social sciences even in Prestigious Universities such as JNU and Delhi U.


Phds in India are not taken too seriously, outside of academia (which you need to get a job, not for any other reason). The topics of so called 'research' are typically abstract and theoretical, thus industry pays no attention to them in general (talking STEM here, 'social science' is even worse ). There are many 'phd scholars' in IIT Delhi who would tell you that they only took up the 'phd' in order to get a comfortable accommodation ( and pay!) in the middle of Delhi where there are lot of good coaching academies nearby in order to prepare for their civil services preparations.

You can get a lot of academic jokes from phdcomics.com, most of them are quite accurate. This is one example.
Image

UlanBatori
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Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 18 Jul 2018 20:33

Yes, true, filling on-line would have avoided a lot of trouble. But ITR-1 is not allowed for a variety of people, just as "1040EZ" is not allowed by Uncle Sam for everyone. I suspect that ITR-3 is updated because that is used by heavy-hitters. So ITR-2 may be the ignored one.

As you say, the standard pressure is "go to a CA". But some of us don't do that with the far more complex Uncle Sam 1040, and insist on dealing even with the Cochin Customs Aappez by ourselves. From long ago, when my baggage was delayed and I had to go to Cochin Customs to retrieve it from the clutches of the evil gang there:

This was after putting up with a day and a half of run-around:
Why don't you bring anything dutiable?
"Because I have no wish to pay you guys any of my hard-earned money."

"Why don't you go through an Agint?"
"Because I am a citizen who can read and write, and I have nothing to hide. I should be able to deal with my own government's forms, hain? If you (bozos) bothered to get the errors that YOU made out of this form, we would be done 8 hours ago. Surely, experienced officers like you are not so incompetent, are you? "


I wouldn't try that today, but back in 1987 I got away with that, (proving that it wasn't Cheen or Pakistan) and told off the oiseules a bit to their faces too, and came away without paying a paisa in bribe or "Agint fees". Took me two full days, but the poor ppl who DID use Agints, and were there when I arrive, were still there when I left.

Things have hopefully changed by orders of magnitude, but some of that is because bloody-minded ppl like us showed up the crooks, and demanded that the pompous crooks do their jobs as they were paid to do - and walked the edge, threatening to publicize their incompetence. The look on the face of the Customs PRO after I was done telling him off and wondering "what would happen if I were to write to the newspapers and describe this whole mess" , was something else to see.

CAs for taxes are not the same as Agints for Customs, I agree, but my experience is that they can make things awfully complicated for no reason. Not the thread to comment on experiences there.

As you saw, ITR-2 requires off-line, JAVA, shutting off security to Enable All Macros From Pakistan and China, etc etc. A disgrace in a nation whose Brand Skill is IT/Software. The offline is easy to rationalize: It takes an hour (much more!) at least to fill ITR-2 the first time and you don't want 10 million ppl hogging the bandwidth.

TCS should be blacklisted from govt contracts for 5 years as a lesson.

UlanBatori
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Re: Public Services Snafus

Postby UlanBatori » 19 Jul 2018 16:51

The other interesting thought from Saurabhji's post is on the comfortable notion of
"give your stuff to a CA to handle the taxes".
What came out in my yajnas is that the CAs follow the sarkari diktat of not updating their software. IOW, they are able to file ITR-2 etc, no problem, because they stick to JAVA 8 and open their computer's Security Settings on Enabling Macros to
"Khol do" As in Kabir ke dohe:
"Jisko jitna chahiye,
Kaat-kaat le jayiye".


Your tax info with your naam, pata, phone number(s), income, salary, rentals, baksheesh, date of birth, PAN/AADHAR info, bank deposit interest, TDS, BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS, are all happily downloaded by one and all from your kind CA's computers by above habit with GOI's blessing. :mrgreen:

Might as well put your money in a bank which keeps the safe deposit doors open after hours. Reminds me of the bank that sent my Monthly Statements and TDS statements to someone in Bangkok, Thailand, and sent the similar info of Mr. Paul Somebody from Kottayam to my address in Slum Deluxe d'Ulan Bator. But that is for another din.

Nice thought!


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