I just submitted my income tax statement to IRAS through e-filing. Like in previous years, I had a difficult time. The technology used is good for IRAS but is troublesome for the tax payer.
Here are my difficulties:
a) I received consultancy income from two sources and I do not know if the client is auto-filing my income. To find out, I had to search through a long PDF document. Rather than search this document, I prefer to enter the amount myself. But the form does not allow me to state the name of the client. If they enter the amount separately through auto-filing, I would have to pay tax twice on the same source.
b) There are a few places where I missed a entire section because IRAS hide the details under a button, e.g. rental income and relief. I was reminded by the IRAS prompt, but why hide them in the first place?
c) After entering the details of my tax returns, I click on one button my mistake (as it was not clear) and found, to my horror, that all my entries were deleted. I had to painfully enter all the fields again.
d) I managed to get to the submission form on my second attempt. I found, to my surprise, that the claim for life insurance premium was not shown. I was quite sure that I had entered the figures. I search the form twice and managed to find a button called "Amend". After several clicks and doing my best to avoid any mistake, I managed to get to the life insurance form. I found that my earlier entry was recorded - but why did IRAS mislead me with a blank amount in the final submission form?
IRAS should realise the stress and trouble their technology is giving to the tax payer. As we submit the form only once a year, we should not be expected to learn the technical features of e-filing. IRAS seems to forget that the taxpayer has other responsibilities, such as keeping records of all items of income and payments, and it is unfair for IRAS to add the hassle of e-filing on the tax payer.
Tan Kin Lian
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