Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Suggestions to simplify the government websites

I faced the following problems in submitting mandatory returns to government agencies, such as IRAS, MOM, CPF and ACRA.

a) I have to login with SingPass and also submit my business registration number. The introduction of 2FA for SingPass adds to the pain.

b) I have to navigate through a complicated website to reach the page to submit the return. Usually, this will require 3 to 6 clicks and reading through a few complicated pages.

c) I often don't know figures are required to be entered until I come to that page. They also ask questions which the lay person finds difficult to answer - e.g. are you an exempt company (under ACRA) or are you entitled to certain tax credits (under IRAS) or what are the different types of revenue under GST? After reading a complicated FAQ, I still don't know the answer.

d) I often have to abandon the entry and try to get the correct answer before trying again to make the submission.

Here is my wish list for a website that is simpler to use:

a) The relevent agencies should send the correct link by email to me. This link will show the information that I have to provide, without having to login. I can get the relevant information.

b) They should provide a hotline for someone to guide me through the areas of doubt. Their staff who handles the issues daily will know the answer. To the lay person who has to submit their entry once a year, it is a big challenge. (Currently, their hotline is difficult to get through).

c) After completing the online entry, the website can ask me to "sign off" with the SingPass and 2FA.

I have to spend a lot of time submitting the quarterly and annual returns. I am sure that many small business owners face the same difficulty. We have to spend a lot of time on these returns instead of doing our business.

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