FBR Under Scrutiny for Launching Unfinished Tax Filing System Without Testing

The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has raised grave worry over the new “IRIS” return filing system’s deployment without enough testing during the trial launch, saying that it would be difficult for users.

Regarding the upgraded version of Iris 2.0 that FBR released, FTO has opened an investigation on its own motion into flaws and omissions.

IRIS 2.0, a new version for filing tax returns, was just announced by FBR on July 27, 2023.

According to the statement, the new method will considerably increase efficiency and cost-saving. The latest version of Iris contains numerous flaws and omissions, according to a number of complaints our Secretariat has received from various stakeholders.

Without a pilot launch and without doing the necessary testing and quality assurance as needed by the standard operating procedures for software development, it appears that the changes were implemented in a hurry. In addition, there are no user manuals accessible for the system’s recent updates.

The evidence demonstrated that the revised version of Iris contained a number of faults and omissions that caused a great deal of user annoyance. Despite the fact that numerous problems were fixed as a result of this office’s participation, the 03 issues listed above still require correction.

As a result, it was discovered that the new version was released through a pilot launch without adequate testing, which is a break from accepted procedure and caused problems for the users. According to Section 2(3)(i)(a) and (ii) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000, such omissions, deviations, and mistakes are considered maladministration.

When looking at the Iris portal’s home page, it is clear that, following login, the portal opens a page with up to 08 boxes in various colors displaying various options, including the option to create payments along with those for filing income tax returns, sales tax returns, and invoices for sales tax.

For anyone who has used the system to file an income tax return, all sales tax-related options are meaningless. Even the alternatives for managing sales tax invoices and withholding statements would be confusing to income tax filers.

However, it has been noted that although the taxpayer has had access to the benefit of a 100% deduction of depreciation allowance for more than a year, FBR has made no corresponding changes to the Iris system to date to ensure the concerned taxpayers receive the proper depreciation calculation.

The FTO has suggested that the FBR direct the Member (Information & Technology) to take corrective action and add an explanation or description to the MIS Tab and Maloomat folder for users’ clarity within 15 days.

The FBR should direct Member (IT) to take the necessary steps to streamline the system so that the proper calculation of acceptable depreciation may be made within 15 days, as well as (iii) direct Member (IT) to include the proper navigational aid for the logical hierarchy of the user’s journey back and forth.

Additionally, the Member (IT) ought to eliminate the sales tax filing alternatives that don’t apply to individuals who file income tax returns. Within 15 days, tooltip information should be available for icons, such as the logout option.

In the future, the Member (IT) should rigorously adhere to the SOPs for software launch by first announcing the new launch, followed by a pilot launch for quality assurance, before final implementation to prevent errors and omissions as a significant portion of the general public is affected.

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