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“myTax Portal” site – what nonsense!

The “myTax Portal” website can be found here. It has got to be one of the worse experiences at e-filing that I have had recently.

Does anyone in the IRAS understand consumer behaviour? A portal needs to be prepared for huge loads of traffic. If the “powers that be” are assuming that just because they have sent out letters to people in February or March about e-filing and actually expect people to do so in a staggered, regular manner, than that person who thinks so needs to have his brain re-examined.

Does he (or she) really think that tax-payers (incidentally people who are paying the salaries of those people at the IRAS) might willingly, in an orderly manner, troop to the portal and file their income taxes early? C’mon, a little common sense here will help. No one likes to pay taxes and therefore one should make an assumption that a large majority of people will wait until the final few days to e-file.

Guess what. The server is “busy” and unable to handle so many requests at the same time. Like ‘duh’. Did anyone expect otherwise?

What gets my bile going isn’t that I have just spent the past 2 hours sitting here patiently logging on, having the browser hang on me, restart the browser, try again, having the portal time out, restart and getting a maintenance msg to ‘try again after 2 hours’. Oh and by the way, the server is down 2-6am for servicing. It doesn’t need servicing, it needs to be over-hauled if it cannot manage web traffic in significant numbers. What shame – Accenture, NCS, Avanade and Microsoft. Tsk, couldn’t the whole bunch of you come up with better service to IRAS?

And that leads in to my gripe. IRAS, please understand that you are providing a public service and due to the nature of the word ‘public’, it is imperative that service is of an above average standard and importantly, technological solutions like “myTax Portal” need to work, everytime, all the time. As a tax payer, my money that I pay on time, should be put to better use by making sure that the public service being provided, works well when it is required.

If you didn’t expect the huge traffic load on 14 April 2008, a day before the 15 April (original) deadline, then start working to put additional resources into it on the day ofand not 1am, 1 hour before the servers go down for maintenance. Be smart and activiate the reserve resources. At least, I am hoping there was a reserve plan.

So now I cannot log in, I need to wake up at 6am? Cmon. Be real and get serious.

Yes it seems demanding, but remember why public agencies are “public”. A public service is not meant to be cushy or comfortable, it is not meant to be easy or even simple. There are many types of personalities and service means to handle each personality equally, and well. In this case, as one personality, I feel let down and disappointed with the quality of service.

e-file next year? I might as well take half a day off and queue up. At least I know that the document went through. God knows that I am not saving any more time in front of the PC than I would queuing up.

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