As taxpayers gear up for the tax season, concerns arise over glitches in the online filing platforms.
Users’ express frustration with the RAMIS (Revenue Administration Management Information system) portal, utilized for Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Business Income Tax (BIT) submissions, as well as the recently introduced NDI website for property tax filings.
Dorji Namgyal, a Facebook user, noted, “The hotline is consistently busy from 9 am to 5 pm, and the information center’s email is non-responsive, making timely assistance elusive and time-consuming.”
Another user named Kencho Rinzin echoed concerns, questioning the absence of penalties for the Revenue and Customs Department (DRC) despite prolonged system downtime.
User Sonam Lhamo highlighted issues with tax calculations and the NDI app’s inability to scan saved QR codes without additional devices.
RAMIS was developed by CMC (Computer Management Corporation Private Limited, later acquired by TCS- Tata Consultancy Services), in 2012-2013 to enable electronic tax returns submission at the taxpayers’ convenience.
Due to the absence of participation from national Bhutanese IT companies, the contract was awarded to the international bidder TCS through an open tender selection process.
The Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC) emphasizes a 2-month window for PIT and a 3-month period for BIT filings, urging taxpayers to utilize Regional Revenue and Customs Offices (RRCOs) if online systems falter.
As per DRC, “Taxpayers are allotted a two-month period for PIT filing and three months for BIT filing. Despite occasional system glitches and downtime, taxpayers retain the option to physically visit RRCOs to submit their tax returns. Hence, it is recommended that taxpayers avoid delaying their return filing until the final moments to ensure timely submission.”
The revamping of RAMIS was carried out by the DITT, now GovTech, in collaboration with DRC. This initiative was prompted by the Ministry of Finance’s confirmation that RAMIS would need to remain operational for an additional 1-2 years until the BITS system becomes operational.
An official from GovTech disclosed, “The system’s source code is undergoing an upgrade from an older version of Java to a more recent iteration due to numerous vulnerabilities, presenting a significant cybersecurity risk. Currently, the system’s instability and inability to manage thousands of users simultaneously necessitated optimization to address the current load, particularly evident during peak tax seasons.”
They further shared that RAMIS system faces security concerns such as the absence of an implemented SSL certificate, leaving taxpayers’ data susceptible to potential internet intruders. Consequently, there are inherent risks, compounded by minimal user authentication controls including user login, mandatory password changes, security questions, and OTP via SMS and email for RAMIS access.
Users have been experiencing issues such as sudden system freezes, requiring manual restarts, which have adversely affected user experience.
“To tackle these challenges, an international expert, funded by the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB), has been enlisted to address the identified issues. Progress updates include the successful revamp and upgrade of the system to a newer version, enhancing security and enabling the incorporation of new features and services incompatible with the old RAMIS,” the official further added.
Currently, the new RAMIS is undergoing collaborative testing with DRC, with plans for a signoff agreement upon acceptance by DRC, facilitating its implementation and rollout.
Although significant strides have been made in the revamping process, the system is not yet ready for public use. However, it is slated for launch by 12 February 2024. There is optimism that the revamped RAMIS will enhance efficiency, performance, and security, safeguarding against vulnerabilities and cyber threats.
The forthcoming upgrade of RAMIS aims to mitigate most of these issues, potentially integrating with the National Digital Identity (NDI) and Bhutan Integrated Revenue Management System (BIRMs) to enhance taxpayer convenience and security.
The RAMIS overhaul, facilitated by GovTech and DRC, aims to resolve existing issues and potentially integrate with NDI and BIRMs for enhanced taxpayer convenience.
Property Tax operations, launched recently, mandate NDI Wallet registration for authentication. Users encountering registration issues can reach out via toll-free number 1199 or email email@example.com.
Tax filing deadlines include PIT (1 January – 29 February 2024), BIT and CIT (1 January – 31 March 2024), and Property Tax (1 January – 31 March 2024).