PIT: The Department of Revenue and Customs has extended the personal income tax filing deadline by two weeks, from February 29 to March 15.

The finance minister Namgay Dorji approved the extension after the department’s revenue administration and  management information system (RAMIS) confronted problems causing an outcry among taxpayers.

Revenue and customs director Yonten Namgyel apologised to the public for them not being able to file in their personal income tax (PIT) returns online.

“We take full responsibility and would like to sincerely apologise for not informing them in a timely manner about the problem and other alternatives of filing,” the director said.

Those filing their tax returns complained of not being able to even log in to the online system for the past few days.

Yonten Namgyel said the department would accept hardcopies of returns and even those sent through the post.

The department has informed its eight regional offices to accept manual returns including those sent through post.

“The only thing which we would like to request the public is to check that their returns reach our office,” he said.

A technical team of the consultants setting up the system left after studying the problem.

Long queues thronged the revenue and customs office in Thimphu yesterday with the deadline drawing close as many could not file online.

The office brought in additional staff from other units and they have been working late hours in order to clear backlogs, the director said.

Income tax division’s collector, Gyeltshen attributed the system’s problem to more users with the system being used for more services.

Last year when teh system was introduced only PIT filers used the system, of which 40 percent filed online. Today corporations and private offices use the system to submit their salary tax deducted at source as they start depositing the monthly salaries.

“The government offices have to enter daily revenue collected on the system which causes overloading during office hours,” Gyeltshen said.  “We have noticed that the system works better after office hours because then the offices are not using it.”

The department doubled the bandwidth of their office internet connection to 20 mega bytes per second.

Taxpayers can file at any regional office irrespective of the place of their registration.

Yonten Namgyel said that his department would do the best possible.

“But with the system it is difficult to give any guarantee because technical glitches could happen any time,” he said.

There were 64,000 taxpayers in 2014, while the registered taxpayers have hit 100,000 people in the country.

“Next year, should there be such problems we’d inform the taxpayers a month or two in advance of the alternative options,” the director said.

Tshering Palden