It might appear surprising that I have tried to create a debate around an argument that appears settled - I mean why would you not want to pay income taxes online, when you do not have to write a piece of paper form or a cheque, you do not have to run to the bank, you do not have to stand in a queue, and you can do it with the comfort of your home or work, you can do it last minute and so on. The advantages appear so obvious.
Almost so, till you try it out, something I did last week. The process is simple. You go to this site, locate the form and get going. So far so good. It even matches your PAN number with the Income Tax Department database to see if you have typed the correct PAN Account number, so that typos do not result in disasters of wrong credit. The form has no computational intelligence, which means it will only take values of the tax, surcharge and education cess etc. The portal also appears to offer direct transfer from several banks which is a great help.
All went well, the name matched, the transfer happened alright. Only when the receipt ('counterfoil') was being generated, it failed to save on my machine, gave some error, thank you, and failed to save. It was frightening, since the 'counterfoil' copy is supposed to be enclosed with the return. Luckily I had a screen shot of the whole document, taken in parts. That one moment was enough to generate sweat beads on my forehead, after what happened last year at ICICI Bank.
Suggestion: Please do take a screen shot of the receipt, atleast of the counter foil and save it. Or select all and save it on MS Word. A great system improvement could be to ask people for an email id and mail them a PDF of the receipt if they want it and also to include a text on what common taxpayer should do, if none of the above works.