Friday, April 13, 2007

SingPass goes down - what's up?

Finally gathered in one place all the information I needed to file my income tax, and went to the IRAS web site only to be greeted by the following:

SingPass login is temporarily unavailable, please login using IRAS PIN.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

myTax Portal is jointly developed with Accenture, NCS, Avanade and Microsoft.

It is nice to see the people responsible so clearly identified when a major system fails. So IRAS, Accenture, NCS, Avanade and Microsoft, what is going on?

For those not familiar with Singapore's government computing environment, SingPass is a national ID and password system. It is used as a common authentication point for accessing all secure services provided by the Government.

Having SingPass go down is inconvenient at the best of times, but this is April 13, and there are only two days left to file income tax returns. The income tax system has become so dependent on SingPass and electronic filing, that individual taxpayers are no longer issued tax return forms or tax info from their employers. It is all online, and only online.

What is interesting about the error message is that it suggests using an IRAS PIN instead of the SingPass.

Great idea except that in it's letter to taxpayers this year, IRAS states
"IRAS will not be sending any paper return or IRAS PIN to you this year"

So IRAS, what is plan B?


Anonymous said...

I got the same situation last year. Which is why this year, I submitted much earlier. Still got error message upon submitting though.

If you look at the web-based system, it looks it's designed/done by a bunch of teenagers, instead of highly paid consultants. We deserve better as it's paid with our tax dollars!

Anonymous said...

SingPass is an outdated system and frequently reports errors even when none is made. What really nice is that it will tell you to come back and try logging again after 24 hours.

Else go to the nearest CC or govt office and get a new password.

Is'nt this great?

And still their masters up there believes its IT people like IDA are running a fantastically efficient system.

This is because they are never the kind of frontline management people but just use their brain to think and mouth to talk divorced from what is happening on the ground.