Why desktop client for IT returns

Having written about filing IT returns for FY 2014-2015, I could not help wondering why IT department went for a java-based desktop utility, replacing the excel utility that existed earlier.

I can see the primary issue with the excel utility - that it needs Microsoft excel, which is a licensed software and does not run on linux.

I can also understand that a java utility is (hopefully) platform independent and can be run without additional license cost (Java being free to download and use).

But what I can't understand is, why not a web-based utility to do this?  The income tax return utility is not very complex.  I don't see why it cannot be implemented as a web-based application.

A web based application can also

  • pre-fetch data 
  • do any kind of validation
  • create an xml output and upload to the IT server

In addition, a web application

  • can run without additional software
  • run on any operating system/browser (if coded properly)
  • can even run on mobile browers (if coded properly - using responsive design)
  • can run within the Income Tax portal - no additional logins/authentication
As it is, a typical IT return (by which I mean a single source of income like salary from one company) involves filling about 8-10 fields (assuming nil return).   Why complicate it to this extent?  Those whose return requirements are larger can use java, excel or more sophisticated software.  To me, this is a classic case of overengineering.

I have not used any of the third-party tax filing software/sites but I suspect most of them are web-based.


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