Legislation UpdatesNotifications

In view of the challenges faced by taxpayers in meeting the statutory and regulatory compliances due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government brought the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020 (‘the Ordinance’) on 31-03-2020 which, inter alia, extended various time limits. The Ordinance has since been replaced by the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act.

The Government issued a Notification on 24-06-2020 under the Ordinance which, inter alia, extended the due date for all Income Tax Returns for the FY 2019-20 (AY 2020-21) to 30-11-2020. Hence, the returns of income which were required to be filed by 31-07-2020 and 31-10-2020 are required to be filed by 30-11-2020. Consequently, the date for furnishing various audit reports including tax audit report under the Income-tax Act, 1961 (the Act) has also been extended to 31-10-2020.

In order to provide more time to taxpayers for furnishing of Income Tax Returns, it has been decided to further extend the due date for furnishing of Income-Tax Returns as under:

(A)       The due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns for the taxpayers (including their partners) who are required to get their accounts audited [for whom the due date (i.e. before the extension by the said notification) as per the Act is 31-10- 2020] has been extended to 31-01-2021.

(B)   The due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns for the taxpayers who are required to furnish a report in respect of international/specified domestic transactions [for whom the due date (i.e. before the extension by the said notification) as per the Act is 30-11-2020] has been extended to 31-01-2021.

(C)      The due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns for the other taxpayers [for whom the due date (i.e. before the extension by the said notification) as per the Act was 31-07-2020] has been extended to 31-12-2020.

Consequently, the date for furnishing of various audit reports under the Act including tax audit report and report in respect of international/specified domestic transaction has also been extended to 31-12-2020.

Further, in order to provide relief to small and middle-class taxpayers, the said notification dated 24-06-2020 had also extended the due date for payment of self-assessment tax for the taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liability is up to Rs. 1 lakh. Accordingly, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax for the taxpayers who are not required to get their accounts audited was extended from 31-07-2020 to 30-11-2020 and for the auditable cases, this due date was extended from 31-10-2020 to 30-11-2020.

In order to provide relief for the second time to small and middle-class taxpayers in the matter of payment of self-assessment tax, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax date is hereby again being extended. Accordingly, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax for taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liability is up to Rs. 1 lakh has been extended to 31-01-2021 for the taxpayers mentioned in para 3(A) and para 3(B) and to 31-12-2020 for the taxpayers mentioned in para 3(C).

The necessary notification in this regard shall be issued in due course.


Ministry of Finance

[Press Release dt. 24-10-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Following are the decisions with respect to statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to various sectors: —

Income Tax

  1. Extend last date for income tax returns for (FY 18-19) from 31st March, 2020  to  30th June, 2020.
  2. Aadhaar-PAN linking date to be extended from 31st March, 2020 to 30th June, 2020.
  3. Vivad se Vishwas  scheme – no additional 10% amount, if payment made by June 30, 2020.
  4.  Due dates for  issue  of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents and time limit for completion of proceedings by the authority and any compliance by the taxpayer including investment in saving instruments or investments for roll over benefit of capital gains   under Income Tax Act,  Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act,  STT law, CTT Law, Equalization Levy law, Vivad Se Vishwas  law  where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.
  5. For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax,  regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy,  STT, CTT  made between 20th March 2020  and  30th June 2020,  reduced interest rate  at 9%   instead of 12 %/18 % per annum ( i.e. 0.75% per month instead of 1/1.5 percent per month) will be charged  for this period.  No late fee/penalty shall be charged for delay relating to this period.
  6. Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments for giving effect to the aforesaid relief shall be issued in due course.

GST/Indirect Tax

  1. Those having aggregate annual turnover less than Rs. 5 Crore Last date can file  GSTR-3B due in March, April and May 2020  by the last week of  June, 2020. No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged.
  2. Others can file returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020  but the same would attract reduced rate of interest @9 % per annum from  15 days after due date (current interest rate is  18 % per annum). No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before till 30th June 2020.
  3. Date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of   June, 2020.  Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of  return for 2019-20 by the composition dealers  will be extended  till the last week of June, 2020.
  4. Date for filing GST annual returns of FY 18-19, which is due on 31st March, 2020 is extended till the last week of  June 2020.
  5. Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents, time limit for any compliance under the GST laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.
  6. Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments to give effect  to the aforesaid GST relief shall follow with the approval of GST Council.
  7. Payment date under Sabka Vishwas Scheme shall be extended to 30th June, 2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by 30th June, 2020.

Customs

  1. 24X7 Custom clearance till end of 30th June, 2020
  2. Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing applications, reports, any other documents etc., time limit for any compliance under the Customs Act and other allied Laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

Financial Services

  1. Relaxations for 3 months
    • Debit cardholders to withdraw cash for free from any other banks’ ATM for 3 months
    • Waiver of minimum balance fee
    • Reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers

Corporate Affairs

  1. No additional fees shall be charged for late filing during a moratorium period from 01st April to 30th September 2020, in respect of any document, return, statement etc., required to be filed in the MCA-21 Registry, irrespective of its due date, which will not only reduce the compliance burden, including financial burden of companies/ LLPs at large, but also enable long-standing non-compliant companies/ LLPs to make a ‘fresh start’;
  2. The mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the Board of the companies within prescribed interval provided in the Companies Act (120 days), 2013, shall be extended by a period of 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September;
  3. Applicability of Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 shall be made applicable from the financial year 2020-2021 instead of from 2019-2020 notified earlier. This will significantly ease the burden on companies & their auditors for the year 2019-20.
  4. As per Schedule 4 to the Companies Act, 2013, Independent Directors are required to hold at least one meeting without the attendance of Non-independent directors and members of management. For the year 2019-20, if the IDs of a company have not been able to hold even one meeting, the same shall not be viewed as a violation.
  5. Requirement to create a Deposit reserve of 20% of deposits maturing during the financial year 2020-21 before 30th April 2020 shall be allowed to be complied with till 30th June 2020.
  6. Requirement to invest 15% of debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments before 30th April 2020, may be done so before 30th June 2020.
  7. Newly incorporated companies are required to file a declaration for Commencement of Business within 6 months of incorporation. An additional time of 6 more months shall be allowed.
  8. Non-compliance of minimum residency in India for a period of at least 182 days by at least one director of every company, under Section 149 of the Companies Act, shall not be treated as a violation.
  9. Due to the emerging financial distress faced by most companies on account of the large-scale economic distress caused by COVID 19, it has been decided to raise the threshold of default under section 4 of the IBC 2016 to Rs 1 crore (from the existing threshold of Rs 1 lakh). This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs. If the current situation continues beyond 30th of April 2020, we may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for a period of 6 months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default.
  10. Detailed notifications/circulars in this regard shall be issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs separately.

Department of Fisheries

  1. All Sanitary Permits (SIPs) for import of SPF Shrimp Broodstock and other Agriculture inputs expiring between 01.03.2020 to     15.04.2020 extended by 3 months
  2. Delay upto 1 month in arrival of consignments to be condoned.
  3. Rebooking of quarantine cubicles for cancelled consignments in Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) Chennai without additional booking charges
  4. The verification of documents and grant of NOC for Quarantine would be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days

Department of Commerce

Extension of timelines for various compliance and procedures will be given. Detailed notifications will be issued by Ministry of Commerce.


Ministry of Finance

[Press Release dt. 24-3-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Hot Off The PressNews

Order under Section 119 of the Income-tax Act, 1961

On consideration of reports of disturbances in internet facility in certain areas of Jammu and kashmir, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), in exercise of powers conferred under Section 119 of the Income tax Act, 1961 and in partial modification of CBDT’s order under Section 119 of the Act dated 23-07-2019 and 27-09-2019, hereby further extends the ‘due date’ for filing of Income Tax Returns/ Tax Audit Reports to 30-11-2019 in respect of all categories on Income tax Assessees in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashir and Union Territory of Ladakh who were/ are required to file the Inocme tax Returns/Tax Audit Reports by the due date specified under Section 139(1) of the Act read with orders of CBDT under Section 119 of the Act dates 23-07-2019 and 27-09-2019.

2. It is also clarified that ITRs filed by the certain categories of income tax assessees who were required to file ITRs by 31-08-2019, but have filed ITRs after 31-08-2019 till the date of issuenace of this order shall be deemed to have been field within the due date specified under Section 139(1) of the Act read with CBDT’s order SEction 119 of the Act dated 23-07-2019.


Miinistry of Finance

[Order dt. 31-10-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

The Income Tax department has made history with a quantum jump in the e-filing of Income–Tax Returns (ITRs) with an all-time high record of 49 lakh 29 thousand and 121 ITRs filed in a single day on 31st August 2019. This has perhaps created history as the tax administration nowhere in the world has achieved such huge online e-filing ITRs in a single day and that too so smoothly; with the IT department actively interacting with taxpayers on social media to help them resolve their grievances and e-filing related queries and getting accolades in return.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) released the data on e-filing of ITRs for which last date of submission was 31st August 2019 said that this is a remarkable achievement as taxpayers are experiencing a whole new facet of the I-T department which is not only taxpayers’ friendly but also is of a facilitator providing informational assistance with the pre-filled forms and handholding e-filers besides being proactively responsive on social media to help and guide taxpayers.

CBDT said that setting new records in e-filing on 31st Aug 2019, the peak filing rate per second was at 196 ITRs and peak filing rate per minute was at 7447 ITRs while peak filing rate per hour was at 3,87,571 ITRs.


Ministry of Finance

[Press Release dt. 01-09-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said that no changes have been made in any of the Income-tax Return (ITR) forms including ITR-2 and ITR-3 since the notification made on 01-04-2019, i.e. on the 1st day of the Assessment Year 2019-20. There were reports in social media that the taxpayers were facing difficulties in filing return of income in ITR-2 & ITR-3 due to large scale changes in the ITR form on 11-07-2019.

It is stated that the software utility for e-filing of all the ITR forms has been released long back. The utility for e-filing ITR-2 and ITR-3 was released on 2nd May and on 10th  May 2019 respectively. However, the software utility update is a dynamic process and is continuously taken up as per the feedback received from the users/filers to ease their experience in electronic filing of returns.

It is further clarified that the updating of utility does not hamper filing of return as the taxpayers are allowed to file using the utility which is available at that point of time. For example, more than 85 lakh taxpayers have filed returns in ITR-1 till date by using the said utility, which has also undergone update later. Therefore, the impression that the taxpayers are not able to file a return due to changes in ITR form is also not correct as more than 1.38 crore taxpayers have already filed their returns by using the utility released till date. Even though the utility is being updated regularly to provide ease to taxpayers, the returns filed by using the previous version of utility will continue to be valid.

It is pertinent to state that the updation in utility of ITR forms is based on feedback and mainly aimed at easing the compliance burden of the taxpayers by facilitating easier e-filing. For instance, this year, the facility of pre-filling of return forms has been provided based on the information furnished in the TDS statements. This facility has been updated in the utility subsequently. This would substantially reduce the efforts of taxpayers in filling of return forms.

It is reiterated that there are no changes in the notified ITR forms; only the utility has been updated to facilitate the taxpayers. Therefore, the assertion that numerous changes have been made in ITR-2 and ITR-3 on 11-07-2019, does not give a correct picture.


[Press Release dt. 16-07-2019]

Ministry of Finance

Hot Off The PressNews

The due date for filing of Income Tax Returns for Assessment Year 2018-19 is 31.07.2018 for certain categories of taxpayers. Upon consideration of the matter, the Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) extends the ‘due date’ for filing of Income Tax Returns from 31st July, 2018 to 31st August, 2018 in respect of the said categories of taxpayers.

Ministry of Finance

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla JJ., in a petition directed CBDT to issue directions at least for the period till 31-03-2019 to exempt the mandatory requirement of having to furnish Aadhar Registration or Aadhar linkage with PAN in regard to filing IT returns for AY 2018-2019.

In the present case, the petitioner relying upon the case of Mukul Talwar v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8724, states that they should be permitted to file the IT returns for AY 2017-2018 by being exempted from the mandatory compliance of providing Aadhar registration number or Aadhar Card Enrolment.  The petitioner seeks similar directions as in the case of Mukul Talwar by being permitted to file their IT Returns without any insistence of linkage of their Aadhar and PAN numbers and without any proof of Aadhar enrolment. Petitioners have also stated that even after the CBDT circular of 30-062018, which suspended the mandatory requirement, emails have been received from the Income Tax Authorities in that regard saying that with such grievances parties shall approach the Court.

Therefore, on careful consideration of the facts of the case, the High Court directed the CBDT to issue appropriate directions and create a platform by amending the digital form by substituting to enable “opt out” from the mandatory requirement of furnishing Aadhar registration or Aadhar linkage with PAN, at least till 31-03-2019. [Shreyasen v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10087, dated 24-07-2018]