Corona Lockdown: Why extending the ITR filing deadline of March 31 was necessary

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March 24, 2020 4:47 PM

Unless extended, the last date for filling the ITR, for those who have not yet filed or those who intend to revise their income tax return for the year ending March 31, 2019, was March 31, 2020.

Coronavirus outbreak, Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, income tax return, ITR, extension in ITR filing deadline, lockdown, curfew, passenger train services, Indian Railways, Vivad se Vishwas scheme, revised returnUnless extended, people was required to pay the tax under “Vivad se Vishwas” on or before March 31, 2020.

With the lockdown and curfew in place in many part of the country to contain the spread of highly infectious Novel Coronaviurs COVID-19, movement of people has become extremely difficult, hitting the functioning of offices of both government and non-governemnt sectors.

As in metro cities, many people, especially government employees, commute daily from nearby towns in local trains, which has now become impossible with discontinuation of passenger trains by the Indian Railways to ensure that people don’t venture out of their homes due to Coronavirus risk.

“Considering the lockdown/curfew in most parts of the country due to Novel Cornavirus it became very difficult for the taxpayer as well as to the government department to comply with the March 31 deadlines for various compliances or actions to arrange one’s affairs,” said Gopal Bohra, Partner, NA Shah Associates LLP.

Unless extended, the last date for filling the income tax return, for those who have not yet filed or those who intend to revise their income tax return for the year ending March 31, 2019, was March 31, 2020. Similarly, those who intend to settle their past legacy disputes by opting for dispute resolution scheme “Vivad se Vishwas” was required to pay the tax on or before March 31, 2020, otherwise they would have to pay 10 per cent additional tax.

“Various filing extensions and relief in compliance is essential for businesses to tide over these difficult circumstances. Businesses must also use this time to explore ways to become more and more tech focussed. They must now move compliance completely digitally, use cloud based services, and build strong controls and systems so teams can work digitally and remotely. The situation may not improve in the near future. Hopefully, the economic package in the works will help businesses recoup from fall in revenues, which is very much likely in the coming quarter,” said Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO – ClearTax.

Lauding the government’s decision, Ritesh Kanodia, Partner, Dhruva Advisors LLP said, “The extension of timelines for filing GST returns for March, April and May and the reduction in interest rate to 9 per cent will provide a significant cash flow relief to the Industry considering that payments for supplies made have considerably slowed down. It will also take away pressure of spending time on such compliances, enable people to stay away from office and enable businesses to focus on key aspects of the business rather than on meeting compliance timeline.”

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