This year the situation is completely different due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to contain the spread of the virus.
Every year the due date of filing Income Tax Return (ITR) used to be July 31 of the respective Assessment Year (AY), which was often extended by up to 1 month if some problems arose around the due date owing to various reasons causing hardship to the assessees.
However, this year the situation is completely different due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus.
As the Financial Year (FY) 2019-20 ended amid full lockdown on March 31, 2020, various compliance dates – including the due date of filing ITR for the AY 2020-21 – were extended.
This year, due to the extension in various compliance dates, the return filing couldn’t even took off before July 31, 2020, when the filings usually get finished in a normal year.
This was because the date for furnishing of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) / Tax Collected at Source (TCS) statements and issuance of TDS/ TCS certificates pertaining to the FY 2019-20 was extended to July 31, 2020 and August 15, 2020 respectively.
Due to the extension in the due date for furnishing of TDS/ TCS statements and issuance of TDS/ TCS certificates, the updation of Form 26AS couldn’t be done before July 31, 2020.
As Form 26AS provides compiled data about taxes deposited – including TDS, TCS, Advance Tax, Self Assessment Tax, etc – it helps the taxpayers in filing their return of income. As a result, ITR filings got hampered due to the unavailability of updated Form 26AS even on July 31, 2020.
Many taxpayers missed the deadline for making last-minute tax-saving investments as the FY 2019-20 ended amid nationwide lockdown, resulting in extension in the deadline for making the investments – first to June 30, 2020 and then to July 31, 2020.
So, the taxpayers also got the opportunity till July 31, 2020 to make tax-saving investments, before filing their return of income.
As a result, to provide ample time to taxpayers to file their return conveniently, the due date of filing ITR for the AY 2020-21 was first extended to November 30, 2020 and subsequently to December 31, 2020.
So, in case you have not filed your ITR yet, you needn’t get worried, as, unless extended further, you have now one more month, i.e. till December 31, 2020 to file the return.