The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Niramla Sitharaman announced several important relief measures in view of COVID-19 outbreak, especially on #statutoryandregulatorycompliance matters related to several sectors, on 24.03.2020. While addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Smt. Sitharaman announced the following #reliefmeasures in areas of Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT) and Goods and Services Tax
(GST) Act, 2017:
A. Income Tax
1- The last date for filing #ITReturns and #GSTReturns has been extended for FY 18-19 from 31.03.2020 to 30.06.2020.
2- The last date for linking Aadhaar or PAN card has also been extended from 31.03.2020 to 30.06.2020.
3- As per the ‘Vivaad se Vishwas’ Scheme, at the time of its launch, all the tax dispute settlements under the Scheme were to be allowed without payment of any interest or penalty only till 31.03.2020. A penalty of 10% of disputed tax amount had to be paid, if dispute was settled under the Scheme, after 31.03.2020 but before closure of Scheme on 30.06.2020. In this regard, the Finance Minister announced that the concerned tax payer need not pay the penalty amount of 10%, if payment is made by 30.06.2020.
4- All the due dates for issuance 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, 1961, GST Act 2017, Wealth Tax Act 1957, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988, Black Money Act, 2015, Securities Transaction Tax (STT), Capital Transfer Tax (CTT), Equalization Levy law, ‘Vivaad Se Vishwas’ Scheme, where the time limit is expiring between 20.03.2020 to 29.06.2020, would be extended to 30.06.2020.
5- For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax, regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy, STT, CTT made between 20.03.2020 and 30.06.2020, the interest rate at 9% will be charged instead of 12 %/ or 18 % per annum ( i.e. 0.75% per month instead of 1/1.5 percent per month) for this period. No late fee/penalty shall be charged for delay relating to this period.
B. Goods and Services Tax
1- The Finance Minister further made announcements with respect to #GST statutory and regulatory compliance matters whereby relaxations are rendered to those companies having aggregate annual turnover of less than Rs. 5 Crore. Such companies can now file GSTR-3B due in March, April and May 2020 by the last week of June 2020 and no interest, late fee, and penalty will be charged.
2- Others can file GST returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020 but the same would attract reduced rate of interest at 9% per annum from 15 days after due date (Current Interest Rate is 18 % per annum). No late fee and penalty would be charged, if they are complied with before 30.06.2020.
3- Also the date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of June, 2020. Accordingly, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31.03.2020 and filing of returns under GST law for 2019-20 by the composition dealers is also will be extended till the last week of June, 2020.
4- Announcements further specify the payment date under ‘Sabka Vishwas’ Scheme shall be extended to 30.06.2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by 30.06.2020.
The extension of time period has come after the country has gone into lockdown mode due to the increase in cases of those infected by the Coronavirus. Many chartered accountants and income tax officials had urged the Government for an extension. As a result, these announcements come as a relief for many individuals. Similarly, the necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments for giving effect to the aforesaid reliefs would be issued in due course. And necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments to give effect to the reliefs under the GST law would be followed with the approval of GST Council.
The Indian Lawyer
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer