Govt may need to further extend tax return deadline if COVID cases continue to rise: Experts

NEW DELHI, Jul 5: Amid rising number of coronavirus cases, the tax department may have to come out with more measures and further extend the timelines to help the taxpayers comply with the statutory norms, according to experts.

Although tax experts have welcomed the host of initiatives taken by the Finance Ministry to help the taxpayers in times of unprecedented crisis created by coronavirus pandemic, they feel that something more may have to be done till the normalcy returns.

Among other measures, the Income Tax Department has extended various timelines to help the taxpayers remain on the right side of the law even during the times of pandemic and repeated extensions of lockdowns to prevent spread of coronavirus.

Observing that major relief measures in terms of extension of timelines and interest waivers were undertaken by the government through an Ordinance on March 31, Gaurav Mohan, CEO AMRG & Associates said, “Considering the current situation, more and more relief measures are needed for the taxpayers to keep the economy rolling which are being introduced with time”.

The coronavirus cases in the country have exceeded 6.5 lakhs and it may take months before the vaccine is developed or the normalcy is restored.

Commenting on the government’s decision extend the date of filing of income tax return in view of the pandemic, Naveen Wadhwa, DGM, Taxmann said, “The due date of furnishing return of income for all assessee for the financial year 2019-20 has been extended to November 30, 2020 in place of July 31 and October 31, 2020. Hence, all the assessee who are required to file ITR by July 31, 2020, or October 31, 2020 can file their return of income till November 30, 2020, without paying any late fee charges”.

Taxpayers will not have to pay any interest if the self-assessment tax liability remains within Rs 1 lakh and the return is filed within the due date of November 30.

However, “if the self-assessment tax liability of a taxpayer exceeds Rs 1 lakh, he would be liable to pay interest under section 234A from the expiry of original due dates provided in the Income-tax Act,” Wadhwa added.

On the government’s decision to extend the investment deadline to July 31 for claiming tax deduction for 2019-20, Kapil Rana, Founder Chairman, HostBooks Limited said, “This relief will help taxpayer to make their tax planning and reduce tax liability, who could not make their saving for the financial year 2019-20 due to this COVID-19 situation”.

The government had introduced a new schedule namely Schedule DI and had extended the due date for making investment in tax saving instruments for the financial year 2019-20 from March 31, 2020 to June 30,  2020. The date has been further extended to July 31, 2020. (PTI)