The Union Finance Minister vide Press Release dated March 24, 2020, has made some announcements in relation to the relief measures relating to statutory and regulatory compliance matters across sectors amidst COVID-19 outbreak. In furtherance to the same, the Government has now introduced an Ordinance dated March 31, 2020 with regard to providing for extension of various time limits under the Taxation and Benami Acts.
The taxpayers have been facing various difficulties due to the unforeseen lockdown pursuant to COVID-19 outbreak. In view of the same, the said Ordinance intends to introduce the following measures:
Under Direct Taxes & Benami:
- Extension of last date of filing of original as well as income-tax returns for the Financial Year (hereinafter referred to as ‘FY’) 2018-19 (Annual Year 2019-20) has been revised to June 30, 2020.
- Aadhaar-PAN linking date has been extended to June 30, 2020
- The date for making various investment/payment for claiming deduction (like LIC, Mediclaim, donations, etc.) has been extended to June 30, 2020. Hence the investment/payment can be made up to June 30, 2020 for claiming the deduction under these sections for FY 2019-20.
- The date for making investment/construction/purchase for claiming roll over benefit/deduction in respect of capital gains has also been extended to June 30, 2020.
- The date for passing of order or issuance of notice by the authorities under various direct taxes& Benami Law has also been extended to June 30, 2020
- The date for commencement of operation for the Social Economic Zone units for claiming deduction under Income Tax Act has also been extended to June 30, 2020 for the units which received necessary approval by March 31, 2020.
- The reduced rate of interest of 9% shall be charged for non-payment of Income-tax (e.g. advance tax, TDS, TCS) Equalization Levy, Securities Transaction Tax (STT), Commodities Transaction Tax (CTT) which are due for payment from March 20, 2020 to June 29, 2020 if they are paid by June 30, 2020. Further, no penalty/ prosecution shall be initiated for these non-payments.
Under Indirect Taxation
- The last date of furnishing of the Central Excise returns due in March, April and May 2020 has been extended to June 30, 2020.
- Wherever the last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc., under the Central Excise Act, 1944, Customs Act, 1962, rules made thereunder and Service Tax is from March 20, 2020 to June 29, 2020, the same has been extended to June 30, 2020.
In addition to the extension of time limits under the Taxation and Benami Acts as above, an enabling section sought to be inserted in the CGST Act, 2017 empowering the Government to extend due dates for various compliances inter-alia including statement of outward supplies, filing refund claims, filing appeals, etc. specified, prescribed or notified under the Act, on recommendations of the GST Council.
The “Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (hereinafter referred to as ‘PM cares fund’) has also found its place in the above mentioned ordinance. The fund has been set up for providing relief to the persons affected from the outbreak of Corona virus. In this regard, the Ordinance states that the donation made to the PM CARES Fund shall be eligible for 100% deduction under relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1962.