The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to extend the due date for e-filing income tax returns till October 31 and issue a notification in that regard.
The Bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Ramendra Jain also directed the Union of India and other respondents “to ensure that the forms etc. which are to be prescribed for audit report and for e-filing returns should ordinarily be made available on the first day of April of the assessment year”.
The directions came on a petition filed by Vishal Garg and other petitioners through counsel Hitesh Kaplish. They had challenged press release dated September 9, whereby the respondents decided not to extend the date for filing returns beyond September 30 for assessment year 2015-16 for certain categories of assesses, including companies, firms and individuals engaged in proprietary business and profession “whose accounts were required to be audited in terms of Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act”.
Practising chartered accountants, the petitioners contended that the return forms should be made available on the very first day of the assessment year “so that every taxpayer has sufficient time to file the return”.
But the respondents failed to notify the return forms for certain categories of taxpayers.
Taking up the matter, the Bench asserted: “In the present case, form numbers 4, 5 and 6 were prescribed on 1st, 2nd and 7th of August, 2015, respectively, when the audited accounts were required to be appended for e-filing of the return under Sections 139C and 139D of the Act.
“Counsel for the revenue (department) could not furnish any satisfactory explanation for not prescribing forms 4, 5 and 6 prior to 1st, 2nd and 7th August, 2015, respectively….Thus, the period required for e-filing of the return is held to be not reasonable.”