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CA Bodies Urge Extension of Deadline to 31 March 2021 for Filing Income Tax, GST Returns and Other Audits
December, 18th 2020
Several bodies representing chartered accountants (CAs) from across the country have requested finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to extend the deadlines for filing returns for income-tax (I-T), goods and services tax (GST) and other audit forms in view of the hardships caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 
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The CA bodies have been requesting extension of deadlines from time to time. In the latest representation, they have requested the finance minister to direct the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to extend all the due dates for assessment year (AY)2020-21 to 31 March 2021.
It says, "Most professionals and their client tax payers are of the view that it is very difficult to meet the various deadlines for income-tax compliances as their focus right now is on getting their operations on track. Most of the business establishments as well as tax professionals are finding it difficult to operate at full capacity. The shortage of manpower has paralysed the continuity of work. All such issues are making it virtually impossible for most of our members and the taxpayers to adhere to the revised due dates of 31 December 2020."
According to the CA bodies, apart from the major issues arising due to COVID19 pandemic hampering compliances regarding filing of income tax return (ITR) forms and tax audit reports (TAR), and certain concerns like delay in the release of online e-filing utilities and continuous and regular updation in the schemas of the ITR/TAR form filing utility. Detailed information to be provided in notified ITR forms requires time, which needs to be kept in mind for considering extension of the due dates, it added.
The current due date for filing the annual reconciliation statement (GSTR9C) along with the annual return (GSTR9) for financial years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 is 31 December 2020.
The CA bodies point out that for FY 2019-2020, the due dates for filing the financial statements with various regulatory authorities has been extended. "Therefore, in the absence of finalised audited financial statements, the process of GST Audit cannot begin. Further, the GST portal has enabled the filing of the GST Audit Reports for FY 2019-20 only a few days back."
"In view of the above-mentioned genuine difficulties faced by tax payers of the country, we humbly request you to kindly direct the CBDT to extend all the deadlines under the Income-tax Act for AY2020-21 to 31 March 2021 and to extend the due dates for FY2018-19 and 2019-20 under GST Act also to 31 March 2021," the representations says.
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