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Income tax returns (ITR) filing dates: Tax experts rue Gujarat HC refusal to extend tax filing dates; demand exemption from late fee, GST amnesty scheme
January, 18th 2021

After the Gujarat High Court rejected the petition for extension of income tax return (ITR) filing due dates and tax audit report, chartered accountants and other tax professionals have taken to social media expressing their anger against the court's judgement and are demanding relaxation in due dates and late fees in view of Covid19 pandemic

After the Gujarat High Court rejected the petition for extension of income tax return (ITR) filing due dates and tax audit report, chartered accountants and other tax professionals have taken to social media expressing their anger against the court's judgement and are demanding relaxation in due dates and late fees in view of Covid19 pandemic. They are demanding exemption  under section 234F of income tax act  on delayed return filing and waiver of late fee on filing of GST returns. They are pressing for GST amnesty scheme and extension of tax credit for FY 20 till March 31, 2021. 

In many small cities as well as metro cities like Mumbai, life is yet to go back to normal. According to Pune-based CA Pritam Mahure, data as well as taxpayers or professionals are not fully available to complete the accounting and taxation work. "Due to the fact that this is an exceptional situation which is being faced, everyone is asking for a reasonable extension or summer additional time to do the tax compliances. The expectations are genuine and reasonable and thus, the Government should consider them leniently," Mahure said.

According to Delhi-based CA Atul Goel, the court's judgement is a bit harsh on tax professionals as their regular work got severely impacted due to Covid 19 pandemic. He said the pandemic lowered their efficiency by 40 to 45% and regular ITR filing and heavy burden of other compliances couldn't be done.

The Gujarat High Court had asked the Centre to reconsider the deadlines for ITR and TAR filing. The central board of direct taxes or CBDT in its order had stated that it would not grant extensions. Later the court in its judgement dated January 14 had said CBDT may consider issuing   an   appropriate   circular   taking   a  lenient  view   as  regards the consequences of late filing of tax audit reports. It left it to the better discretion of CBDT.

The court gave its verdict on the petition of the All India Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants filed last year. The latter had made a representation in October 2020 seeking extension of due dates. CBDT in its order had said that the tax collections assume great significance in these difficult times of Covid19 pandemic and the government needs revenue to carry out relief work for the poor and other responsibilities. Any delay in filing returns affects collection of taxes and other welfare functions of the state for the vulnerable and weaker sections of society which is funded through the revenue collected.

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