As the country is grappling with second phase of Covid-19 pandemic, Central Board of Direct Taxes (“CBDT”) on 20th May 2021, took a far-sighted approach and extended the due date of various statutory deadlines. This action by the CBDT will greatly help the taxpayer in planning their compliance.
Recent extension by CBDT on filing tax returns
CBDT vide circular dated 20th May 2021 has granted extension of time limits in view of the severe pandemic, of which significant ones are as follows:
Taxpayers requiring to furnish transfer pricing report
30 November 2021
31 December 2021
Taxpayers requiring to get their accounts audited and not covered above
31 October 2021
30 November 2021
Other taxpayers not covered above (e.g., individuals, firms not liable to audit etc.)
31 July 2021
30 September 2021
The CBDT has also provided extension of applicability of interest u/s. 234A (i.e., interest on late payment of advance tax) in case total income tax liability is discharged by TDS and advance tax upto Rs 1 lakhs. This is a welcome move that will help alleviate the cash flow issues faced by individuals and small businesses.
Pre filled tax returns
In order to ease the income tax return filing the Government has launched a mechanism of pre-filled forms. Taxpayers will now have more pre-filled details which includes salary income from pre-filled from Form 16A, TDS credit and other income from Form 26AS, etc.
It is expected that with the pre-filled form, the probabilities of errors while filing taxes will be greatly reduced.
Upgraded e-filing portal
The CBDT has launched the new income tax e-filing portal 2.0 (www.incometax.gov.in) on 7th June 2021 replacing the existing e-filing portal. The new portal aims to provide speed, accuracy, convenience, and usability. Some of the portal’s features are:
- Integrated processing of ITRs to issue quick refunds to taxpayers;
- Single dashboard for follow-up action by taxpayer;
- Free of cost ITR preparation software available with interactive questions;
The steps taken by the CBDT to ease the pandemic impact on compliance timelines as well as to is revitalize its portal are welcome moves from a taxpayer standpoint.
(The writer is Partner Tax & Regulatory Services, BDO India, LLP)