In the backdrop of lockdown in most places and with just about seven days remaining for the financial year to close, the government has announced slew of measures to ease compliance and statutory burden for individual as well as corporate. At the same time, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman retreated that an economic package is being worked out and will be announcement soon.

“People should not be worried about compliance…honest tax payers has to be provided mental and physical ease to spend time with family (during the time of lockdown),” Sitharaman said. At the press conference addressed through video conferencing, she spelled out relief measures related with Income Tax, GST, Customs & Central Excise, Corporate Affairs, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Fisheries, Banking Sector and Commerce.

Asked about delay in announcing comprehensive economic package, she said the government has no intention to delay the package. Parliament session is over, Finance Bill has been passed and government is collating views from various stakeholders. Various sub group such as one comprising of industrialists, other of academicians and one of Parliamentarians are discussing various aspects of economy. All these consultations will help in finalising measures by the COVID-19 Task Force, she said.

On the high volatility in the stock market and rupee breaching 76 for the first time, the Minister said that all the regulators such as RBI and SEBI along with Finance Ministry are monitoring development in the market. “Monitoring is happening thrice a day,” she said. However, when asked about expanding the fiscal or redefining norm for non-performing assets (NPA), she said that any announcement will be made during time to come.

On changes in GST related compliance announced by the FM, MS Mani, Partner with Deloitte India said that the extension of GST return filing timelines together with the deferment of e-invoicing and new returns announced earlier would allow businesses to focus on resumption of business processes once normalcy resumes in future. “The waiver of interest, late fees and penalties for SME’s would enable them to focus on reviving their businesses once things are back to normal, he said.

On measures for direct taxes, Pranav Sayta, National Leader at EY said that the government must be complemented for the swift, comprehensive, clear and decisive manner in which it has proceeded to grant relief as well as extend various compliance timelines in respect of Direct taxes. “This comes as a very welcome measure, to reduce stress and uncertainty, for businesses and taxpayers, already reeling under the severe adverse impact of Covid-19,” he said.

On the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Chandrajit Banerjee, DG at CII said that sthe announcement has come that the default threshold limit of Rs 1 lakh has been steeply raised to Rs 1 crore. This has come as a major relief to MSMEs. “These measures will greatly help companies where matters are before NCLT,” he said.

Table: Ease of compliance