With most of India Inc allowing ‘work from home’ option to staff amidst the coronavirus pandemic, businesses, trade and industries, educational institutions and tax practitioners are hoping the government will extend the deadline for tax return filings.

Sources indicate that the government is likely to announce some relief and extend the deadline although the fiscal challenges could mean that these are done at the last minute.

Direct tax

“On the direct tax side, an extension is needed for the revised income tax returns for Assesment Year 2019-20, apart from an extension for the Vivad se Vishwas Scheme. We are hopeful that the government will extend the deadline from March 31 suo motu in view of the current situation,” said Ameet Patel, Partner, Manohar Chowdhry and Associates.

MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India, said, “In the‘work from home’ situation, all businesses would expect an extension of the GST return filings due on March 20. This would convey solidarity with the difficulties that businesses have been undergoing in recent times.”

Vijay G Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries, said: “The extension of the deadline will facilitate tax-payers and companies to comply in time as many of the companies are having staff attendance only up to 50 per cent and in some of the companies, staff work from home, including the State government.”

Apart from the Vivad se Vishwas Scheme, the deadline for filing the revised income tax returns for Assessment Year 2019-20 is on March 31. The deadlines for various GST returns also fall between March 20 and March 31.

Significantly, the Income tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers Federation have also written to the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes to extend the current financial year 2019-20 till April 30 from March 31 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. To ensure safety of employees, they have also sought closing down of all income tax offices across the country till March 31.

“There are provisions in the law for extension of time barring dates in the current situation,” they have said in the letter, adding that the Union Cabinet can take a decision to extend the financial year.