In view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the CA Institute has knocked the doors of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) seeking waiver of penalty and other consequences for any delay in filing of audit reports (for AY21-22) of certain taxpayers beyond January 15, the recently extended due date for filing such reports.

No penalty or other consequences should be visited on taxpayers filing the tax audit reports between January 16 and March 31, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has suggested in a memorandum to the CBDT Chairperson JB Mohapatra.

The ICAI representation detailed the issues and concerns faced by assesses in meeting the extended statutory timeline of January 15, 2022 for furnishing audit reports under the income tax law.

It may be recalled that CBDT had in September last year suo moto extended the various due dates under the income tax law. It was then specified that the due date for furnishing audit report for the previous year 2020-21 would be January 15, 2022. The due-dates for furnishing non-audit income tax returns (ITRs) was also extended from July 31, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

The ICAI has submitted that assesses continue to face difficulties in compliance given the consistent issues being faced in accessing the new I-T portal, lockdowns and extremely fast spread of Covid-19. Clustering of due dates have also added to the problems already faced, ICAI has submitted.

Issues and concerns

Stating that lockdown-type situations are prevailing in the country post the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the ICAI has noted that normal working of both CA firms and taxpayers has been restricted in recent months due to restrictions following the pandemic.

Also, due to lockdown type situation, there is almost no public transport for employees to travel to and from offices. This has also paralysed the functioning of government offices including income tax. Under this situation, the adherence to the extended due dates may not be possible, the ICAI representation said.

ICAI also highlighted that State government authorities overseeing co-operative societies and charitable trusts have already extended the due dates of compliance under respective statutes to ease compliance burden of concerned.

Six different CA bodies

Meanwhile, six different associations of chartered accountants across the country have urged the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to extend the due date for filing of income tax returns, tax audit reports and transfer pricing reports for all the taxpayers for assessment year 2021-22 to March 31, 2022.