The due date to file income tax returns (no tax audit cases) for FY 2019-20 (AY 2020-21) this year is 31st December 2020, after multiple extensions. Similarly, the deadline for assesses subject to tax audit is 31st January 2021.
Many tax professionals are insisting yet another extension. They cite that several other tax deadlines are clashing with income tax, such as filing of GST annual return and reconciliation statements. Another reason for seeking an extension is that many businesses have not submitted details expected from them for tax audits, some still recovering from the aftermath of COVID-19.
Many months have passed since the original income tax deadline was extended with only a fortnight left for the deadline. Yet, the ITR numbers post a de-growth of 44.87% for AY 2020-21 Y-o-Y basis (data published by the government e-filing portal as on 30th November 2020). The number has improved from October 2020 which closed at a de-growth of 54.39%. Most likely, this may be the lowest percentage of IT returns filed across the years when the deadline is around the corner.
A total of 1,15,35,822 IT returns in form ITR-1 have been e-filed for AY 2020-21 as on 30th November 2020. Whereas, 63,15,248 IT returns in form ITR-1 have been submitted offline. Cumulatively, ITR-1 has registered a de-growth of 44.13%. ITR-1 is the basic income tax return form filed by most of the individuals earning income from salary or one house property, with the annual income not exceeding Rs.50 lakh.
The percentage of de-growth increases with the rest of the ITR forms besides ITR-6 showing the highest de-growth of 81.38%. ITR-6 is the income tax return form filed by company assessees, who are subject to income tax audit as well.
Confusion persists in the minds of tax professionals about the due dates possibly getting pushed. Hence, many tax professionals and businesses are hoping for an extension to the income tax and GST deadlines.
As per the data statistics as on 30th November 2020, Maharashtra has the highest number of IT returns filed in the current year standing at 48,83,439 returns. Gujarat follows it at 36,03,989 returns and Uttar Pradesh at 33,95,883 returns.
Five leading CA Associations have petitioned with the Finance Ministry for an extension in the income tax, GST audit, and return filing dates up to 31st March 2021. These include the Karnataka State Chartered Accountants Association, the Chartered Accountants Association of Ahmedabad, the Chartered Accountants Society of Surat, the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society, and the Lucknow Chartered Accountants Society.
In addition to the critical problems emerging as a result of COVID-19 pandemic hindering ITR and tax audit compliance, these associations highlighted specific issues too. These include the delay in the release of online e-filing utilities, near real-time updates to the ITR/TAR Form filing utility schemas and elaborate details being asked for in the returns this time.
Further, they requested an extension to the due date for filing GST annual returns in forms GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C. The GST Network had enabled the facility to file GSTR-9 for FY 2019-20 only a few days back.
Tax professionals are also hoping to receive early notifications for any due date extensions. Hence, there is a need for the Finance Ministry to intervene soon and take the matter in hand.
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Annapoorna, popularly known as Anna, is an aspiring Chartered Accountant with a flair for GST. She spends most of her day Singing hymns to the tune of jee-es-tee! Well, not most of her day, just now and then.