Tax return deadlines extended due to prolonged spell of COVID-19

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The deadlines for filing various returns under the Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Company laws have been extended in view of the difficulties caused by the COVID pandemic. 

The deadlines have been extended by one month to three months‌. The fees and penalties for late returns have either been reduced or waived.

GST returns for 2018-19 up to 31

The last date for filing the annual return of goods and services tax (GST) for the financial year 2018-19 has been extended to October 31 from September 30 earlier.

Composition taxpayers are required to file their annual return through Form  GSTR-9A and others on Form GSTR-9. 

It is not mandatory for composition taxpayers and those with a turnover of less than Rs 2 crore to file annual returns for the financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19. However, since the information in the monthly return is taken for annual return, it is advisable for those who want to correct any mistakes to submit the annual return.

Audit for over Rs 5 crore turnover

The accounts of taxpayers with total turnover of Rs 5 crore or more for the financial year 2018-19 are required to be audited as per the Goods and Services Tax Act. The last date for submission of audit report on Form GST R-9C has also been extended to October 31.

In addition, composition taxpayers who have not yet submitted the GSTR 4 that is to be submitted every quarter, can submit it between September 22 and October 31 with late fee up to a maximum of Rs 500. Late fee has been waived for those without any tax liability. 

Those who have not submitted GSTR-10 after cancelling GST registration can submit it between September 22 and December 31. The late fee will be limited to a maximum of Rs 250.

Interest only on the tax amount to be paid

There was confusion over the interest to be calculated while submitting the return after late payment of GST. To this end, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes issued a notification No 63/2020 dated August 25, directing that the input tax amount should be deducted from the total tax liability to calculate the interest. 

Although it came into effect only on September 1, it has been made clear that this provision will apply to cases of interests in the past, too.

Audit report extended to 31

For those with annual turnover between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore and whose cash transactions exceeded 5% of the aggregate turnover and receipts will have to get the accounts audited for filing the returns. But if the cash transactions are less than 5%, then no audit is required.

If the turnover is more than Rs 5 crore, then the accounts have to necessarily be audited to submit the return.

Following the amendment of the Income Tax Act, the last date for submission of audit report under section 44AB from the financial year 2019-20 has been fixed as one month before the last date for filing of income tax return.

The last date for submission of audit reports has been changed to October 31 from September 30, while the last date for submission of tax return has been extended to November 30. These relaxations are only for the financial year 2019-20.

Deadline for 2018-19 I-T return extended

The last date for voluntary submission of income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 was March 31. It was extended to September 30 due to COVID. But now it has again been extended till November 30.

After this, the return can be filed only if the tax department demands it. In such a case, in addition to the penalty and the interest on the tax payable, the prosecution will also face prosecution if it is found that tax evasion was attempted.

In addition to the penalty and interest on the tax payable, you may also face prosecution if it is found that there was an attempt to evade.

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