Advocate Akhilesh Kumar Sah

THE DUE DATE OF 30th SEPTEMBER, 2016: ENHANCEMENT FROM PRACTICAL POINT OF VIEW

At present, section 139(1), subject to its Provisos and Explanations, of the Income Tax Act, 1961(for short ‘the Act’), provides that every person:—

(a) being a company or a firm; or

(b) being a person other than a company or a firm, if his total income or the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year exceeded the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax,

shall, on or before the due date, furnish a return of his income or the income of such other person during the previous year, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed.

According to Explanation 2 [of section 139(1)], for the purposes of the sub-section (1) of section 139, “due date” means,—

(a) where the assessee [other than an assessee referred to in clause (aa)] is—

(i) a company; or

(ii) a person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force; or

(iii) a working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force,

the 30th day of September of the assessment year;

(aa) in the case of an assessee who is required to furnish a report referred to in section 92E, the 30th day of November of the assessment year;

(b) in the case of a person other than a company, referred to in the first proviso to this sub-section, the 31st day of October of the assessment year;

(c) in the case of any other assessee, the 31st day of July of the assessment year.

These days, in the era of e-filing of Income Tax Returns, there remains heavy pressure on e-filing portal around 30 September. It is being seen in last two years, the date of 30th September for filing of returns has been enhanced due to practical problems faced by assessees. Also, this year the last date under the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 is 30th September, 2016. There is going to be large pressure on e-filing portal incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

Looking to the last experiences, court rulings, practical problems, etc., the Central Board of Direct Taxes [CBDT] should enhance the due date of 30th September, 2016 to 31st October, 2016 well in advance. This measure will be tax-payers friendly as increasing of date at the eleventh hour causes harassment to return filers. Also, the due date in the case of a company may be fixed by CBDT to 30th November each year to avoid clash of heavy income returns.

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