Update on Relief measures announced on 24th March, 20 by Finance Minister relating to various Statutory and Compliance Matters across Sectors – Covid-19 outbreak

The Corona Virus (Covid-19) outbreak has not only impacted lives of general citizens, it has also severely impacted the trade and business community. The lockouts and curfew across various cities has resulted in massive downfall in numbers and business across the country. The business community was expecting concrete relief both in terms of relaxation of deadlines and sops for payment of taxes and interest.

Even the Hon’ble supreme court recently ruled on Force Majeure clause which may save businesses from delay in execution of several contacts and their financial implications. 

To address some of the key issues, Hon’ble Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has today announced several important relief measures, especially on statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to several sectors, taken by the Government for the businesses in view of COVID-19 outbreak. The same may be summarised as under – 

A. Extension of Due Dates, waiver of interest, late fees, penalty and additional time for payment of taxes

Sl. No. Topic Sector Particulars Original Date Revised Date Additional Comments
1 Extension of Due date Income Tax Income tax returns for the FY 18-19 31.03.2020 30.06.2020 It shall allow more time to filing Income tax Returns for FY 2018-19
2 Extension of date Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas  scheme – Payment 31.03.2020 30.06.2020 No interest for this period shall be charged if amount is paid by 30th June, 2020
3 Extension of date Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas  scheme – Waiver of 10% additional amount NA 30.06.2020 No additional 10% amount, if payment made by June 30, 2020
4 Extension of date Income Tax Aadhaar-PAN linking 31.03.2020 30.06.2020 Additional time to link Aadhar with PAN Card
5 Extension of Due date – GSTR 3B     (< 5 Cr) Goods and Services Tax Extension of Due date for filing GSTR 3B for the months of March, April and May 2020 –

 

Aggregate annual turnover less than Rs. 5 Crore

Staggered manner from 20/22/24th of next month Last week of June 2020 No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged
6 Extension of Due date – GSTR 3B    (> 5 Cr) Goods and Services Tax Extension of Due date for filing GSTR 3B for the months of March, April and May 2020 –

 

Other than above category (Aggregate annual turnover more than Rs. 5 Crore)

20th of the next month Last week of June 2020 Reduced rate of interest @ 9 % per annum from  15 days after due date (current interest rate is  18 % per annum).

No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before till 30th June 2020

7 Extension of due date Goods and Services Tax Date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of June, 2020. 31.03.20 Last week of June 2020 Additional time to opt for Composition Scheme. Intimation may be filed in Form GST CMP – 02
8 Payment of Tax under Composition Scheme Goods and Services Tax Last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of  return for 2019-20 by the composition dealers will be extended  till the last week of June, 2020 30.04.2020 30.06.2020 It shall allow more time to pay taxes under Composition scheme for quarter ending Mar’20 (in Form GST CMP -08)
9 Annual Return Goods and Services Tax GST annual returns of FY 18-19 is extended till the last week of June 20 31.03.2020 30.06.2020 This was already announced in 39th GST Council Meeting
10 Interest on Delayed payment of taxes Direct Taxes For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax,  regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy,  STT, CTT  made between 20th March 20 and 30th June 20 reduction of interest is proposed. Various dates 30.06.2020 Reduced interest rate at 9%   instead of 12 %/18 % per annum for this period

No late fee/penalty for delay relating to this period.

11 Custom clearance Customs Laws 24X7 Custom clearance till end of 30th June, 2020 NA NA Expediting clearance of custom cargo round the clock till 30th June 2020

B. Time limit for Issuance of notice, filing of appeal, furnishing of returns, completion of proceedings, etc. 

Sl. No. Topic Sector Particulars Original Date Revised Date Additional Comments
1 Extension of due date Various Laws Due dates for  issue  of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents and time limit for completion of proceedings by the authority and any compliance by the taxpayer including investment in saving instruments or investments for roll over benefit of capital gains under Income Tax Act,  Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act,  STT law, CTT Law, Equalization Levy law, Vivad Se Vishwas  law 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 30th June 2020 Relaxation of due date to 30th June 20

Date of filing appeal and completion of assessment stands extended to 30th June 2020

2 Extension of due date GST/ Indirect Tax Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents, time limit for any compliance under the GST laws 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 30th June 2020 Relaxation of due date to 30th June 20

Date of filing appeal and completion of assessment stands extended to 30th June 2020

3 Extension of due date Customs Law Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing applications, reports, any other documents etc., time limit for any compliance under the Customs Act and other allied Laws 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 30th June 2020 Relaxation of due date to 30th June 2020

C. Relaxation for Financial Sector for 3 months

Sl. No. Topic Sector Particulars Additional Comments
1 Cash Withdrawal Financial Services Debit cardholders to withdraw cash for free from any other banks’ ATM for 3 months Currently banks charge some fees beyond certain number of transactions for usage of ATM of other Banks
2 Minimum Balance Financial Services Non Maintenance of minimum Balance – Waiver of minimum balance fee Banks charge penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance for certain accounts
3 Reduction in bank charges Financial Services Reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers A positive step which shall assist business customers for encouraging digital transactions at reduced cost

Copy of Press Release Notes issued by the Ministry of Finance can be viewed by clicking –

https://taxguru.in/income-tax/fm-relaxes-tax-regulatory-compliance.html

Comment:

It will be interesting to see, how effective the steps will prove to be in future with government announcing complete lock down for next 21 days starting today. The unorganized sector is looking for stimulus to survive. It would have been better if Interest was completely waived and deadline for other forms were relaxed too. Another option which may be explored is to convert all GST returns into quarterly (GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B) with quarterly payment. A much needed breather in the tough times ahead.

We expect more relaxations and stimulus for other sectors like waiver of taxes, interest, penalty, etc. in the days to come.

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