CBDT has extended Due date for filing ITRs & Tax Audit Reports under Income Tax Act,1961 from 30.09.2017 to 07.11.2017 for those who were liable to file ITRs by 30.09.17. The Extension was first announced on Twitter at 10.21 PM on 31.10.2017 and later by way of press release on pib.nic.in at 11.35 PM. Further the order was uploaded on https://irsofficersonline.gov.in at 10.21 PM and same was also announced by way of a running message (Tracker News) on https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/ at around 10.40 PM.
Relevant Snapshots are as follows :-
Screenshot of Source code of https://irsofficersonline.gov.in showing the time of Publication of order on the website
Here, one more thing to notice is that the Department is yet to upload (Till 11.30 AM on 01st November 2017) the official order extending the due date on the official websites of CBDT for general Taxpayers which are –
https://irsofficersonline.gov.in on which the order was first uploaded is a restricted website and most of its contents are accessible only to Government officers through their login on the website.
Accordingly, it can be seen that the taxpayers were informed of due date extension through Twitter at 10.21 PM at the earliest (Unofficial Medium although official Twitter Handle of department) and by way of press release at 11.35 PM. So through unofficial channels, the Taxpayers were informed of extension just 1 Hour 39 minutes before the end of due date and through official channel, just 25 PM minutes before the expiry of due date.
Now lets analyse the reason given by CBDT for extension in its press release dated 31.10.2017
A. On consideration of representations from various stakeholders – Can CBDT tell us who has represented for such a short extension and who has represented that due date should be extended at just 25 minute before the expiry of due date of filing return. CBDT should not hide the fact that there own website was not working most of the time on 31.10.2017 and was having outage on other days too from last few days. It is because of this reason only that they have extended the due for such short span of time. CBDT should had extended the due date to at least to 30th November 2017 by considering the representations from various stakeholders.
B. To facilitate ease of compliance by the taxpayers – Extension of due date is not ease of compliance. Ease of compliance is making the system, Law and reporting uncomplicated and making sure that your website works all the time even if all taxpayers submit their returns on last day. You cannot say extension has been given to facilitate ease of compliance by the taxpayers when extension has been given primarily for the deficiency in your own e-filing website. You cannot blame failure of system on Taxpayers by saying that it is because of taxpayers’ tendency to file return on last date. There is nothing wrong as per law in filing return on last date. Further what the government has done to change this tendency of taxpayers? Have they come up with any incentive for filing return much ahead of due date? In my opinion there is no ease of compliance but it is only to cover the inefficient income tax server, which is not capable of taking last day load.
In my opinion this short span extension at the last moment is a Cruel Joke with Tax Professionals and Taxpayers all over India who were working day-night, compromising their health and family to achieve the un-achievable deadline of Filing ITR and Tax Audit Report by 31st October 2017 and also with the Trade and Accounting bodies who represented for extension.
An extension well in time and for sufficient time would had been a better move by the Government who is already facing several criticisms for unplanned, hasty and faulty GST implementation.
Some of the Responses on twitter against the last minute extension are as follows :-