10th January 2021, the last date of filing of ROI u/s 139(1), falls on Sunday. In such a case what should be the due date ROI u/s 139(1)? 10th January 2021 or 11th January 2021?

Opinions varies. An analysis of the provisions affecting the Due Date may perhaps clarify the issue.

General Clauses Act 1977: Computation of time. Section 10 provides that:-

Where, by any Act made after the commencement of this Act, any act or proceeding is directed or allowed to be done or taken in any Court or office on a certain day or within a prescribed period, then, if the Court or office is closed on that day or the last day of the prescribed period, the act or proceeding shall be considered as done or taken in due time if it is done or taken on the next day afterwards on which the Court or office is open :

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any act or proceeding to which the Limitation Act, applies

The Limitation Act, 1963:  Section 4.   Expiry of prescribed period when court is closed.

Section 4 provides that where the prescribed period for any suit, appeal or application expires on a day when the court is closed, the suit, appeal or application may be instituted, preferred or made on the day when the court re-opens.

Explanation. –A court shall be deemed to be closed on any day within the meaning of this section if during any part of its normal working hours it remains closed on that day.

It means that if any due date falls on say, Sunday on which day the Income Tax Office is closed, then the due date shall be the next working day on which the Income Tax Office is open.

Under the present circumstances where ROI are filed online, the day, Saturday, Sunday etc. hardly matters because the Income Tax Office is open and accepts returns 24 X 7.

The issue that comes up for discussion is whether the GOI, by providing 24 X 7, for online filing of ROI, can be said to be open on Sunday? If the answer is YES, then the last date would remain the same even if it be a Sunday. However, if the answer is NO then, the last day would shift to the next day on which the office is open.

The issue was brought to the knowledge of the department and the department issued a clarification as under:

Clarification regarding furnishing of returns under direct tax laws–Closed holiday—Regarding 

Circular No. 639 Dated 13/11/1992

Representations have been received by the Board seeking clarifications as to whether the assessee could file a return of income/loss under the Income-tax Act, 1961, on the next working day following a holiday and claim it to have been filed within the statutory time limit.

2. The matter has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of Law and the Board are advised that, in such cases, section 10 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, will be applicable. According to this section, where any act or proceeding is directed or allowed to be done or taken in any court or office on a certain day or within a prescribed period, then, if the court or office is closed on that day or the last day of the prescribed period, the act or proceeding shall be considered as done or taken in due time if it is done or taken on the next day afterwards on which the court or office is open.

3. In view of the above, it is hereby clarified that where the last day for filing return of income/loss is a day on which the office is closed, the assessee can file the return on the next day afterwards on which the office is open and, in such cases, the return will be considered to have been filed within the specified time limit.

4. This clarification also applies to the returns under other direct tax enactments.

It is very important here to note that the Explanation to Section 4 of The Limitation Act, 1963 provides

. –A court shall be deemed to be closed on any day within the meaning of this section if during any part of its normal working hours it remains closed on that day.

It means that if the office is closed for even 2 hours on Sunday, it shall not be treated that the office is OPEN on Sunday and therefore this Sunday itself would be the last date.

Whether the Income Tax Office is kept open on Sunday under e-filing system?

The answer is that only the CPC office at Bengaluru is open 24 X 7(Including Sunday). But it can’t be said that the Income Tax Office at Mumbai is open too.  If one goes to the Income Tax Office on Sunday, he would find the office to be locked and therefore, not open. Under such circumstances it can be assumed that 10th January 2021, Sunday is not a working day for Income Tax Office Mumbai and therefore, the next working day, Monday would be the last date.  We can find support for this contention from one FAQ on the official efiling website of the department.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued by ITDCPC  06-08-2012

FAQ- 9. The last date of filing falls on Saturday or Sunday. Can I file my e-return on subsequent Monday?

Answer. Yes

It is worthwhile to note here that the question that is asked is if one can file “E- Return” and not a physical return. Therefore, this clarification will apply equally to 10th January 2021, being a Sunday.

7 May 2013: However, someone over enthusiastic persons have modified the above answer and made it look like:

Answer: Yes, if Income Tax Department is closed on these days.

Otherwise, No.

But this is not the correct FAQ issued by the department.

However, a clarification provided by Income Tax Department cannot overthrow a central enactment. An Act of Parliament could not be amended by any authority whatsoever much less by the Board under its powers under Section 119 of the Act.

A Sunday or a public holiday is meant for every human being in the country. It is not the entitlement of only government servants. it applies to all. The employees of the assessees are also entitled to holidays. They are not bound to work on holidays. It can’t be assumed if the income tax office is open on a holiday then all the assessees and their concerned employees will have to work on that day and file the returns. This is not what is intended. Keeping the counters open is only an assessee-friendly measure by the Income Tax Department. It is meant to facilitate matters and also to create better awareness.

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