Recent tax and administrative reliefs owing to the pandemic of COVID-19

Since the beginning of 2020, the world has come across an unprecedented pandemic aka COVID-19 abbreviated for “Corona Virus Disease 2019” since it all started towards the end of 2019 in a Chinese city of Wuhan. The disease had spread across several countries by the end of January 2020 owing to its efficient P2P transmission capabilities.

India also registered its first COVID-19 case by the end of January 2020 in the state of Kerala. The Indian government took some time to assess the situation and declared a nationwide lockdown beginning from 25th March 2020 which has now been continued until 3rd May 2020.

Due to this lockdown, economic activity has taken a backseat except the essentials which includes food, medicines, PPEs and some emergency services.

Consequently our Honorable Finance Minister came up with certain reliefs for the industry and a liquidity stimulus by the RBI. Both direct and indirect tax compliances were relaxed and due dates were extended till the end of June 2020 along with certain other measures for the public at large.

Income Tax

Last date for filing income tax returns for AY 2019-20 extended to 30th June 2020 from 31st March 2020.

Aadhaar-PAN linking date to be extended from 31st March, 2020 to 30th 2. June, 2020.

For “Vivad se Vishwas Scheme”, No additional 10% payout if disputed tax or/and interest or/and penalty is paid by 30th June 2020.

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 where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax, regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy, STT, CTT made between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020, reduced interest rate at 9% instead of 12 %/18 % per annum ( i.e. 0.75% per month instead of 1/1.5 percent per month) will be charged for this period. No late fee/penalty shall be charged for delay relating to this period.

Goods and Services Tax and other Indirect Taxes

Assessee having aggregate annual turnover of less than Rs. 5 Crore- Last date to file GSTR-3B due in March, April and May 2020 has been extended to the last week of June, 2020. No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged.

Assessee having aggregate annual turnover of more than Rs. 5 Crore can file returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020 but the same would attract 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 30th June 2020.

Date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of June, 2020. Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of return for FY 2019-20 by the composition dealers will be extended till the last week of June, 2020.

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 where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

Payment date under “Sabka Vishwas Scheme” shall be extended to 30th June, 2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by 30th June, 2020.

24X7 Custom clearance till the end of 30th June, 2020. 

Provident Fund

Government of India will pay EPF contribution of both employer and employee (12 percent each) for the next three months so that nobody suffers due to loss of continuity in the EPFO contribution. This is for those establishments that have upto 100 employee and 90 percent of whom earn under INR 15,000 monthly wage.

A special provision for withdrawal from the EPF Scheme to fight COVID 19 was announced by the government on 28th March 2020. Under this provision, a non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of the basic wages and dearness allowance for three months or up to 75% of the amount standing to member’s credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, is provided. The member can apply for lesser amount also. This, being an advance, does not attract income tax deductions.

For any related queries, the author can be reached at kalpit.shah9@gmail.com

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