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COVID-19 Update: Summary of relief measures announced by Finance Minister

Amidst the disruption caused by global pandemic, the government announced slew of measures to provide relief to the taxpayers/ corporate in the form of extension of due dates of various compliances under various Indian laws.

Summary of measures announced are summarized below:

Income Tax:

Particulars Due Date Relief announced
Income Tax returns for Financial Year (FY) 2018-19 March 31, 2020 June 30, 2020
Aadhar-PAN linking March 31, 2020 June 30, 2020
Vivad se Vishwas scheme No additional 10% amount, if payment made by March 30, 2020. No additional 10% amount, if payment made by June 30, 2020.
Issue of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports or any other documents

Completion of proceedings by authority and

Any compliance by taxpayer[1]

Due date of compliance between March 20, 2020  to June 29, 2020 June 30, 2020
Delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax, regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy,  STT, CTT  made between March 20, 2020 and June 30, 2020 Applicable rate of interest – 12% or 18% Reduced interest rate of 9%

and

No late fee/penalty

GST/ Indirect Taxes

  • Customs clearance facilities will be available 24X7 till June 30, 2020.
  • Assesses having aggregate annual turnover less than INR 5 Crore can file GSTR-3B due for March, April and May 2020, by the last week of June, 2020. No interest, late fee and penalty will be charged.
  • Other assesses can file returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020 but the same would attract interest @ reduced rate of 9 % p.a from 15 days after due date (current interest rate is 18 % p.a). No late fee and penalty will be charged, if complied before till June 30, 2020.
  • Date for filing GST annual returns for FY 18-19, which is due on March 31, 2020 has been extended till last week of June 2020 (GST council, in its meeting on 14th March 2020, has already proposed extension in due dates for filing of annual return & audit report for FY 2018 – 19, till 30th 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 GST laws and Customs Act, where the time limit is expiring between March 20, 2020 and June 29, 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

Corporate Affairs:

  • No additional fees will be charged for late filing during moratorium period from April 1 to September 30 2020 in respect of any document, return, statement etc., required to be filed in the MCA-21 Registry, irrespective of its due date.
  • Mandatory requirement of holding meetings of Board of Directors – Interval period of 120 days extended by 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September
  • Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (CARO) will be made applicable from FY 2020-2021 instead of FY 2019-2020.
  • Meeting of Independent Directors – For 2019-20, no violation if Independent Directors of a company have not been able to hold even one meeting.
  • Creation of deposit reserve of 20% of deposits maturing during FY 2020-21 – Extension of time for creation of deposit reserve from April 30, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
  • Investment of 15% debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments – Extension of time from April 30, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
  • Filing declaration for Commencement of Business by newly incorporated companies – An additional time of 6 more months has been allowed.
  • Minimum residency in India under section 149 of Companies Act – Non-compliance of the provisions shall not be treated as violation.
  • Default under section 4 of Indian Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016 – Threshold has been increased from INR 1 lakh to INR crore. Further, if the disruption situation continues beyond April 31, 2020, government may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for 6 months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default.

 

Considering the hardships faced by the taxpayers in meeting compliance requirements due to outbreak of COVID-19, the relief measures announced are a welcome move. Waiver of interest, late fees and penalties would provide relief to tax payers while adhering with statutory compliances during the lockdown period.

Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments for giving effect to the aforesaid relief will be issued shortly. Copy of the PIB press release is attached for your reference.

We will keep you posted on further developments in this regard.

[1] 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


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