Sitharaman resists pleas to increase IT returns deadline

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28

The Union Finance Ministry has dug in its heels against petitions to postpone the last date for filing several returns, including for income tax (IT) for assessment year 2020-21.

The Ministry is also not disposed to defer its decision to make 1 per cent payment of tax liability in cash in GST despite pleas from a pro-government traders’ organisation.

The social media has been flooded with pleas for postponement with former Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu also writing to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this respect. But North Block has joined the battle of perception with at least six posts daily from the official Finance Ministry Twitter handle urging tax payers to submit the returns by December 31.

This exhortation is accompanied by statistics of IT returns filed. For instance, the Finance Ministry in its fourth post on Monday reported that 7.10 lakh IT returns were filed till 5 pm. It put the cumulative figure till that hour at 4.23 crore for assessment year 2020-21.

The postponements have been sought mainly because internal trade remains disturbed due to Covid.

Several associations, trade unions, professionals and Parliamentarians have sought staggered extensions in deadlines for various returns. They want the due date for filing annual returns for GST postponed to January 31 and for IT returns to March 31.

The Government does not want to defer the implementation of Rule 86B in GST that levies mandatory cash payment of 1 per cent tax for businesses with monthly turnover of over Rs 50 lakh. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) cited enhanced compliance burden and financial obligation for traders in seeking a deferment but the Government has stated that this provision will curb fake invoicing.

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