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Govt extends tax deadlines, waives ATM charges

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, March 24 - The government on Tuesday extended the deadline for filing income tax and GST returns, raised threshold of default that could trigger insolvency of a company and waived charges on cash withdrawals from ATM of other banks as a precursor to a broader stimulus package for the economy distressed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The last date for filing income tax returns for 2018-19 as well as that for linking PAN with biometric ID Aadhaar has been extended by three months to June 30. The last date for filing GST annual returns for last fiscal, which is due on March 31, has also been extended till the last week of June.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns across cities create large scale economic disruption, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the threshold of loan default that could trigger insolvency proceedings has been raised to Rs 1 crore from the existing Rs 1 lakh now.

�This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against small, micro and medium enterprises (MSMEs),� she said at a news conference. �If the current situation continues beyond April 30, 2020, we may consider suspending Section 7, 9 and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016 for a period of six months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default,� she said.

With lockdowns restricting movements, the government waived a minimum balance fee on the savings bank account as well as allow charge-free withdrawals from any bank ATM for three months.

Also, bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers have been reduced.

For companies, it relaxed mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the board of directors by 60 days and waived the fee for late filings during the moratorium period.

Stating that the announcements done on Tuesday were to ease the burden of compliance on citizens during the lockdown period, Sitharaman said an economic relief package was in works and it will be announced �sooner rather than later�.

�Every attention is being given to the economy. The Prime Minister himself is closely monitoring the situation,� she said, adding, multi-layered composition of the COVID-19 Economic Task Force, announced by the Prime Minister last week, is already working.

The measures announced included an extension of the deadline for the tax settlement scheme, Vivad se Vishwas, to June 30, 2020, along with some other income tax filing requirements.

The extension of timelines for GST returns for three months � March to May, to the end of June without any late fee, penalty and interest for enterprises with turnover less than Rs 5 crore will provide significant relief for SMEs which are likely to be subject to intense liquidity pressures.

Also, due dates for notices as well as investment in saving instruments or investments for rollover benefit of capital gains under the Income Tax Act were extended to June 30.

For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax, regular tax, TDS, TCS and STT, a reduced interest rate of 9 per cent instead of 12/18 per cent will be charged for this period. No late fee/penalty shall be charged for the delay.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns for the month of March, April and May can now be filed by last week of June with no interest, late fee and a penalty for companies with less than Rs 5 crore turnover.

Others can file GST returns for these months by last week of June but the same would attract a reduced rate of interest of 9 per cent per annum from 15 days after the due date (current interest rate is 18 per cent per annum).

No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before June 30. Also, the date for opting for the composition scheme has been extended till the last week of June. � PTI

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