Explained: Why govt has extended dates for filing income tax returns, again

The government has further extended the filing deadlines for income tax returns and GST annual returns. The deadline for filing income tax returns for individuals for financial year 2019-20 (assessment year 200-21) has been extended by a month to December 31 and the due date for Income Tax Returns for taxpayers whose accounts require to be audited has been extended till January 31 next year.

Why the extension?

Many associations of tax consultants, chartered accountants had been over the last few weeks making representations for a further extension of filing deadlines citing difficulties being faced due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the CBDT had extended the due dates for filing of the IT Returns earlier, the associations and industry representatives said it is very unlikely that the assessee would be in a position to get the accounts audited by October 31 and then file the returns by November 30.

The other changes in due dates

“The due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns for the other taxpayers [for whom the due date (i.e. before the extension by the said notification) as per the Act was July 31, 2020] has been extended to December 31, 2020,” the Income-tax Department said on Saturday.

The due date for furnishing of ITRs for the taxpayers (including their partners) who are required to get their accounts audited [for whom the due date as per the I-T Act is October 31, 2020] has been extended to January 31, 2021, it said.

Also the due date for furnishing of ITRs for the taxpayers who are required to furnish report in respect of international/specified domestic transactions has been extended to January 31, 2021.

The government had earlier in May extended various due dates for filing ITRs for FY 2019-20 from July 31 to November 30 as part of measures to provide compliance-related relief to taxpayers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the government on Saturday also extended the due date for GST annual returns for FY2018-19 by two months to December 31.

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