Govt. extends income tax return filing deadlines

The government has extended deadlines for various Income Tax law compliances citing the hardships being faced amid the severe COVID-19 pandemic.

The due date of furnishing income tax returns for the Assessment Year 2021-22 has been extended from July 31, 2021, to 30th September, 2021. Employers have also been granted a month’s extension for furnishing Form 16 that reflects tax deductions at source from employees’ salaries, from June 15 to July 15.

A month’s extension has also been granted for entities that need to file audited income reports from their usual deadlines for filing such audit reports, as well as their income tax returns.

“The Central Government, in continuation of its commitment to address the hardship being faced by various stakeholders on account of the severe COVID-19 pandemic, has, on consideration of representations received from various stakeholders, decided to extend timelines for compliances under the Income-tax Act, 1961,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

In a related development, taxpayers will not be able to avail e-filing services on the income tax portal between June 1 and June 6, as a new e-filing system is to be introduced on June 7 and the week prior to it will be used for migrating data from the legacy system.

“Taxpayers are encouraged to complete all their urgent tasks involving any submission, upload or downloads before 1stJune, 2021, to avoid any difficulty during the blackout period,” the IT department said, adding that no compliance dates have been scheduled during that week to avoid inconvenience to taxpayers.

The new portal is expected to facilitate quicker tax refunds and simplify tax returns with pre-filled forms that would minimise data entry efforts for taxpayers ‘without any tax knowledge’, the department said.

A new call centre for taxpayer assistance will provide immediate answers to queries with FAQs, Tutorials, Videos and chatbots and live agents, the department said, adding that all key functions will also be available on a mobile app subsequently.

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