Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a slew of measures for relaxation of statutory and regulatory compliances amid coronavirus outbreak. In a press conference, Sitharaman addressed taxpayers' concerns related to income tax returns, corporates' demand related to compliance, GST deadline, IBT related matters, and other related compliances. Here are some of the big announcements made by Sitharaman:
For individual and corporate taxpayers
The government has extended the March 31 deadline for filing income tax returns for the Financial Year 18-19 to June 30, 2020. For delayed payments made till June 30, interest rate has been reduced from 12% to 9%.
The deadline for PAN-Aadhaar linking and Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme has also been extended till June 30. All compliances under Income Tax Act, Wealth Tax Act, Benami Transaction Act, Black Money Act, have been extended to June 30, 2020.
All compliance by the taxpayers, including investment and savings instruments for rollover benefit of capital gains under Income-tax Act, Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act, STT law, CTT law, Vivad Se Vishwas law, and others, have been extended to June 30, 2020.
Customs clearance will operate 24X7 up to June 30 as an essential service.
For the banking industry, the FM has announced relaxations such as removal of debit card ATM charges, waiver on maintaining minimum balance and reduction of bank charges for digital trade.
Debit card holders can withdraw cash from any bank ATM for free for next three months, which would avoid overcrowding at bank branches. While there will not be any minimum balance requirement fee, digital charges for trade transactions have been reduced.
The government has also decided to reduce bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
In a bid to protect smaller companies, the existing threshold for Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has been raised to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh earlier. If the situation continues beyond April 30, Sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC may be suspended for six months to stop firms from being forced to insolvency.
All GST returns for March, April, May and composition returns have been extended to June 30, 2020. For the companies with less than Rs 5 crore turnover, no interest or late fee or penalty will be charged for late filing. For bigger companies, penalty will be charged at a lower rate.
The requirement of holding board meetings has been relaxed for 60 days for two quarters. Newly incorporated companies will be given additional 6 months for declaration of commencement of business. For 2019-20, if independent directors have not been able to hold a single meeting, it will not be seen as a violation.
Deadline for investing 15 per cent of debentures maturing during a particular year into specificied instruments has been extended to June 30. The applicability of companies auditors' report order 2020 has been extended to 2020-21. Directors who do not comply with the minimum residency requirement of 182 days will not be held in violation.
By Chitranjan Kumar