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FM Sitharaman relaxes corporate, insolvency laws amid coronavirus scare

BusinessToday.In     March 24, 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made some major announcements to revive the ailing economy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak in the country. She addressed a press conference on various statutory and regulatory compliance matters amid a lockdown in the country due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The FM announced the extension of GST return filing for March, April and May to June 30, 2020, which would allow firms to focus on resumption of business processes. She also announced extension of the last date for the income tax return for the Financial Year 18-19 to June 30, 2020.

The FM also announced extension of deadline for PAN-Aadhaar linking and Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme till June 30, 2020. Earlier on Monday, the central government decided to allow India Inc to use their mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending for COVID-19.

Commenting on the FM announcements, V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit financial services, said, "Amidst the lockdown, extension of deadlines and relaxation of norms brings in great relief to the taxpayers and businesses in the country."

Also Read: Coronavirus in India LIVE updates: Govt bans export of ventilators, sanitisers and other ICU equipment

"More measures including cash transfers are expected in the coming days. The focus should be on the low income earners, as they are the worst hit from the lockdown. Some major announcements are likely in the PM's address tonight," he added.

Here are key announcements made by Nirmala Sitharaman for Indian Inc:
  • For the companies with less than Rs 5 crore turnover, no interest or late fee or penalty will be charged for late filing of GST return. For bigger companies, penalty will be charged at a lower rate.
  • In a bid to protect smaller companies, the existing threshold for Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 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 being forced to insolvency.
  • 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.
  • Moratorium on MCA-21 registry from April 1, 2020.
  • The government to reduce bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers.
  • Deadline for investing 15 per cent of debentures maturing during a particular year into specificied instruments extended to June 30.
  • Directors who do not comply with the minimum residency requirement of 182 days will not be hold in violation.
  • Applicability of companies auditors' report order 2020 extended to 2020-21.
  • Customs clearance will operate 24X7 up to June 30 as an essential service.
  • Due dates for issue of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of returns, return statements. applications, reports, and any other documents 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.

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