Finance Minister's Top 10 Announcements On Relief Steps Over Coronavirus

The Finance Minister said the last date for filing of income tax return for financial year 2018-19 stands extended to June 30.

Nirmala Sitharaman announced many reliefs for taxpayers as the country entered a second day of lockdown

Highlights

  • Deadline for filing income tax, GST returns extended to June 30
  • Free-of-charge withdrawals from ATMs of any bank for three months
  • India has reported 482 coronavirus cases, experts say a jump imminent
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a slew of relief measures for taxpayers and businesses as the country entered a second day of lockdown to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Announcing a relaxation in the due dates for filing of certain income tax as well as Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government is already working on a fiscal package to shield the economy against the rapidly-spreading pandemic, and will make an announcement soon. The relief measures came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special task-force headed by the Finance Minister to help businesses facing strain due to the pandemic. The country has reported 482 coronavirus cases till date, and health experts have warned that a big jump could be imminent.

Here are 10 big announcements for taxpayers and businesses:

  1. Briefing the media through video conferencing, the Finance Minister announced an increase in the threshold for default under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to Rs 1 crore. Currently, the threshold of triggering insolvency cases stands at Rs 1 lakh.

  2. In a major relief for the public, as only essential services remain open in many parts of the country to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Finance Minister announced free-of-charge withdrawals from ATMs of any bank for next three months.

  3. The government also waived the requirement of maintaining certain minimum balance in bank accounts. Currently, customers have to maintain certain minimum balance in their accounts or pay a penalty charge to the banks concerned.

  4. For taxpayers, the government extended the due date for filing tax returns towards income earned in financial year 2018-19 (assessment year 2019-20) to June 30.

  5. The Finance Minister also announced a relaxation in the interest rate applicable on delayed income tax returns (ITRs) to 9 per cent from the existing 12 per cent.

  6. Extending tax dispute resolution scheme "Vivad Se Vishwas" by three months, to June 30, Ms Sitharaman said those availing the scheme will not be required to pay 10 per cent interest on principal as mandated under existing rules.

  7. Ms Sitharaman also announced an extension in the due date for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with PAN to June 30. Currently, the compulsory seeding of the Aadhaar number into the PAN has to be carried out by March 31.

  8. The government also announced a range of relief measures for companies, including an extension in the deadline for filing returns towards the months of March, April and May to June 30.

  9. Also, companies with a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore will not have to pay interest, penalty or late fee for filing delayed returns, the Finance Minister said.

  10. Announcing a relaxation for companies to hold board meetings for next two quarters, Ms Sitharaman said: "If no board meeting is held for 2019-20, it will not be considered a violation."