The government on Wednesday extended the deadline to file income tax return (ITR) for individuals by 10 days to January 10, 2021.
The deadline for filing tax returns by businesses too has been extended till February 15, the finance ministry said in a statement.
This is the third time that the government has extended the deadline to file ITR -- first from the normal deadline of July 31 to November 30, 2020, and then to December 31, 2020.
Also, the due date for filing declaration under the direct tax dispute resolution scheme Vivad Se Vishwas has been extended by a month till January 31.
Besides, the date for filing GST annual return for 2019-20 fiscal has been extended by two months till February 28, 2021.
The extension of the deadline till January 10 is for filing ITR for 2019-20 fiscal year (2020-21 assessment year) and is for those individuals whose accounts are not required to be audited and who usually file their income tax return using ITR-1 or ITR-4 forms, as applicable, the statement said.
The deadline for other taxpayers whose accounts are required to be audited (including partners of a firm) and/or those who have to submit report in respect to international financial transactions has been extended to February 15, 2021.
Amid a blip in the number of ITRs filed by individuals vis-a-vis last year, the finance ministry said the extension in various deadline was given in view of the continued challenges faced by taxpayers in meeting statutory compliances due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
For companies, the date was extended from October 31 to November 30 and then to January 31, 2021. This has now been extended till February 15.
Over 4.54 crore ITRs for 2019-20 fiscal (assessment year 2020-21) were filed till December 28. In the comparable period last year, 4.77 crore income tax returns were filed.
At the close of deadline for filing ITRs without payment of late fees for fiscal 2018-19 (assessment year 2019-20), over 5.65 crore returns were filed by taxpayers.
The due date for furnishing of ITR for 2019-20 fiscal for taxpayers who are required to furnish report of international/specified domestic transactions has also been extended till February 15. The date for filing tax audit report too has been extended to January 15.
The date for payment of self-assessment tax for taxpayers whose tax liability is up to Rs 1 lakh has been extended to January 10 and February 15 for various categories of taxpayers.
Nangia & Co LLP Partner Shailesh Kumar said the last-minute extension has ensured that maximum ITRs/ audit reports are already filed, while only the last-minute filers have been given some additional time for filing.
"One must note that the interest clock continues and taxpayers waiting to file as per further extended timeline will need to pay additional one month interest (except small taxpayers having self assessment tax liability up to Rs 1 lakh).
"Thus, if everything is final, taxpayers should go ahead with filing, instead of availing the extended period," Kumar added.