The Income-Tax Department is "proactively pursuing" with the government extension of the statutory March 31 deadline to complete important tax-related works due to the COVID-19 outbreak, an all-India body of IRS officers said on Monday. It has also urged all I-T department officials to work from home in view of the social distancing guidelines issued by the government.
"Field officials have raised legitimate concerns about going to office. The I-T Department is proactively pursuing extension of statutory limitation/time barring dates with the government.
"Till then, DoR (department of revenue under Union finance ministry) instructions based on DoPT''s 22/03 order allows us to do whatever work possible from home, even if ITBA tasks cannot be carried out," the association of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers said.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had recently directed ministries and departments that junior-rank officials of the central government should rationalise manpower and allow work from home and in shifts in certain cases.
The association said local situations must be paramount in determining how and whether tax offices run, even if they are officially not shut.
"Feasibility of commuting of officers/staff, prohibitory orders under section 144, border restrictions between states in areas like NCR, ability of drivers to come for duty, etc. So, while we wait for orders, let us not panic. Let us take necessary precautions and ensure minimum travel and maintain social distancing," it said in a statement.
"We must follow Hon''ble PM''s advice and maintain utmost vigil," it added.
The more vigilant the officials are, the association said, greater the chances of conquering the extraordinary COVID-19 challenge.
"So work from home as much as you can. Stay safe. Keep others safe and let us overcome this challenge together," it said.
Another body of I-T gazetted officers has made a similar demand to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the government to extend the mandatory March 31 timeline to finish a variety of assessment cases.
The Mumbai region of the department has also asked the CBDT, which frames policy for the department, to extend the deadline for the ''''Vivad se Vishwas Scheme'''' and proceedings to be finalised by March-end under the anti-black money law.
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