Earlier this week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced some relief measures with regard to statutory and regulatory compliance matters. These were in areas of Income Tax, GST, Customs & Central Excise, Corporate Affairs, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Fisheries, Banking Sector and Commerce.
Due dates for tax benefits on capital gains were also extended so that a taxpayer need not rush to complete all their income tax savings exercises before the end of the financial year 2019-20 (on 31 March 2020). The deadline has been extended by the government to 30 June.
In a statement on 24 March, the Ministry of Finance said, "Due dates for issue of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents and time limit for completion of proceedings by the authority and any compliance by the taxpayer including investment in saving instruments or investments for roll over benefit of capital gains under Income Tax Act, Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act, STT law, CTT Law, Equalization Levy law, Vivad Se Vishwas law where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020."
What does it mean?
It means that tax filers need not rush to make last-minute investments or sales so as to not miss the deadline of 31 March 2020 to make income tax relief claims for the financial year 2019-20. The time period has been extended to 30 June.
Note that the government is yet to issue an Amendment Act or the ordinance to be certain of these interpretations.
Generally, there is a heavy rush to make last-minute investments in ELSS, PPF and other small savings schemes that come with section 80C benefits. However, amid the government imposed lockdown, banks and mutual fund houses have restricted some activities.
While mutual fund companies have closed their offices, banks are only accepting requests for essential services like cash deposit and withdrawal, cheque clearing, remittances and government transactions at their branches. Bank timings have also be reduced to discourage people from crowding.
While all banking and investment services are available online, some (especially senior citizens) are not comfortable using internet facilities.
Extension of the deadline to complete one's tax-saving exercises comes as a relief to these individuals.