Govt set to extend key ITR filing dates amid portal tech glitches

The last date for filing returns by salaried persons and those whose accounts need not be audited was extended to September 30 from July 31.
Even as filing income-tax returns has picked up pace after Infosys fixed the glitches on the site, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is set to extend key deadlines in view of the difficulties faced by the taxpayers.


Over 400,000 returns are being filed a day for the past four days compared to a complete halt in filings for two days from August 21.


A senior CBDT official told Business Standard the government would extend the key return-filing dates, giving sufficient time for the taxpayers.


“We are factoring in the delays caused due to the technical glitches on the new portal. The extension of dates will be notified in the coming day or two. It will leave taxpayers with sufficient time to comply. We will ease their nervousness,” said the official.


Over 8 million returns for FY21 have been filed so far, which is nearly 14 per cent of the returns filed by the last date for FY20.


The CBDT will also release the statistics on daily filings on the portal.


“Things are settling down and that can be seen from the returns and form filing. These are early days. September has not come. 8 million is a good number for a portal that struggled to settle. These are tell-tale sign that things are settling down,” said the official.


The last date for filing returns by salaried persons and those whose accounts need not be audited was extended to September 30 from July 31. For tax audit cases (companies mainly), the due date has been extended to November 30 from September 30.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given Infosys, which has developed the new portal, time till September 15 to fix the problems.


However, this would mean that individuals would have only 15 days to file returns if the date is not extended.


The income-tax return in ITR-1 Sahaj is filed by individuals whose income is not more than Rs 50 lakh. Form ITR-4 Sugam is for individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and firms (other than limited liability partnerships) having an income of up to Rs 50 lakh and with presumptive income from businesses and professions.


About 58 million income-tax returns were filed in January, the last day for individuals to file returns for FY20, with close to 2 million returns filed on the last day.


Last year, the government had extended the date for filing income-tax returns for individuals three times — first from July 31 to November 30, 2020, then to December 31, 2020, and finally to January 10, 2021.


Sandeep Jhunjhunwala, partner, Nangia Andersen LLP, said since the inception of the new income-tax portal, the government had stretched various timelines either for certain forms not being available or glitches.


“Fifteen days would be too short a period for individual taxpayers to file their returns. An overload of users may even cause the website to crash,” he said.


On the other hand, some of the other forms due to be filed by September end, such as Form 10BBB and Form II SWF, are unavailable as of now, Jhunjhunwala added.


PAN-Aadhaar linking is due by September 30, 2021. Therefore, in order to avoid hardships, all stakeholders are hoping for an extension of the timelines, he said.


Rajat Mohan, partner, AMRG Associates, said with the portal far from stable in the past few months, the government was obligated to extend the tax-filing dates.

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