Whether 31st march 2018 could be extended?

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march 31 date extended

march 31 date extended

Whether CBDT is empowered to extend the 31st march 2018 deadline date?

As usual, the income tax website started showing the sign of trouble. The same is happening with the NSDL site also and the taxpayers are not able to download or view 26AS in a time bound manner.

We, at www.thetaxtalk.com, have received lot of queries inquiring whether the date of 31st March could also be extended. Whether it will be appropriate to give representation through their association to the Government for date extension?

Let us know about the Provision related to return filing under the Income Tax Act-1961:

Under the Income Tax Act 1961, Income Tax Return is to be filed within due date allowed under section 139(1). If the Income Tax Return could not be filed within the due date mentioned in section 139(1), then it could be filed belatedly under section 139(4) at any time before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. The period of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year is reduced to same assessment year by the Finance Act-2017. Now, from FY 2016-17, return can be filed in the same assessment year i.e., within one year from the end of the financial year.

Relevant part of section 139(1) & 139(4) is reproduced as under

Section 139(1):

  1. (1) Every person,—

(a) Being a company or a firm; or

(b) being a person other than a company or a firm, if his total income or the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year exceeded the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax,

Shall, on or before the due date, furnish a return of his income or the income of such other person during the previous year, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed:

Provided that a person referred to in clause (b), who is not required to furnish a return under this sub-section and residing in such area as may be specified by the Board in this behalf by notification in the Official Gazette, and who during the previous year incurs an expenditure of fifty thousand rupees or more towards consumption of electricity or at any time during the previous year fulfills any one of the following conditions, namely:—

(i) Is in occupation of an immovable property exceeding a specified floor area, whether by way of ownership, tenancy or otherwise, as may be specified by the Board in this behalf; or

(ii)Is the owner or the lessee of a motor vehicle other than a two-wheeled motor vehicle, whether having any detachable side car having extra wheel attached to such two-wheeled motor vehicle or not or

(iii)Has incurred expenditure for himself or any other person on travel to any foreign country; or

(iv) Is the holder of a credit card, not being an “add-on” card, issued by any bank or institution; or

(v) is a member of a club where entrance fee charged is twenty-five thousand rupees or more,

shall furnish a return, of his income during any previous year ending before the 1st day of April, 2005, on or before the due date in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed :

Provided further that the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the class or classes of persons to whom the provisions of the first proviso shall not apply

Provided also that every company or a firm shall furnish on or before the due date the return in respect of its income or loss in every previous year :

Provided also that a person, being a resident other than not ordinarily resident in India within the meaning of clause (6) of section 6, who is not required to furnish a return under this sub-section and who at any time during the previous year,—

(a) holds, as a beneficial owner or otherwise, any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India or has signing authority in any account located outside India or

(b) is a beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India,

Shall furnish, on or before the due date, a return in respect of his income or loss for the previous year in such form and verified in such manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed:

Provided also that nothing contained in the fourth proviso shall apply to an individual, being a beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India where, income, if any, arising from such asset is includiable in the income of the person referred to in clause (a) of that proviso in accordance with the provisions of this Act:]

Provided also that every person, being an individual or a Hindu undivided family or an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, or an artificial juridical person, if his total income or the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year, without giving effect to the provisions of 38[clause (38) of section 10 or] section 10A or section 10B or section 10BA or Chapter VI-A exceeded the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax, shall, on or before the due date, furnish a return of his income or the income of such other person during the previous year, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed.

Explanation 1.—For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression “motor vehicle” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (28) of section 2 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988).

Explanation 2.—in this sub-section, “due date” means,—

(a) Where the assessee other than an assessee referred to in clause (aa) is—

(i) A company; or

(ii) A person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force; or

(iii) A working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force,

The 30th day of September of the assessment year;

(aa) in the case of an assessee who is required to furnish a report referred to in section 92E, the 30th day of November of the assessment year;

(b) In the case of a person other than a company, referred to in the first proviso to this sub-section, the 31st day of October of the assessment year;

(c) In the case of any other assessee, the 31st day of July of the assessment year.

Explanation 3.—for the purposes of this sub-section, the expression “travel to any foreign country” does not include travel to the neighboring countries or to such places of pilgrimage as the Board may specify in this behalf by notification in the Official Gazette.

Explanation 4.—For the purposes of this section “beneficial owner” in respect of an asset means an individual who has provided, directly or indirectly, consideration for the asset for the immediate or future benefit, direct or indirect, of himself or any other person.

Explanation 5.—For the purposes of this section “beneficiary” in respect of an asset means an individual who derives benefit from the asset during the previous year and the consideration for such asset has been provided by any person other than such beneficiary.]

Section 139(4)

(4) Any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under sub-section (1), may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.

Further, Income Tax Act u/s 139(5) allows to revise Income tax return already filed if assessee discovers any error or omission. Section 139(5) reads as under:

Section 139(5)

(5) If any person, having furnished a return under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4), discovers any omission or any wrong statement therein, he may furnish a revised return at any time before 49[the expiry of one year from] the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.

Coming to the original question now, whether the date as referred above for filing or revising the Income Tax Return could be extended or not?

Going through the basic provision as incorporated in section 139(1), section139 (4), section 139(5), taxpayer would find that there is no provision or power to extend the date.

This is the time to explore section 119 which authorizes and is used by CBDT to extend the date, more often for the purpose of extension of date u/s 139(1).  Section 119 of Income tax Act 1961 raise as under:

Section 119:

(1)   The Board may, from time to time, issue such orders, instructions and directions to other income-tax authorities as it may deem fit for the proper administration of this Act, and such authorities and all other persons employed in the execution of this Act shall observe and follow such orders, instructions and directions of the Board:

Provided that no such orders, instructions or directions shall be issued—

 (a)  So as to require any income-tax authority to make a particular assessment or to dispose of a particular case in a particular manner; or

(b)  So as to interfere with the discretion of the Commissioner (Appeals) in the exercise of his appellate functions.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power-

(a) the Board may, if it considers it necessary or expedient so to do, for the purpose of proper and efficient management of the work of assessment and collection of revenue, issue, from time to time (whether by way of relaxation of any of the provisions of sections 115P,  115S,  115WD,  115WE,  115WF,  115WG,  115WH,  115WJ, 115WK, 139, 143, 144, 147, 148, 154, 155, 158BFA, sub-section (1A) of section 201, sections 210, 211, 234A, 234B, 234C, 234E,  [270A,] 271  [, 271C,  271CAand 273 or otherwise), general or special orders in respect of any class of incomes or fringe benefits or class of cases, setting forth directions or instructions (not being prejudicial to assessees) as to the guidelines, principles or procedures to be followed by other income-tax authorities in the work relating to assessment or collection of revenue or the initiation of proceedings for the imposition of penalties and any such order may, if the Board is of opinion that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, be published and circulated in the prescribed manner for general information;

(b)  the Board may, if it considers it desirable or expedient so to do for avoiding genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, by general or special order, authorize any income-tax authority, not being a Commissioner (Appeals) to admit an application or claim for any exemption, deduction, refund or any other relief under this Act after the expiry of the period specified by or under this Act for making such application or claim and deal with the same on merits in accordance with law;

(c)  the Board may, if it considers it desirable or expedient so to do for avoiding genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, by general or special order for reasons to be specified therein, relax any requirement contained in any of the provisions of Chapter IV or Chapter VI-A, where the assessee has failed to comply with any requirement specified in such provision for claiming deduction there under, subject to the following conditions, namely:—

 (i)  The default in complying with such requirement was due to circumstances beyond the control of the assessee; and

 (ii)  The assessee has complied with such requirement before the completion of assessment in relation to the previous year in which such deduction is claimed: Provided that the Central Government shall cause every order issued under this clause to be laid before each House of Parliament.

Going through the provision of section 119, it is aptly clear that the CBDT is vested with sufficient power to extend the dates. Rather, CBDT is aptly empowered to extend the date even beyond the time limit allowed u/s 139(4) & 139(5).

It may be noted that CBDT exercising the power of date extension for Income Tax Return u/s 139(1). CBDT call this power to extend all the dates given in various Sections under Income Tax Act 1961. It is very clear from the reading of section 119.

It may be appreciated that for the purpose of section 119, Section 139(4) & Section 139(5) are almost have same shoe as section 139(1) have.

With above discussion, we can well conclude that CBDT can extend the date u/s 139(4) section 139(5) also if there is genuine hardship & inconvenience.

Rather, considering the difficulty which lot many taxpayers are facing in uploading the date, due to frequent maintenance blockage of website by income tax department, due to over traffic at NSDL server, CBDT should extend the date of 31st March well in advance now.

Hope, Finance Ministry is listening.


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