The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman announced some important relief measures taken by the Government of India in view of the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the coronavirus, especially on statutory and regulatory compliance matters on 24th March, 2020. This will help micro, small and medium enterprises to combat increasing expenditure and falling revenues amidst this disruption.
Relief highlights under GST (Indirect Tax)
- Last date of filing GSTR 3B returns due in the month of March, April and May, 2020 (i.e. returns for the supplies made in the months of February, March and April, 2020 respectively) has been extended to June 30, 2020.
- For companies having aggregate annual turnover less than Rs. 5 Crore, no interest, late fees, and penalty will be charged.
- For bigger companies with turnover exceeding Rs 5 Crore, returns can be filed by the last week of June, but they will be charged rate of interest at 9% per annum, which was earlier 18% per annum. No late fees, penalty to be charged if all said returns are filed before June 30, 2020.
- Due date for filing GST Annual Return and GST Reconciliation (GSTR-9 & 9C) is also extended from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
- Date for opting for the composition scheme has been extended to June 30, 2020. Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending March 31, 2020 and filing of return for FY 2019-20 by the composition dealers will be extended till the last week of June, 2020.
- Payment date under Sabka Vishwas Scheme shall be extended to June 30, 2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by June 30, 2020.
Relief highlights under Income Tax
- The last date for filing Income Tax return for FY 2018-19 has been extended to June 30, 2020.
Interest for delayed payments made till June 30, 2020 to be charged at a reduced rate of 9% per annum, which was earlier 12% per annum.
- Aadhaar & PAN linking deadline has been extended from March 31, 2020, to June 30, 2020.
Interest on delayed deposit of TDS to be charged at a reduced rate of 9% per annum (which was earlier 18% per annum). TDS payment and quarterly return filing dates remain usual.
- Vivad se Vishwas Scheme 2020 to offer a complete waiver of interest and penalty to the taxpayers having their petitions/appeals filed with specified authorities on discharging disputed tax on or before March 31, 2020. No additional 10% amount to be levied, if payment is made by June 30, 2020.
- All Tax Saving Instruments (including section 80C and section 54 investment rollover), time barring orders, appeal filings and other compliances under Income Tax laws have been extended to June 30, 2020.
Announcement highlights related to Customs & Financial Services
- In a bid to provide relief to the importers and exporters, customs clearance has now been deemed as an essential service that will continue its operations 24/7 until June 30, 2020.
- The minimum balance that needs to be maintained in bank accounts to avoid fees has been waived off.
- Debit cardholders can now withdraw cash from any ATM, free of charge for a period of 3 months.
Apart from these major relaxations, the Finance Minister also announced a Rs 1.7 lakh Crore relief package aimed at providing a safety net to those who are facing serious financial distress due to the coronavirus pandemic. The relief package would benefit around 80 crore Indians by providing free grains, cooking gas along with cash through direct transfer. Additionally, Rs. 50 lakh medical insurance cover per person will be given to frontline health workers, which would include sanitation staff, doctors, Asha workers, paramedics and nurses.
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