The Allahabad High Court (HC) has directed the authorities in Uttar Pradesh to defer all recovery proceedings for two weeks till April 6 due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). During this period, all auction proceedings will remain deferred, the court ruled.
Commercial tax departments of states have also taken a similar decision. Goa has deferred assessment of value-added tax (VAT) returns for 2016-17 by three months till June 30 this year, against the current deadline of March 31.
Experts also want the Union government to relax the deadlines for filing of various returns. “The government may further consider granting speedy refunds and relaxing statutory filing deadlines to further assuage the situation,” said Harpreet Singh, tax partner, KPMG.
The Allahabad HC also restrained district magistrates and administrative authorities from issuing any directives for presence of any person in connection with any proceeding in this period.
The court also directed the state government to issue necessary circulars to various authorities to not take coercive measures or any exercise against any one which may force them to approach the courts for legal remedies.
The Calcutta HC adjourned the hearing of a writ challenging levy of service tax on royalty paid under mining leases to March 25, taking cognizance of the pandemic.
Acknowledging that “coronavirus has brought to a standstill all activities around the world, including our HC”, the court explained that “the prevailing circumstances have prevented this matter to be heard in a complete manner”.
Maharashtra issued the VAT circular asking tax officials to ensure all documents required for completing assessment for 2015-16 (FY16) be obtained through emails, so that there is minimum physical interaction between the assessees and the authorities. The assessment for FY16 has to be completed by the month-end.
It said the most common method of transmission of the virus seems to be through physical contact and therefore, it is necessary to maintain social distance.