The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended various tax returns filing deadlines till December 31 this year but it will continue to levy interest on delayed payments made after July 31, the original due date.
Officials say tax payment has to be done through net banking, and the assessee doesn't need to use the e-filing portal, which has been facing glitches.
So, taxpayers have to bear the interest payment liability of 1 per cent per month on the outstanding tax for those who filed a return after July 31. CBDT clarified this in the wake of industry stakeholders seeking amendment in the Act to provide relief on interest liability for the assessment year 2021-22.
In its September 9 circular, while extending the ITR and other deadlines, CBDT said that “extension of dates shall not apply to Section 234 A (deals with interest payment when there is a delay in filing ITR) of the I-T Act.”
However, it extended the interest relief to small taxpayers having self-assessment tax liability below Rs 1 lakh and certain senior citizens, the circular said.
The latest extension of the deadline comes amid continuing technical glitches on the new tax filing portal managed by Infosys, which has been facing widespread criticism from the government and taxpayers. Infosys has been asked to rectify the portal by September 15.
“While the due date of furnishing income tax returns has been extended, no relief has been accorded to taxpayers in respect of interest levied under Section 234 A, where amount of tax on total income as reduced by permissible deductions (TDS/ TCS/ Advance tax) exceeds Rs 1 lakh," said Rakesh Nangia, chairman, Nangia Andersen.
Considering the unresolved technical glitches on the newly-launched income tax portal, a much-needed relief has been granted to the taxpayers who were encountering difficulties while fulfilling the compliance obligation.
"However, notably, despite the extension, interest will continue to be levied. Therefore, one must endeavour to file the income tax return as soon as possible to avoid further accumulation of interest, he said.
Another expert Lokesh Shah, partner, Saraf and Partners, said taxpayers may consider depositing their entire tax liability even though the return may be filed within the extended due date to not draw interest liability, to some extent.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently held a meeting with Infosys managing director (MD) chief executive officer (CEO) Salil Parekh. Here, she expressed disappointment and concerns of the government as well as the taxpayers about the issues in the e-filing portal.
On Wednesday, the finance ministry had said the issues were being positively addressed as the statistics of various filings on the portal showed a positive trend. The ministry, in a statement, said that more than 88.3 million taxpayers have logged in till Tuesday with a daily average of over 1.55 million in September.
ITR filing has increased to 320,000 daily in September 2021. As many as 11.9 million ITRs for AY 2021-22 have been filed. Of these, over 7.62 million taxpayers have used the online utility of the portal to file returns.