The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to consider representations seeking extension of due date of filing the Tax Audit Report and Income Tax Return for the assessment year 2021-21.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari observed that due to nationwide COVID19 pandemic, a large number of assesses still find it difficult to even meet their Chartered Accountants and to file their Income Tax Audit Reports (TARs) and the Income Tax Returns (ITRs).
“This Court permits the petitioner to submit a fresh representation, voicing all their grievances, with regard to the consequences [of delay in filing ITRs] which would flow from different provisions of the [Income Tax] Act. The CBDT is directed to leniently consider the said representation after giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and to pass a reasoned order thereupon,” the bench ordered,
The last dates for filing (i) Returns (for non-audit cases) is January 10, 2021; (ii) Tax Audit is January 15, 2021; and (iii) Returns (for tax audit cases) is February 15, 2021.
The Court was hearing a PIL filed by Dehradun Chartered Accountants Society, seeking extension of deadlines for filing ITRs and TARs, both for tax audit assessee and for non-tax audit assessee for a reasonable time, at least till March 31, 2021
The CBDT had submitted before the High Court that in matters of fixing cut-off date, Court should exercise judicial restraint and must ordinarily leave it to the executive authorities.
Inter alia, the Board referred to the decision of the Gujarat High Court in All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants v. Union of India, dated January 13, 2020, whereby a Division Bench declined to interfere with CBDT’s decision to not grant any further extension for filing of ITRs and TARs.
At this juncture, the Petitioner referred to the last paragraph of the said judgment, directing the Board to consider issuing an appropriate circular taking a lenient view as regards the consequences of late filing of the Tax Audit Reports as provided under Section 271B of the Income Tax Act.
Moreover, the Petitioner submitted that the above Judgment of the Gujarat High Court is limited only to the consequences which would flow from Section 271B of the Act, whereas there are other provisions which equally have consequences flowing in case ITRs are not filed on time.
In view of the aforesaid, the Court has permitted the Petitioner to make a fresh representation, to be leniently considered by the CBDT.