Deadline for filing Income Tax Returns extended to 31 August

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The government on Tuesday extended the due date for filing income tax returns by individuals and certain non-corporate assessees for FY20 assessment year by one month to 31 August in view of the difficulties expressed by some people.

An official order issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that it was reported some taxpayers were facing difficulties in filing their tax returns due to various reasons, including extension of due date for issue of Form 16, the tax deducted at source certificate given by employers. The apex direct tax policy making body also said that the extension of due date was applicable to all taxpayers liable to file their tax returns by 31 July, the original due date. This applies to assessees other than corporate taxpayers and a few others including non-corporate entities the books of which need not be audited.

The tax department had earlier this year brought in changes in the format of tax returns as well as in the tax deducted at source (TDS) certificates issued by employers. It also brought changes to the TDS returns to be filed by employers with the tax department.

Returns for assessment year 2019-20 relate to income earned in the financial year 2018-19. The tax department usually allows a short extension if the public faces any difficulty in meeting the deadline and a longer extension for assessees in states where exceptional events like a natural calamity are reported. Taxpayers as well as employers have to pay special attention this year on account of the changes in the forms.

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Experts said the changes to the TDS certificate format notified in April requires employers to give the breakup of all the tax-exempt payments to the employee. The Form 24Q that employers have to file with the tax department has also been modified to give the breakup of gross salary in terms of value of perquisites and profits in lieu of salary. Also, bifurcation of tax-exempt allowances and the various deductions claimed have to be given. The move is part of an effort to reduce ambiguity in return filing and to make assessment easier by capturing finer details.

The FY20 Union Budget also proposed that return filing will be compulsory for even those who fall below the basic exemption limit of 2.5 lakh annual income, if they get into specified high-value transactions like spending on foreign travel.

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