With just one official working day left (July 31), a consumer organisation has called upon the Centre to extend the last date for filing of Income Tax Returns for the financial year (2022-2023) to bring relief to the people, here on Friday. The Council for Protection of Rights (CPR) has shot off an appeal to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministers of State for Finance, Secretaries and other concerned officials in this regard.
The CPR President Barrister Vinod Tiwari said that large parts of the country are battered by torrential rain, floods, landslides and other natural calamities in different regions in the past over a month. “The situation is alarming in north India, presently even in eastern and western India. The unprecedented rain has hit masses in all walks of life, including the financial capital of Mumbai, leaving the people desirous of filing their ITR anxious,” said Tiwari.
A tax and financial advisor A.N. Desai of Mumbai claimed that in view of the rush to file the ITR by lakhs of assessees for the assessment year (2023-2024), the official portal is experiencing heavy traffic and consequently slowed down. “We have already brought it to the notice of the concerned authorities, but the situation is unchanged since the third week of June. We are racing to catch the deadline (Monday, July 31), but are stretched beyond limits and maybe unable to complete the task within the deadline. If the last date is not extended, many people may have to cough out hefty fines for no fault of theirs,” rued Desai.
Tiwari has urged the Centre to extend the time-limit till August 15, but Desai feels that given the traffic and likely assesses who may miss the deadline, it should be extended till at least 6 weeks (mid-September). However, ex-President of the influential Bombay Chartered Accountants Society Abhay Mehta feels that extensions should not become the norm every year and all the ITR-related work should ideally be completed by July.
“People need to be more disciplined, must submit their details to their tax consultants to enable the CA’s file their returns in a timely manner, and avoid paying the penalties for late-filing,” urged Mehta. In the recent past, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic times, the government had given generous extensions of one, two or even three months to enable people to comply.
However, this year, the Centre had adopted a tough stance and made it clear that no extensions would be given after July 31, dismaying the assessees and even sections of fraternity like Chartered Accountants, financial advisors, tax consultants and other bodies.