“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 Uttarakhand High Court on Friday passed the above order while directing 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 2020-21.
The division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by the Dehradun Chartered Accountants Society.
The Dehradun Chartered Accountants Society, the petitioner, has filed this Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the following prayer:-
“(i) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus, directing the respondent no.1 and/or 2 to extend the due date of filing the Tax Audit Report and Income Tax Return for the assessment year 2020-21, both for tax audit assessee and for non-tax audit assessee for a reasonable time, at least till March 31, 2021”.
Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that due to nationwide Covid-19 pandemic, the Income Tax assessees have not been able to file their Income Tax Return on dates specified by the Government. Keeping in mind the hardship being faced by the income tax assessees, repeatedly, the Government had extended the dates for filing the Income Tax Return by the assessee.
However, presently, the dates specified by the Government are January 10, 2021 for the non-tax assesses, and January 15, 2021 for filing the Tax Audit Reports to the tax assessed, and February 15, 2021 for filing the Income Tax Return.
Moreover, despite the fact that the Chartered Accountants Society of Uttarakhand and the other Chartered Accountants Societies, throughout the country, have filed representations before the respondents, the respondents have, so far, not agreed to extend the date for filing the Income Tax Return. Hence, the Petition before this Court.
Piyush Garg, the Counsel for the Petitioner, further submitted that in the last para of the said judgment, the High Court of Gujarat directed the CBDT “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 (‘the Act’ for short).”
Therefore, he prays that this Court should pass a similar order directing the CBDT to issue an appropriate circular while taking into account the said provisions of the Act.
Thus, Counsel seeks an opportunity to file a fresh representation before the CBDT, and prays that the CBDT should be directed to consider the fresh representation, wherein the grievances of the petitioner would be voiced.
The Court observed that due to nationwide Covid-19 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).
Therefore, this Court permitted the petitioner to submit a fresh representation, voicing all their grievances, with regard to the consequences which would flow from different provisions of the Act.