The Gujarat high court has ordered the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to resolve technical issues that taxpayers have been experiencing while filing their Tax Audit Report (TAR) and income tax returns (ITR), threatening to extend the deadline to March 15 if the job is not completed on time.
According to the news reports, the court also stated that its writ will be effective throughout the country. The deadlines for filing TAR and ITR (for specified tax payers) for the assessment year 2021-22 are February 15 and March 15, respectively. However, a chartered accountants’ association has already requested a deadline extension, citing problems with the newly implemented I-T site. They’ve also asked for physical access to file tax returns and reports.
During a hearing, the CBDT turned down the request for physical filing of I-T returns and said that it would not be feasible. This led the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Nisha Thakore to instruct the central government lawyer, “Ask the highest authority to file an affidavit with regard to the problems that have cropped up and they may be immediately attended.
If the problem is not attended, the officer will be personally responsible for it. If the CBDT is to adopt a very obstinate attitude, which we don’t appreciate, they should also keep in mind the assessees’ problems as on date. There is no need for CBDT to be happy because 35% of assessees are finding it difficult to upload their reports and 65% are yet to file their tax audit report and IT returns and now we have less than one month left.”
The Gujarat High Court refused to issue orders, instead demanding assurances from the “highest authority” that any difficulty faced by an assessee would be resolved within 48 hours using whatever means the authorities had available. The HC has requested an affidavit from the authorities in this matter by Thursday. “When they are confident of taking care of the situation, let them solve it,” the court said. The judges stated that there are issues with filing reports on the I-T portal, which the authorities cannot ignore. The bench said that if the assessees continue to have problems till February 10, just five days before the deadline, the court will extend the deadline to March 15, 2022.
“Issuance of a writ will have its effect across the country. Let’s see what CBDT has to say about it,” the judges said and added that the court would also clarify that the assessees would not be fastened with any liability of penalty or interest, if the department is not able to solve the problem.
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