From ITR extension to filing GST returns: Highlights of Nirmala Sitharaman’s address amid coronavirus outbreak

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Addressing the media via video conference on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman relaxed certain norms and deadlines in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has hit various industries in India and the world.

She also assured that an economic package to help through the coronavirus lockdown will be announced very soon.

The decision comes amidst the coronavirus pandemic which has rocked the world, claiming 16,585 lives and infecting 383,894 people globally.

In India, 32 states and UTs have announced a complete lockdown in the entire state/UT covering 560 districts after the total number of positive cases rose to 446 as on March 24. 37 are cured/discharged/migrated cases and 9 deaths have been registered, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The steps come even as the International Monetary Fund stated that the pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020 and will be as bad as the 2008 financial crisis.

Here are the highlights of Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference;

Income Tax Returns

The last date for filing the income tax return has been extended from March 31 to June 30, said FM Nirmala Sitharaman in her address to the media.

She added that the interest rate for delayed income tax payments has also been reduced from 18% to 9%.

However, she said that there will be no extension on delayed deposit of TDS.

Other highlights of Sitharaman’s address were the extension of important deadlines.

Aadhaar-PAN card linking date

The last date to link your Aadhaar and PAN card has now been extended to June 30, says Nirmala Sitharaman. Earlier, the last date was March 31. Well, the deadline has, in the past, been postponed quite a few times.

GST returns

The last date for filing the GST returns and Composition returns for the month of March, April, and May 2020 has been extended to June 30th, 2020, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

For companies that have a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore, there will be no interest, late fees or penalty incurred, Sitharaman added.

Vivad se Vishwas Scheme

Giving details of the extension of dates to help citizen cope with the lockdown, she said the Vivad se Vishwas tax dispute resolution scheme has been extended by three months to June 30. Those availing the scheme by the extended deadline will not have to pay 10 per cent interest on the principal amount.

IBC limit raised

In a major relief for small and medium enterprises, the central government has raised the threshold for default under the IBC to Rs 1 crore from the current Rs 1 lakh.

Addressing the media through videoconferencing on Tuesday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the decision has been taken to prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs.

She assured that the government will keep a watch on the situation and if the situation remains the same beyond April 30, the government may consider suspending Sections 7, 9, and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for six months.

Financial services

As per the decision announced by Nirmala Sitharaman, debit card holders, who withdraw cash from any bank ATM, can do it free of charge for the next three months.

” …so you may have a debit card from a bank, a particular bank, but you will now be allowed, without additional charges, to draw cash from any other bank’s ATM for the next three months,” the Finance Minister said.

Also, the minimum balance requirement fee has also been withdrawn meaning that an account holder would be permitted to bring down balances to almost zero without banks charging fee for that. At the moment this will apply for three months, the Minister informed.

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