India Defers Tax Filing Deadlines, Promises Virus Relief Steps
Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister speaks at a news conference in New Delhi, India. Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

India Defers Tax Filing Deadlines, Promises Virus Relief Steps

(Bloomberg) --

India deferred deadlines for filing tax returns, extended a tax amnesty program and unveiled other procedural relief steps, while promising more measures to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tax payers can file their annual returns by June 30 instead of the March 31 deadline for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in New Delhi Tuesday. Besides rules will be tweaked to check trigger of insolvency cases against companies, and norms relaxed for holding of board meetings, she said.

“We are very close to coming up with an economic package which will be announced sooner rather than later,” she said. “There have been several calls for us to respond to in terms of deadlines that people are struggling to keep. So therefore today we have come up with a comprehensive” announcement.

Bonds pared gains amid disappointment over lack of any substantial relief measures. The yield on the benchmark 10-year notes rose to 6.35% from 6.31% earlier.

Asia’s third-largest economy is under pressure to boost spending to fight the economic fallout of the pandemic that’s infected close to 400,000 people globally and brought normal life to a halt. Citizens across India observed a self-imposed curfew Sunday, a day when the country’s borders were also sealed temporarily to international flights aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

Here are other measures announced by the finance minister:

  • Interest rate on delayed payments reduced to 9% from 12% for FY19
  • Last date for linking Aadhaar and PAN cards extended to June 30 from March 31
  • Deadline for tax amnesty plan extended to June 30
  • The government extends last date for GST returns for March, April and May months to June 30
  • Customs clearance till June 30 to operate 24x7
  • Allows moratorium from April 1 to Sept. 30 for companies to make filing to corporate affairs ministry on MCA-21 form
  • Rules for commencement of declaration eased for newly formed companies

The government earlier allowed companies to divert their philanthropy spending to support activities related to preventing the virus, corralling private resources to fight the pandemic. Corporates spent 136 billion rupees on social programs in 2018, according to government data.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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