Gujarat High Court has directed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to take appropriate decision on extension of Due date for Tax Audit Reports and Income Tax Returns (ITRs) by 12th January, 2021.
Mr. S. N. Soparkar, the Senior Counsel for the writ applicant, Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants urged the Court to issue a writ of mandamus to the Union of India, Ministry of Finance, to ask the CBDT to exercise its powers vested in it under Section 119 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 by extending the due date of 31st October 2020 at least for three months i.e. up to 31st January 2021 for the purpose of both filing the ITR and tax audit report in case of assessees whose accounts are required to be audited.
The Division bench of Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Ilesh J. Vora said that the respondent authority must bear in mind that the powers given to the CBDT are beneficial in nature to be exercised for proper administration of fiscal law so that undue hardship may not be caused to the taxpayers. The purpose is of just, proper and efficient management of the work of assessment and the public interest.
“One additional aspect needs to be kept in mind before taking any appropriate decision that the time period for the officials of the tax department has been extended up to 31st March 2021 having regard to the current covid19 pandemic situation. If that be so, then some extension deserves to be considered in accordance with law. Let an appropriate decision be taken by 12th January 2021,” the court said.
The court posed the matter on 13th January 2021 for the next hearing, so that Mr. Patel, the Senior Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents shall apprise the Court of any decision or development in the matter.