Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made a number of announcements in relation to the filing of income tax returns, GST, issues related to insolvency, banking operations in order to minimise the impact of coronavirus outbreak in the country. Coronavirus has hit hard on the business industry as many companies have shut production, manufacturing of new items, especially the auto industry following a drop in demand as coronavirus has forced people to stay indoors. In such a situation when the business industry is facing the brunt of COVID-19 outbreak, Sitharaman along with Minister of State (MoS), Finance, Anurag Thakur, other officials announced a slew of measure to minimise the impact of coronavirus on the business industry.
Big decisions taken by government to minimise economic impact of coronavirus
- Finance Minister Sitharaman announced an eight-point structural and regulatory relief package to mitigate the economic fallout of COVID19. Sitharaman announced relaxed compliance norms for income-tax, goods and services tax (GST), customs, IBC, banking and commerce. The government said it will soon come out with an economic package to support the economy. The economic package is going to be announced soon, Sitharaman informed. She also announced a set of compliance-related issues, including extension of dates for filing income-tax and GST returns.
- The Finance Ministry announced the extension of the deadline for filing income tax returns, goods and services tax (GST) for March, April and May 2020 till June 30.
- The government has extended deadline for most compliance relating to taxation and statutory corporate filings from March 31 to June 30. This includes the deadline for filing income-tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 (FY19) which has now been extended till June 30 to provide relief amid the coronavirus crisis.
- Addressing the media through video conference, Sitharaman said that the deadline for filing composition returns has also been extended to June 30.
- Government has also reduced the interest rate on delayed TDS deposit to 9 per cent from 18 per cent. Sitharaman announced that the government has extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar and PAN till June 30 from March 31.
- The government has extended durations of the dispute settlement schemes for direct taxes (Vivaad Se Vishwas) and indirect taxes (Sabka Vishwas) till June 30. Addressing the matter, Sitharaman said under the 'Vivaad Se Vishwas' scheme, 10 per cent additional charge would not be levied till June 30.
- In a major relief for outsourced professionals and contractual workers in central government offices, ministries and departments, the government announced that all contractual workers in such departments would receive their full pay during the lockdown period in several states amid the coronavirus crisis.
- Centre also assured businesses that IBC procedures will be halted for six months adding the trigger clause for taking a company to the insolvency procedure under the code has been raised to Rs 1 crore. The Finance Minister also assured on the moratorium on initiation of the procedure itself for the next six months, after keeping a watch till April 30.
- The government has provided big relief to the corporate sectors on compliance related issues related to incorporation of businesses, qualifications of directors and board meetings, among others. As per Sitharaman's announcement on Tuesday, a company has now been given six more months to file declaration of commencement of business. At present, such declaration has to be made within six months from incorporation.
- The central government has also allowed states and Union Territories to lift grain from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on a three-month credit.