COVID-19 Outbreak| 21 Days Lockdown| Statutory & Regulatory Relief till 30th June 2020

Relief to Business under Corona Stress

Entire world is fighting against epidemic COVID-19 outbreak and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi has taken much need precautionary step of complete lockdown from midnight 12’o clock of 24th March, 2020 onwards for next 21 days.

In between various regular and financial year ended statutory and regulatory compliances are approaching and considering the situation, Hon’ble Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman held a press conference through video conferencing and announced various important reliefs measures taken by Government of India in the area of Income Tax, GST, Customs & Central Excise, Corporate Affairs, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, Fisheries, Banking Sector & Commerce.

Gist of major reliefs granted is as follows:

1. Relief under Income Tax

  • Last date of filing of belated Income Tax return u/s 139(4) of Income Tax Act, 1961 is 31st March of the relevant assessment year. Accordingly, last date of filing of ITR for F.Y. 2018-19 is 31st March, 2020. However, such date has been extended to 30th June, 2020.

  • Income Tax department has made it mandatory that all Individual PAN Holders are required to link their Aadhar Card with PAN on Income Tax portal. Earlier, Last date of such linking was 31st March, 2020 which has been extended to 30th June, 2020.

  • As per Vivad se Vishwas  scheme, if any person opt make payment under this scheme on or before 31st March, 2020 then he is liable to pay 100% of disputed tax amount. However, an additional 10% taxes are required if payment is made after 31st March, 2020 but upto 30th June, 2020. Additional payment 0f 10% has been withdrawn for payment made after 31st March, 2020.

  • Due dates which falls or time limit which expires between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020 whether it is with respect to issue  of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents and time limit for completion of proceedings by the authority and any compliance by the taxpayer including investment in saving instruments or investments for roll over benefit of capital gains   under Income Tax Act,  Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act,  STT law, CTT Law, Equalization Levy law, Vivad Se Vishwas  law.

  • If delay payment is made with respect to advanced tax, self-assessment tax,  regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy,  STT, CTT , which are due between made between 20th March 2020  and  30th June 2020,  then interest shall be applicable at reduced rate  of 9%   instead of earlier rates if 12 %/18 % per annum ( i.e. 0.75% per month instead of 1/1.5 percent per month). Further, No late fee/penalty shall be charged for delay pertaining to such period.

2. Relief Goods and Service Tax (“GST”)/Indirect Taxes

  • For suppliers having aggregate turnover less than INR 5 Crores, Due date of filing of GSTR-3B falling in the month of March, April and May, 2020 have been extended till last week of June, 2020. No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged.

  • For suppliers having aggregate turnover more than INR 5 crores, all due dates falling in the month of March, April and May 2020 has been extended till last week of June 2020. However, late payment of taxes will attract interest at reduced rates @9 % per annum from 15 days after due date instead of current rate of 18 % per annum. However, No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before till 30th June 2020.

  • If any dealer wants to opt composition scheme then he is required to file intimation for the same before commencement of relevant financial year in form GST CMP-02. Therefore, due date of opting composition scheme for FY 2020-21 is 31st March, 2020. Same has been extended till the last week of   June, 2020.  Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of  return for 2019-20 by the composition dealers  is also extended  till the last week of June, 2020.

  • Last date of filing of GST annual returns for FY 18-19 has been extended till 30th June 2020 from 31st March, 2020.

  • Due date falling or time limit expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 under GST Law has been extended till 30th June 2020. Such due date or time limit may be with respect to issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents under the GST laws.

  • Payment date under Sabka Vishwas Scheme shall be extended to30th June, 2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by 30th June, 2020.

3. Relief under Customs

  • 24 X 7 Custom clearance will be open till end of 30th June, 2020.

  • Due date falling or time limit expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 under the Customs Act and other allied law has been extended till 30th June 2020. Such Due date or time limit may be for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing applications, reports, any other documents etc. under the Customs Act and other allied Laws.

4. Relief under Financial Services

  • Considering the cash crunches that may arise in economy due to lock down and no business activity, following relaxations are given  for 3 months to ease the livelihood:
    1. Debit cardholders may withdraw cash for free from any other banks’ ATM for 3 months.
    2. Account holders are not required to maintain minimum balance.
    3. Reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers

5. Relief under Corporate Affairs

  • One of major relied which is given is wavier of additional fee of any document, returns, statements etc. filed with MCA-21 registry during the moratorium period of 1st April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020 irrespective of its due date. This wavier will not only reduce the compliance burden, including financial burden of companies/ LLPs at large, but also give a chance to long-standing non-compliant companies/ LLPs to make a ‘fresh start’. So, if you are one of non-compliant company/LLP, then this is a good chance to complete the compliance and avoid huge amount of additional fee.

  • As per Companies Act, 2013, every company is mandatorily required to hold meetings of the Board of the companies within interval of 120 days. Such interval shall be extended by a period of 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September;

  • Earlier reporting under Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 was getting applicable from F.Y. 2019-20 onwards. However, now it shall be made applicable from the financial year 2020-2021 instead of from 2019-2020 notified earlier. This will significantly ease the burden on companies & their auditors for the year 2019-20.

  • As per Schedule 4 to the Companies Act, 2013, Independent Directors are required to hold at least one meeting without the attendance of Non-independent directors and members of management. For the year 2019-20, if the IDs of a company have not been able to hold even one meeting, the same shall not be viewed as a violation.

  • With an objective to secure repayment of deposits, Companies Act, 2013 requires  every Company which is having outstanding deposits that is will deposit atleast 20% of the amount of its deposits maturing in following financial year in a separate bank account to be called deposit repayment reserve account on or before 30th April of each year. Such requirement of depositing amount to a separate bank account for deposits maturing during the financial year 2020-21 has been extended till 30th June 2020 from 30th April, 2020.

  • Similarly, requirement of investing 15% of debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments before 30th April 2020, may be done so before 30th June 2020.

  • Every newly incorporated company is required to file a declaration with RoC for Commencement of Business within 6 months of incorporation. However, an additional time of 6 more months shall be allowed.

  • As per section 149(3) of Companies Act, 2020, at least one director of every company shall stays in India for a total period of not less than 182 days during the financial year However, Non-compliance of minimum residency in India shall not be treated as a violation.

  • Due to the emerging financial distress faced by most companies on account of the large-scale economic distress caused by COVID 19, it has been decided to raise the threshold of default under section 4 of the IBC 2016 to Rs 1 crore (from the existing threshold of Rs 1 lakh). This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs. If the current situation continues beyond 30th of April 2020, we may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for a period of 6 months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default.

6. Relief under Department of Fisheries

  • All Sanitary Permits (SIPs) for import of SPF Shrimp Broodstock and other Agriculture inputs expiring between 1st March, 2020 to 15th April, 2020 is extended by 3 months

  • Delay upto 1 month in arrival of consignments to be condoned.

  • Rebooking of quarantine cubicles for cancelled consignments in Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) Chennai without additional booking charges

  • The verification of documents and grant of NOC for Quarantine would be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days

Detailed notifications/circulars under respective act shall be issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs separately.

In this crucial time, we request all of you to stay back at your home and keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are strictly of the author and VJM & Associates LLP. The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the author nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this article nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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