The COVID-19 pandemic is severely affecting businesses across the country. In view of this, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to ease the GST compliance burden on businesses. We have captured the key indirect tax announcements below.

  • Relaxation in GST compliance requirements
    • Taxpayers will be allowed to file their GST returns for February, March, and April 2020 towards the end of June 2020 [staggered due dates around 30 June 2020] without any interest [subject to below], late fee and penalty.
    • However, in the case of businesses with an aggregate turnover of more than INR 50 million, there will be a levy of interest at a reduced rate of 9% p.a. (as against the actual interest rate of 18% p.a.), in case of delay of more than 15 days in payment of tax, from the due dates applicable presently.
  • Extension of payment date under the Sabka Vishwas Scheme
    • The due date for payment under the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 has been extended to 30 June 2020;
    • Further, no interest would be charged for this extended period, provided the payment is made by 30 June 2020.
  • Customs clearance to be an 'essential service'
    • The clearance of customs shipments has been declared as an 'essential service' to ensure that imports and exports are not affected due to the lockdown announced by Central and State authorities. The customs clearance will continue to operate 24/7, at least till 30 June 2020.
  • Extension in due dates for notices, applications, etc.
    • The due date for issue of notice, notification, filing an appeal, applications, or time limit for any compliance under the GST, customs, and other allied laws where the time limit is expiring between 20 March 2020 to 29 June 2020 has been extended to 30 June 2020.

Our Comments

The relaxation in GST return due dates and the associated penal provisions should help taxpayers to focus and stabilize their core business processes in these testing times.

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