labels: economy - general
Deadline for filing IT returns, FBT for companies extended news
24 October 2006

The due date for the electronic filing of income and fringe benefits tax (FBT) returns has been postponed from 31 October to 30 November. The government notified the extension in the filing date through a circular issue today by the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

Taxpayers and professionals had complained of problems in the software as well as lack of familiarity with electronic filing. One CA complained that after the entire process of filling in the details had been completed and the information was marked "submit", an "error" message flashed back on the users'' screens, asking for the entire information to be re entered.

Accordingly a large number of CAs had complained that they were unable to comply with the deadline.

However, the official reason ascribed by the CBDT circular to the extension was the inability of CAs to comply due to the "many holidays in October as a result of which some of them faced certain difficulties in adapting to the new format and the new procedure for filing e-returns". Interestingly, the circular accepts "several suggestions for improving the software have also been received and many of them have been accepted and integrated in the software".

The finance ministry had mandated compulsory electronic filing of corporate IT and FBT earlier this year. The logic behind electronic filing of returns was to speed up the entire filing process and also simplify scrutiny by the IT department.

Accordingly, new IT return forms were designed to make them compatible for electronic filing. These forms are not required to be accompanied by attachments or annexure.

Since the corporate sector was best organised in terms of availability of information systems infrastructure, it was decided to make it compulsory for corporate taxpayers to furnish their returns electronically.

According to the IT department, this would also help in the computerisation of the income tax department. It says electronic information systems would also streamline and speed up work to ensure faster refunds, give on-line access to taxpayers and facilitate e-payment.

According to the circular, about 19,000 companies had already filed their returns electronically by 24 October 2006. These include Hero Honda Motors Ltd., Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd., Morgan Stanley Investment Management Pvt. Ltd. and Haldiram Marketing Pvt. Ltd, among others.

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Deadline for filing IT returns, FBT for companies extended