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Gujarat High Court directed CBDT to consider extension of due date for tax audit reports and ITR

Petitioner-All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants was a Trust formed and registered in accordance with the provisions of the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.

It has members from various professions and various associations of professionals from the State of Gujarat engaged in the field of practicing taxation.

Petitioner has submitted writ before the High Court and wanted 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, for at least for three months, i.e., et al., up to 31st January 2021 for both: (1) filing the ITR and (2) tax audit report in case of assessees whose accounts are required to be audited.

It was submitted to the Court that the reality of COVID 19 pandemic and reduced workforce, it is impossible for the Tax Practitioners to complete the Audit work to issue a certificate required under section 44AB within the extended due date.

It was also submitted that as many as 55% of the Income Tax Returns and Tax Audit Reports were filed outside of office hours which shows the sheer burden of workload upon the Tax Practitioners to work overtime to complete the assignment.

The Gujarat High Court held that the Ministry of Finance should immediately investigate the issue and take an appropriate decision at the earliest time in accordance with the law.

One additional aspect needs to be kept in mind before taking an appropriate decision that the time period for the officials of the tax department has been extended up to 31st March 2021 about the current covid-19 pandemic situation. If that be so, then some extension deserves to be considered in accordance with the law. An appropriate decision to be taken by 12-01-2021.