Fix ITR portal glitches or we will extend tax return filing deadline: Gujarat HC to income tax dept

The Gujarat high court has ordered the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to resolve the technical issues that taxpayers have been facing while filing their Tax Audit Report (TAR) and income tax returns (ITR), threatening to extend the deadline to March 15 if the job is not completed promptly, a Times of India news report stated. Further, the court said its writ will have an effect across the country.

For the assessment year 2021-22, the deadlines for filing TAR and ITR (for specified tax payers) are February 15 and March 15, respectively.

According to the ToI news report, a chartered accountants’ association has already requested a deadline extension, citing problems with the newly implemented I-T site. They have also requested access to file tax returns and reports in person.

During a hearing on Tuesday, the CBDT turned down the request for physical filing of I-T returns and said that it would not be feasible, stated the ToI report. This led the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Nisha Thakore to instruct the central government lawyer, “Ask the highest authority to file an affidavit with regard to the problems that have cropped up and they may be immediately attended. If the problem is not attended, the officer will be personally responsible for it. If the CBDT is to adopt a very obstinate attitude, which we don’t appreciate, they should also keep in mind the assessees’ problems as on date.

There is no need for CBDT to be happy because 35% of assessees are finding it difficult to upload their reports and 65% are yet to file their tax audit report and IT returns and now we have less than one month left.”

The Gujarat HC refused to issue directions on Tuesday, but insisted on assurance from the “highest authority” that in case of difficulty faced by any assessee, the problem would be attended within 48 hours with whatever means the authorities have to adopt, stated the ToI report.

The HC has called for an affidavit in this regard from the authorities by Thursday. The judges said that there are glitches in filing reports on I-T portal and the authorities cannot run away from it. “When they are confident of taking care of the situation, let them solve it,” the court said.

While posting further hearing on Friday, the bench said that even on February 10, just five days ahead of the deadline, if the assessees continue to face the problem, the court would extend the deadline to March 15, 2022.

“Issuance of a writ will have its effect across the country. Let’s see what CBDT has to say about it,” the judges said and added that the court would also clarify that the assessees would not be fastened with any liability of penalty or interest, if the department is not able to solve the problem, stated ToI.