With a handful of days remaining to file income tax return, taxpayers and chartered accountants are rushing through the ITR forms and are busy arranging necessary documents to avoid missing their July 31 deadline.
A number of CAs find it overwhelming to arrange all the necessary documents in a short period of time, while others stare at technical snags as a result of high traffic on the income tax portal. Consequently, some are now demanding that this July deadline should be extended, not only for this year – but permanently.
Some chartered accountants flagged the technical issues relating to slow server of I-T portal while demanding the need to extend the deadline.
“In the last five years, the information that you require for your client has risen overwhelmingly high. A lot of new information is being added to different tax return forms such as foreign holdings. If there were 20 data points earlier, there are now 30. Sometimes, there are errors which need to be rectified. So, the adequate time should be there to file the return after incorporating everything,” says CA Chirag Chauhan, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant.
The amount of information required to file tax return has been increasing with every passing year.
“Earlier salaried people could file their returns on their own but now they have to compute capital gains made on a host of investments and transactions they made during the year,” says Sridharan Sundaram, Founder of Wallet Wealth.
AK Mittal, a chartered accountant, wrote on Twitter, “All the Tax Bar Associations and Trade Associations should actually jointly make a strong representation to Govt for Shifting of deadline for ITR permanently. With increasing complexities in laws, it takes a good amount of time for filling ITR correctly."
A number of users uploaded a screenshot of the Income Tax portal that stopped responding for one reason or the other. The crashing of a portal is not uncommon when the number of people filing income tax returns has risen exponentially in the past few years.
The number of corporate tax and personal income tax payers increased over 32.5 per cent and around 60 per cent, respectively, during the first 7 years of the Narendra Modi government, data tabled in the Lok Sabha showed.
One of the famous posts shared on social media included a screenshot where ‘Service Unavailable’ is flashed on the screen as shown in the picture below.
“CAs are sharing images of I-T portal crashing on the social media. Moreover, the tax audit threshold was widened last year so there's more work pressure on tax professionals. I don't support the idea of extending deadlines, but the portal should support professionals. Considering this, govt should consider extending the July 31 deadline,” says CA Kanan Bahl, Founder at Fingrowth Media.
Demand for extension
Even a letter jointly written by the Income Tax Bar Association and All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is being circulated on social media.
In this letter, a request has been made for the extension of the due date for filing income tax return for taxpayers whose accounts are not required to be audited.
However, some believe that meeting deadlines should be sacrosanct and the attitude of tying the loose ends at the eleventh hour is a practice best avoided.
“People have a tendency to file their tax return in the run up to the deadline. So, even if the deadline is extended till August 31, most taxpayers will still file their returns in August. Complications that are faced in arranging the documents are usually restricted to corporations, and for them, the deadline is already in October,” says Deepak Aggarwal, A Delhi-based chartered accountant.