Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Government of India Announces Major Relief on Deadlines and Compliance

Nirmala Sitharaman and Anurag Thakur at Yesterday's Press Conference (source: PIB)
In yesterday’s press conference via video conferencing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in English and her deputy Anurag Thakur addressed the media and clearly stated that the aim of these announcements was to help companies and individuals to ease out worries sitting in the mind of the people with respect to various kinds of regulatory requirements. Ms. Sitharaman noted that as efforts of the lockdown to flatten the curve for the Covid-19 spread are being undertaken, she also assured everyone of an upcoming economic package. The first step however, as Mr. Thakur stated, was to ensure that the first step is taken in the direction of addressing statutory and regulatory compliance related issues.

Relief on Income Tax Compliance and Regulation Deadline for filing IT returns for FY18-19 have been extended to 30 June 2020. Moreover, a reduced interest rate of 9% shall now be levied till 30 June 2020 instead of the mandatory 12%.

On the delay in deposit of TDS, only reduced interest of 9% will be charged till 30 June 2020. Further, all other notice dates on filing etc. stand extended to 30 June 2020, as also the Aadhar-PAN linking date.

Vivaad se Vishwaas scheme deadline has been extended to 30 June 2020 and from now to 30 June 2020, there will be no 10% additional charge. Also, with respect to due dates for issue of various stages of intimation and compliance with the other regulations where time limit was expiring in March, the deadline has been extended to 30 June 2020.


Compliance Deadlines Extended, Penalties Waived Off on GST The last date for filing March, April and May 2020 returns and composition returns have been extended to 30 June 2020 in a staggered manner. Further, companies with less than ₹5 crore turnover will not be charged interest, late fee or penalty. For larger companies above ₹5 crore, these charges shall be waived during first 15 days; post which only reduced interest at 9% shall be charged. Also, the date for opting for composition scheme now stands extended to 30 June 2020.


Sabka Vishwas Scheme Extended for Customs and Central Excise; No Interest
Sabka Vishwaas Scheme deadline has been extended from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. During this period, no interest shall be levied for this period for those with turnover less than ₹1.5crore.

Compliance and Regulations under MCA Requirements Relaxed A moratorium on MCA-21 Registry from 1 April to 30 September 2020 has been brought in, and there shall be no additional fee charged for late filing. Also, the mandatory requirement on Board meetings is being relaxed by 60-day period for next two quarters. The Companies Auditors Report Order 2020 shall now be applicable from FY2020-21 instead of 2019-20. Another important announcement was that the absence of Independent Directors from all meeting altogether during the year 2019-20 shall not be seen as violation.

More Relaxations on Directorship Norms, Smoothing Operations Newly incorporated companies who are required to file commencement of business within six months are being granted an extension of another six months to comply with this requirement. Also, Company Director inability to comply with the minimum residency requirement of 182 days under Sec 149 of companies Act shall not to be considered as violation. Also, the deposit reserve requirement of 20% shall now have to be complied with by 30 June 2020, and the deadline for investing 15% debentures maturing during particular year into specified instruments also stands extended from 30 April 2020 to 30 June 2020

IBC Provisions Relaxed for MSMEs Threshold for default has been raised from ₹1 lakh to ₹1crore to prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs with immediate effect. Further, the government will keep track of the situation, and if needed, it will suspend Sec 7, Sec 9 and Sec 10 of IBC after 30 April 2020 for six-month period.

Compliances Eased to Combat Supply Disruptions in Fisheries Sector In major steps for the fisheries sector, the validity of all sanitary import permits (SIPs) for import of shrimp root stock and aquaculture inputs that were expiring between 1-15 April 2020 shall be valid for another three months. Further, up to 1-month delay in arrival of consignments are to be condoned and shall be overlooked. Rebooking of quarantine cubicles for cancelled consignments in Aquatic Quarantine Facility in Chennai shall be allowed without additional booking charges. Also, the period taken for verification of document, grant of NOC for quarantine shall be shortened from 7 days to 3 days

No Banking Charges, Digital Transaction Favoured Debit card holders can withdraw cash from any bank ATM free of charge for next three months. There is complete waiver of minimum balance requirement fee on bank accounts as well. Moreover, the bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade-finance consumers are being reduced.

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