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July 20, 2022

Extension of time limit for filing IT Return (44AB Audit Cases) and Work related issues in GST

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in GST

Extension of time limit for filing IT Return (44AB Audit Cases) and Work related issues in GST

Due to the hasty implementation of GST, it has jeopardized the routine work of tax audit as well as ITR filing. On one side CAs juggling with GST and Tax Audit, find it extremely difficult work, while on the other side, time devoted by the tax payers in resolving audit is also quite low, since all tax payers are busy in complying with the GST procedures. Tax Audits were to be completed by 30th September 2017, however due to GST, due date was extended by 1 month. This shows that your ministry is well aware of the implications in dealing with a failed outsourced network – the GSTN. Also, regarding the various returns to be filed under GST laws, your department had advertised so much simplicity, coupled with the so-called push button softwares and GSP Services with API capabilities, that everyone thought, GST compliance would be simple and easy to comply. But that turned out to be a myth.

However, a looking at the figures of return filing by the Income Tax Assessees upto 30th September 2017, it can be inferred that approx 75% of Corporate Assessees and 50% of other auditable entities u/s 44AB are yet to file their Income Tax Returns and Audit Report, which they had been doing at the close of due dates every year.

However, the overall wastage of public time due to GST, in terms of total man-hours, man-week or man-month, could be seen from the above chart. In other words, due to the superfast GST, the train of Income Tax compliance is late by 2 month, out of which one month would be required to fulfil GST compliances, whereas the other for IT Audit. Change related to quarterly filing for entities with turnover less than Rs.1.50 Crores was although declared, but notified in mid October i.e. 13th October 2017, which is of literally no relief during the heavy audit compliance period of October 2017. Hence, unless additional time would not be granted to comply with Audit and IT Procedures, the assessee would have to suffer from penalty u/s 271B and interest u/s 234A of IT Act. Besides, due to hasty verification of financial information, there is an inherent risk in audit, that material mis-statement may go undetected, which would be detrimental to the interests of the revenue and the overall purpose of tax audits. Hence, for quality work we mandate sufficient time and extension of due date

Earlier in July – August 2017, due to heavy floods, tax payers from various parts of the country including Gujarat could not either start their audit work or even start their accounting work. Some of them had even lost their basic accounting records. In such situation, it is extremely tough for anyone to get their accounts audited. Hence, we require a due date extension for filing returns. India is known to be a country of religions. Tax Payer’s, Tax practitioners and Chartered Accountants, also being Social animals, belong to various ethnic groups and follow various faiths and beliefs. During the month of October, there are numerous weekly festivals like Muharram, Durga Pooja (West Bangal), Diwali, etc. Extension granted by CBDT vide notification No.F.No.225/270/2017/ITA-II dt.31/08/2017, has resulted into overtime working by tax practitioners and Chartered Accountants during the festive season and possibly even on holidays. This already hurting religious feelings of a large number of tax payers as well as tax practitioners (including CAs). It may be noted, that even Advocates having courtroom practice, enjoy summer and winter vacations. Thus, for a balanced, social and family life of Chartered Accountants, we hereby raise our concern over the deteriorating working conditions and earning standards of practitioners, and also demand an extension of time limit as per Para 6 below, so as not to spoil festive weeks of practitioners during Diwali.

As a matter of fact to be brought to your notice, during the last few years, tax practitioners and especially Chartered Accountants, have been toiling too hard to help you achieve your fiscal targets. As can be seen from the below chart, the proportion of return filed after office hours is increasing alarmingly.

Thus, if any tax practitioner’s office has a shift is of 8 hours, which as per above information forms less than 50% of total actual working hours, then approx 100% of time is overtime. Practitioners toil late night, to provide quality of work as per committed norms of ICAI, making their working shift of above 16 hours. And if time to eat, pray and love is deducted, the remaining time is an inhumane figure to get a sound sleep. And in return, they get meager remunerative amount. These calculations are based on a normal lot of 60 audit assesses to 1 CA.

It is an unwritten and unacknowledged fact, that CAs although not legally bound to deliver any particular service, but as rightly termed by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, as Rishimuni, who strive for perfection and professionally deliver work to its results. However, considering the extreme complexities of existing laws, when read between the lines, and which have to be complied either as auditor or consultant, and work has to be taken from dumb machines, which seldom deliver service on time, the CAs have to take  on   the   heat.  One   such aspiring Chartered Accountant CA Shri Tejas Manharlal Desai (Aged 42) years had gone into depression and later committed suicide on 13th      October   2017,   due    to excessive GST compliance work. However, those who are still alive are dying at a slow pace within their offices. Due to such excessive work   pressure  and   continuous sitting, members of our fraternity have become vulnerable to fatal diseases like hypertriglyceridemia, hyperlipdemia, hyper-tension, hemorrhoids,  blood   pressure, high sugar, Insomnia, mood swings and many more. All these are unfortunate methods of earning as well as dying. Hence, we need a sitting with you along with the officers of the Finance Ministry, with regard to simplification of compliance work. Please provide your suitable time at the earliest.

Sir, do you think, the tax professionals and CAs are robots, switching and routing their time and energy in multitasking to achieve your goals, completing Tax Audit on one hand as well as GST compliance on the other, amidst vicious cycles of GST late filing fees of Rs.200 per day, which were promised to be waived, by you through a press release announcing the recommendations of 22nd GST Council meeting, but the promise was never notified in writing till date. This also shows, that your own men don’t follow your orders. Is the situation of Government so pitiable, that it has to earn money out of self-created problems and a failed network. The innocent tax payers, relying upon your press release promise, have resorted to quarrel and demeaning behavior with their Chartered Accountants due to upfront collection of this hidden late fees by GSTN, without which the tax payers are not allowed to file GST returns. Hence, we require an immediate stoppage of bottlenecks created by GSTN in the form of last minute demand of late filing fees. Since, by the time it is paid, another late fee are charged and levied. Besides, we demand a complete refund of the erroneously charged late fees to the Electronic Cash Ledger of respective tax payers.

Thus, during this historic year of paradigm change in taxation, although, which was hastily implemented along with other factors as enlisted above, we demand an extension of time limit for the following:

  1. Income Tax Return Filing due date, which was extended till 31st October 2017, be further extended till 31st December 2017 to reduce/spreading over the work load.
  2. TDS Return Filing due date, which is 31st October, be further extended till 30th November 2017.

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