By Ashwini Agarwal
First publised on 2022-07-25 15:06:37
The Centre has rightly taken the stand of not extending the deadline (31st July) for filing income tax returns for salaried and other individual tax payers whose accounts are not needed to be audited. For the last two assessment years, the deadline was being extended due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Before 2020 too, sometimes the government used to extend the deadline after receiving representations from individuals and tax professionals. But this cannot be made a practice and taxpayers have to learn to file their tax returns within time or be ready to pay stipulated penalty.
The financial year ends on 31st March every year. From April to July, four months is enough time for the salaried and individual tax payers whose accounts need not be audited to get their accounting affairs for the last financial year in order and file their tax returns. The government cannot encourage them to be lax by extending deadlines. Filing of income tax return in time is the prime duty of the taxpayer and when all accounts are available with them, it is just plain laziness that prevents them from doing the needful in four months.
The government must remain strict this year, more so as the glitches in the income tax portal that resulted in a huge hue and cry last year have all been taken care of and the filing of returns is much smoother this year. Also, till now there have no reports of the tax portal not being accessible or throwing up vague responses. Tax payers who have filed their returns are happy with the experience and those who haven't must do so before 31st July rather than expect the government to extend the deadline. If one has all the papers at hand, it does not take more than 30 minutes to file the return if one is filing ITR-1 and not more than 45 minutes to one hour if other ITR forms are being filed. The process is even shorter if one is taking the help of a tax professional or one of the many financial portals. So there is no excuse for delaying the task.