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Income Tax Department cancels long Good Friday weekend from March 29-31 for employees; here’s why

Mar 20, 2024

The approaching end of the financial year 2023-24 brings with it deadlines and obligations for taxpayers across the country. However, with March 29 falling on Good Friday and March 30 being a Saturday, followed by March 31 on Sunday, it initially appeared to be a long weekend for many. However, in a move aimed at facilitating taxpayers, the Income-tax department has opted to cancel this extended break for its employees.

The Income-tax department announced in an official order, “To facilitate completion of pending departmental work, all the Income Tax Offices throughout India shall remain open on 29th, 30th and 31st March 2024.”

According to an ET report, it is important for individuals obligated under income tax laws to deduct TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) to file challan statements for tax deducted under specified sections, like 194M or 194-IA, by March 30. Moreover, March 31 marks the deadline for tax-saving investments such as tax saver FDs, ELSS, ULIPs, PPF, SCSS, NSC, and more.

If you're planning tax-related tasks at the month-end, ensure the institutions you need are open. For example, while the stock market is closed on the long weekend, banks will be open on Saturday, March 30, as it's a regular working day.

Why is the Income Tax Department working on March 29, 30, and 31?

Ankit Jain, Partner at Ved Jain & Associates, a reputable CA firm, shed light on the rationale behind the decision to keep tax offices operational. According to him, there are critical tasks that demand attention before the March 31 deadline, including:

Assessment completions: The tax department must complete assessments for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2022, by the end of this month. Assessment orders issued after this fiscal year deadline are considered invalid.

Reassessment notices: The tax department is also required to send notices for reassessment of incomes suspected to be underreported. These notices focus on undeclared incomes exceeding Rs 50 lakhs for FY 2016-17 and other relevant scenarios for FY 2019-20.

Jain explains that keeping tax offices operational aims to ensure timely collection of essential information, completion of assessments, and dispatch of reassessment notices within the set deadlines.

Submit ITR-U by March 31, 2024

Eligible taxpayers must submit an updated income tax return (ITR-U) for Assessment Year (AY) 2021-22 (FY 2020-21) by March 31, 2024, which marks the final deadline. ITR-U serves to rectify underreported or misreported income and any other errors in previously filed returns. Additionally, individuals required by law to file ITR but missed the due date can also file ITR-U.

Taxpayers have a window of 24 months from the end of the relevant assessment year to file ITR-U. For the financial year 2023-24, individuals can submit ITR-U for Assessment Year (AY) 2021-22 and AY 2022-23.

If errors are not rectified and the tax department discovers them independently, penalties of up to 200% of the tax payable can be imposed. As per Section 270A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, individuals who conceal income and fail to report it may face penalties of up to 200% of the tax, effective from the assessment year 2017-18.

It's important to note that when filing ITR-U, an additional tax of up to 50% of the aggregate tax and interest is required. However, if ITR-U is submitted after the due date for filing a belated or revised return but before the completion of 12 months from the end of the relevant assessment year, the additional tax payable is 25% of the aggregate tax and interest payable.

[The Times of India]

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