Delhi High Court issues Notices to Govt on a plea seeking Extensions for Filing Tax Compliances due to COVID-19 [Read Order]

Delhi High Court - plea - filing tax compliances - Taxscan

The Delhi High Court issued notices to Government in a plea seeking extensions for filing compliances under Income Tax Act, 1961, GST Act, 2017, the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, and other Labour Laws, owing to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The petitioner Society for Tax Analysis and Research is an Association of Professionals and Trade which is registered under the Society Registration Act, 1860, and has more than 250 members.

The petition stated that due to the prevailing situation of the Corona pandemic in the country and further due to the excess spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Delhi, the Delhi Government proactively has put various restrictions. Delhi Disaster Management Authority had imposed night curfew till April 30, 2021, as well as weekend curfew from 16.04.2021 (10:00 pm) to April 19, 2021 (5:00 am) as an emergency measure considering the rapid increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the NCT of Delhi.

The petition pointed out that the current situation in the country is worse than last year when the lockdown was introduced in March 2020 to restrain the spread of coronavirus. Last year, when the numbers of cases were very less, the government was proactive enough to extend the due dates under various acts suo-moto by way of Notifications, attached herewith. However, currently, when every day reported cases of corona-positive patients are around 3.5 lakhs since last many days and the covid-19 pandemic, as per experts is still to see its peak which is expected by them in May, the government has not taken any step whatsoever.

The petitioner stated that the state government has been clearly requesting each and every citizen, not to go out of their houses without any requirement of day-to-day essentials or extremely urgent and essential work. Therefore, amidst the pandemic restrictions and safety measures, expecting the taxpayers to complete all their compliances within the due date must be treated as expecting the taxpayer to go against the directions/restrictions and therefore is illegal looking at the condition and therefore an impossible task.

The petitioner said that due to the guidelines of the Delhi government not allowing movement of personnel, they have been working with limited staff from their homes. Further, at almost all the office’s majority of the staff or their family members are corona positive due to which even staff is in-home quarantine/isolation, therefore it is becoming not only difficult but impossible for them to complete the client’s accounts work and other compliances on time.

The petitioner has requested the court to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order, or direction directing the respondents for the extension of all the due dates of compliances specified under the IT Act, GST Act, EPF Act, ESI Act and other allied labor laws which falls between 01st April 2021 till 31st July 2021; or to direct the respondents to grant relief of waiver of late fees or interest or penalty or protection from prosecution for completing the compliances beyond the last date as prescribed under the various Acts.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M.Singh issued the notice to the respondent authority namely Central Government, GST Council, CBIC, CBDT, etc.

Advocates Dr. Avinash Poddar, Dr. Gaurav Gupta, Jaspal Singh Sethi & Suresh Aggarwal appeared for the petitioner.

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