The I-T Department on July 13 gave a one-time relaxation to taxpayers who have not yet verified their e-filed tax returns for assessment years 2015-16 to 2019-20, and asked them to complete the verification process by September 30, 2020.
A taxpayer filing Income Tax Returns (ITR) electronically without digital signature has to verify it using either Aadhaar one-time password (OTP), or logging into e-filing account through net banking, or by Electronic Verification Code (EVC) or by sending a duly signed physical copy of ITR-V through post to CPC Bengaluru within 120 days of uploading the ITR.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in an order said that a large number of electronically filed ITRs still remain pending with the IT Department for want of receipt of a valid ITR-V (Verification) form at Centralised Processing Centre (CPC), Bengaluru from the taxpayers concerned.
It said non-filing of ITR-V within time can lead to returns being declared as 'non-est'.
As a one-time measure for resolving the grievances of the taxpayers associated with non-filing of ITR-V for earlier assessment years and to regularise such returns which have either become 'non-est' or have remained pending for non-filing or non-receipt of ITR-V form, the CBDT has permitted verification of electronically filed tax returns for assessment years 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 either by sending a duly signed physical copy of ITR-V to CPC Bengaluru through speed post or through EVC/OTP modes. Such verification process must be completed by September 30, 2020.
It, however, clarified that "this relaxation shall not apply in those cases, where during the intervening period, Income-tax Department has already taken recourse to any other measure as specified in the Act for ensuring filing of tax return by the taxpayer concerned after declaring the return as Non-est."
Nangia & Co LLP Partner Shailesh Kumar said that in many cases, ITRs filed by individuals became invalid due to non-completion of verification process. Consequently, tax refunds, if any, claimed in those ITRs also got stuck.
"By this order, the government not only relaxes the timeline allowing taxpayers to verify their past years' invalid ITRs by 30th September but also allows processing of such past ITRs by 31 December, 2020. This order can benefit a large number of taxpayers, mostly being individual taxpayers, who could not verify their past ITRs inadvertently," Kumar said.
This order provides a good opportunity to them for regularising their past ITRs and not only solve the issue of past non-compliance but also receive past pending refunds stuck due to this procedural lapse, he added.
AKM Global Tax Partner Amit Maheshwari said, "This is a welcome measure as practically we have seen several cases where there were legacy issues in terms of non receipt of ITR V. Also, considering the consequences of non filing, this was a much needed relief.