Ahmedabad, January 14: The Gujarat High Court has upheld the Central Board of Direct Taxes’ (CBDT’s) decision not to further extend the due dates for filing income tax and tax audit returns but suggested the policy making body could be lenient to late filings of tax audit reports.

The High Court said in an order pronounced on Wednesday that it will not interfere in the matter of executive decision making related to deadlines. The order came in a dispute between the ‘All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants’ and the government, in which the petitioners argued that the utility for filing tax returns were released late by the tax department and that tax practitioners would face hardship if the due dates are not extended a fourth time, the Mint reported.

“In the overall view of the matter, we have reached the conclusion that we should not interfere in the matter,” the Court said, while rejecting the writ applications. 

“At this stage, we may only observe that the CBDT may consider issuing an appropriate circular taking a lenient view as regards the consequences of late filing of the tax audit reports as provided under Section 271B of the (Income Tax) Act. We leave it to the better discretion of the CBDT in this regard,” the Court said in its order. Mint has seen a copy of the order.

The Court also noted the Supreme Court had consistently held that in financial matters, judicial deference may be shown to the executive pragmatism and free play in the joints may be given to the executive especially in fixing cut off dates.

On Monday, CBDT rejected requests for further extension of the due date for filing tax returns saying that India has been more generous in giving extra time compared to other nations and that this obligation of the tax payer cannot be delayed indefinitely. The tax policy making body had given three extensions already for filing tax returns and for furnishing tax audit reports. In the case of assessees not requiring tax audit, the final due date for filing tax returns was on 10 January, while the same for those needed to get tax audited is 15 February. The due date for filing tax audit return is 15 January.


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