As the dates of Income-tax Audit and GST Audit are again approaching fast, there are talks about extending the dates again from 31st December to 31st March. Some people make fun of these date extension requests, but let's just try to understand why do practicing professionals ask for date extension, or is this date extension actually required?
The following points are just a summary of the issues that cause the date extension requests. More can be said and written about it.
1. Technical glitches
We all go through the same problem every day; the portals do not work properly. Be it GST, MCA, or income tax portal, there are so many technical glitches while filling or submitting forms. You cant even submit a GST return through DSC without making changes in settings in your browser. Moreover, govt portals can hardly take the pressure of traffic. Sometimes it takes hours to do work which would normally take minutes if portals were working fine. Although due dates of filing GST returns have been segregated yet these segregations have not made the GST portal run smoothly.
2.Weird rules and regulations
GST collections have shown a steep rise, but what percentage of GST collections have come from late fee penalties and interests? Even a person who is not required to pay a single penny in GST has to pay late fees for late filling of returns. There is no logic in stopping the GST Amnesty scheme. If a person has paid tax on the purchase, that person should be able to get the benefit of the same. Section 16(4) need to be scrapped to simplify the GST return filing process.
3. New notifications regularly
What was the reason to introduce new TDS provisions in the middle of the year? What are the reasons for the introduction of "Quarterly return monthly payment" in GST from the last quarter? Why suddenly EVC filling was stopped? Why cant a proper road map be given during the start of the financial year? These things complicate the manner in which work is carried on even more. You just can't wake up and make a new rule. Every businessman or accountant or professional will need time to adjust to the format. It's not easy doing business. It takes time to understand and adjust to the new rules. Regular notifications regarding filling of ITR forms are being issued which is confusing the people even more. Why cant they provide an SOP while issuing forms? These notifications at regular intervals cause an unnecessary nuisance. Once you issue the forms, you should also issue the guidelines with that. Won't it ease the process of return filling?
4. The complicated process
Now everything is digitized, you rarely have to fill and submit registration or returns form physically, but this process has not eased the system to the expected terms. You need DSC to file GST returns or refund claims, for income tax and MCA compliance, but you have to register DSC on each portal separately. This only creates more nuisance and consumes more time. You still have to send a physical copy of the PAN card application. This can easily be done away with.
5. Not getting timely data from the client
This regular extension has created a negative impact too. Now clients feel that dates will be extended anyhow so they don't provide data timely even on repeated requests. Most of the time, you get data from the clients at the last moment and when you fill the forms after that the portal crashes.
6. No correction window
There is no correction window to correct even a manual error during GST returns. There's so much pressure and to err is human, but shouldn't a correction window be given to GST taxpayers? Even while filing GST annual return form which is so much complicated and mistakes can happen when you try to fill every column. They have given a revised return option in Income Tax, why can't it be given in GST?
7. COVID impact
COVID has thrown the economy into unprecedented tough times. GDP has shrunk for the second consecutive quarter. Most of the businessmen are suffering. It's becoming difficult for them to manage their finances. Payment of taxes can wait during these times as the priority of businessmen is to stabilize their business and pay regular salaries to their employees.
So considering these points, if a solution can be provided to the above-mentioned issues then nobody will ask for the extension. Nobody actually wants the extension, it's the complicated processes that force them to request for the date extension.