The NBR chairman announced on Sunday that the time would not be extended but changed the decision just the following day
Holders of a tax identification number (TIN) have got an extra month to file their income tax returns, as per an announcement by the revenue authority considering the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a notification on Monday allowing TIN holders to submit returns till 31 December.
Under the provision of section 184(G) in the Income Tax Ordinance 1984, the extension was made on the grounds of public interest, the statement reads.
A few years ago, the returns submission deadline was extended every time. But in 2016, by bringing changes to the Income Tax Ordinance, it was decided not to accept returns after the National Tax Day on 30 November.
An official of the NBR's income tax wing told The Business Standard that, under the income tax law, there is no direct opportunity to extend the returns filing period beyond 30 November.
However, the President, after the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, issued a special ordinance asking to consider the crisis period during the nationwide lockdown in the case of returns submission, he also said.
According to that ordinance, the NBR can waive any fine and interest of individual taxpayers, the official, wishing not to be named, added.
According to the Income Tax Ordinance, tax officials will impose a penalty of 50% and late interest of 2% per month on the taxable money if taxpayers fail to file returns within the stipulated schedule.
Many taxpayers have not been able to complete their necessary banking works related to taxpaying as many were in quarantine due to the novel coronavirus. Many were not even able to collect all the necessary documents.
According to NBR sources, the number of returns had increased by 39,566 till 29 November this year compared to that year-on-year.
Till 29 November, 15 lakh taxpayers out of total 46 lakh filed their tax returns.
Against this backdrop, professionals of various categories, including businessmen and income tax lawyers, wrote to the NBR demanding an extension to the time for filing returns.
However, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem on Sunday said the deadline would not be extended further after 30 November. But he changed the decision just the following day.
It is to be noted that, under the Income Tax Ordinance, the deputy commissioner of taxes may give a taxpayer two months extra to file a return following the receipt of an application.
This year, the NBR has made it mandatory for all TIN holders, except for three categories, to submit their returns.
Those who have no permanent residence in the country or have obtained a TIN to sell land or get a credit card need not file returns.
However, if anyone except for these three categories fails, they can get an extended time of two to four months from the NBR by presenting logical reasons.
In neighbouring India, too, the deadline for returns submission was set to end on 30 November. But this time, the Central Board of Direct Taxes of India said in October that the taxpayers of that country would be able to file their returns for another month till 31 December, thanks to the pandemic.