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ATM Withdrawals Free for 3 Months; Last Date for Aadhaar-PAN Linking, GST & I-T Return Extended to June 30

File photo of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

File photo of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to help the country tide over the economic crisis in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Delhi: In order to provide economic and mental relief to the country as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Union Finance Minsiter Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a slew of measures, including removing all charges levied during withdrawal of cash from ATMs using any other bank's debit cards for the next three months.

Briefing reporters about the government's plan for economic relief, Sitharaman announced that debit cardholders can withdraw cash from any other bank's ATM without any charge for the next three months. She added there will not be any minimum balance requirement fee.

The government said bank charges have been reduced for digital trade and transactions as well.

The last date for income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 has been extended from March 31 to June 30, said the minister, adding that for delayed payments, interest rate has been reduced from 12% to 9%.

Sitharaman said the Aadhaar-PAN linking date has been extended to June 30 from what was earlier March 31. She said the interest rate on delayed deposit of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) has been reduced. "No extra 10% interest will be charged between now and June 30," she said.

The last date for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns is being extended to June 30 as well. Sitharaman added that different staggering dates will be applicable, but all will be the end of June. The interest rate for filing a delayed return has also been brought down.

Experts welcomed the move and suggested ways to improve and secure businesses during such times.

Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of ClearTax, said that various filing extensions and relief in compliance is essential for businesses to tide over these difficult circumstances. "Businesses must also use this time to explore ways to become more and more tech focussed. They must now move compliance completely digitally, use cloud-based services, and build strong controls and systems so teams can work digitally and remotely," he said.

The government is also considering suspending Section 7, 9 and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) at a later stage if the current situation continues beyond six months.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman said a one-month delay will be condoned in the arrival of the consignment of fisheries. Import permits for fisheries expiring in April have been extended by three months.

Sitharaman said the threshold of default has been extended to Rs 1 core from the existing Rs 1 lakh in order to prevent insolvency proceedings against MSMEs.

The finance ministry announced that for newly incorporated companies, there is a requirement to file declaration on commencement within six months, for which the government is giving an additional six months to file their returns.

Sitharaman said if a company director does not comply with the minimum residency requirement, it will "not be treated as a violation".

The government said the mandatory requirement of holding board meetings is being relaxed by a period of 60 days for the next two quarters. The finance minsitry said if no board meeting is held for 2019-20, it will not be considered a violation.

Sitharaman said the applicability of The Companies Auditors’ Report Order, 2020, which was supposed to have come into force in 2019-20, has been shift to 2020-21.

In a major relief to importers and exporters, the government said customs clearance is now an essential service till June 30 and it will be working 24/7.

The government announced that the payment date under the ‘Sabka Vishwas’ scheme, which was for settling disputes in the indirect tax regime, has been extended till June 30.

Sitharaman said no interest, penalty or late fee will be charged for companies with a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore, adding the interest rate for such companies will be reduced to 9%. Sitharaman said only interest will be applicable, but no late fee and no penalty for bigger companies.